(urth) The Guild's Revolutionary

Jerry Friedman jerry_friedman at yahoo.com
Sat Nov 21 11:32:55 PST 2009

--- On Sat, 11/21/09, Gwern Branwen <gwern0 at gmail.com> wrote:
> So the Revolutionary induces, specifically alien hand
> syndrome.

More like alien-body syndrome, as her mouth and both her
hands attack her, not just her right hand.  But I agree
that it's quite possible that alien-hand syndrome
inspired Wolfe here.

> Another case of Wolfe cloaking science behind fantasy
> ('like a demon')?

I'd say the wires and needle give this definite
scientific trappings.


> But the Revolutionary is 'the most hallowed of all' the
> torture-devices, and Gurloes also "I couldn't describe it
> [what it
> does], Chatelaine. Anyway, I've never had it done, you
> see.", both of which imply use is very rare.

I don't get that any of that implies that its use is rare.
Gurloes means he's never had it done to him, that is, he's
never been a victim of it (which is obvious, hence "you
see").  "I couldn't describe it" may mean he's not
allowed to; whether that's true or not, he certainly
knows as well as Severian what it does.  And I don't
think "the most hallowed of all" implies anything about
how often it's used.

Jerry Friedman


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