(urth) (Urth) The Waif

Mike Legedza mike.legedza at gmail.com
Thu Mar 5 13:40:43 PST 2009

Thank you to everyone for taking part in this discussion.  You've all given
me a lot more insight into the story, so I'd like to just respond to a few
things that have been mentioned.

Matthew - I'm a bit at a disadvantage, because while I've read Book of the
New Sun, and Book of the Long Sun, I've only just started Book of the Short
Sun, so I still don't know much about the inhumi.  Although from the few
things I do know, I can definitely see the link between the Flying People
and the inhumi.  However, I'm not sold that this story takes place in the
same universe.  For one thing, there's a minor line in one of Nyman
Pryderi's lesson where he mentions that the students are going to school in
an old truck, and when you read the description of the classroom (long and
narrow, with wooden walls and a metal roof), you see that they are actually
inside a truck FOR school.  I don't know if they have trucks in the sun
books...or if they did, I think they'd probably call it by a different
name.  Maybe there's a bunch of trucks running around in the Short Sun books
that I just haven't gotten to yet.  Also, about your wondering where Niman
comes from...Pryderi explains that Niman is a corruption of the term

Mo - Thanks for finding out the name origin of Pryderi.  I'll have to read
that info carefully to see what influence that might have on how we see
Pryderi.  (Another thought about Pryderi...I know there isn't much support
for this in the text, but I can't help but think Pryderi is half-drunk while
giving the lesson.)

Roy - Thanks for your comments.  I think I probably see the story in much
the same way you do, although I'm not sure I see the Flying People as
intentionally keeping humanity from becoming more advanced.  I sort of see
the Flying People as trying to do whatever they can to help us, even though
they know we hate them.  But they refuse to leave us alone because they love
us.  They are a race that has chosen love, while we always choose hate, and
they continually try to help even if they know it might have devestating
consequences.  But again, I think I see the story along the same lines you

Daniel - I really like your interpretation as to why the humans hate the
flying people.  I think it makes sense, and it goes along with an idea I had
where while the schoolmaster gives this long convoluted lecture about why
the flying people aren't tolerated, it simply comes down to envy and fear.
As for the ending...I thought for a while too that maybe the fire would keep
on burning...but the text specifically says that the rain started off light,
but soon became a torrent.  I see that as indicating a huge downpour, and I
think enough to put out the fire, or at least keep it from becoming so big
it can burn you alive.

David - You're absolutely right that sometimes a stick is the best tool for
the job!  I'll have to think more about the idea of "tough love".  I do
think the story is about love (and hatred, of course), and really how simple
it is.  It's about doing the right thing at all times.  It is dismissive of
"the greater good" which people use as an excuse to do evil things, like
burn each other.  If you feel guilty about burning someone, then don't burn
them, don't delude yourself into thinking it is somehow necessary.

Anyways, I just wanted to take some time to respond to each of you, and say
thank you.

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