(urth) Short Sun blog

Lee Berman severiansola at hotmail.com
Thu Sep 23 05:41:30 PDT 2010

>Jeff Wilson: "Typhon" shares human anatomy with Piaton, who *is* saint-named (the 
>original was martyred by having the top of his skull sawed off, per the physicians' 
>original plan), and his mind powers are impressively strong but don't put him 
>categorically into nonhuman status with folks like Decuman and the Pelerine in the 
>tent running around.
Some intriguing points in your post Jeff. For me, Decuman's and Domnicellae's powers 
seem as only slightly hyper-versions of the person-to-person human interactions of 
hypnosis and lie detection. Typhon's and the Mandragora's ability to have verbally 
complex, detailed mental conversations (sans sensory contact for Mandragora) and to 
accurately see things far beyond the scope of human perception puts them in a different, 
superhuman category. 
>I can believe Balanders the giant first appeared on the lakeshore one 
>day, but we have no way to know what name the smaller castle builder he 
>"chased away" went by
I'm assuming you are not calling into question the assumption that Baldanders is, as
he says, the smaller man who appeared by the lake. Perhaps you are suggesting that his
original name was a saint name and that he was originally a Commonwealth denizen? If it
is so, I think it would have been more fair for Wolfe to give us more of a hint of that.
>Human tyrants also have a habit of ruling under acquired names, like Stalin and Augustus.
Are you are suggesting that, in BotNS, a human can acquire a monster name, joining the ranks
of aliens like Abaia and Erebus, simply through monstrous behavior, hence Typhon and 
Baldanders? Or are you thinking that all these characters with monster names have human 
Given the history of interstellar human empire, it could be a moot point whether superhuman 
creatures are alien in nature or mutated but pure humans returning to the home planet. 
I lean toward there being at least a partial alien component (with the understanding that 
there are various ways aliens could blend their beings with humans, shapeshifting, 
interbreeding, bloodsucking..).

Normally, I suppose it is the default assumption that a character who looks human is human.
But for me, follow-up BotNS characters such as Zak/Tzadkiel and Quetzal and Fava (and the fore-
shadowing of 5HoC) trumpet the idea that "in this story there are aliens wearing human guise 
among us. Be alert for them!".
It was Roy who dubbed it my "grand unified theory". Not sure how grand it is, but for me, it does 
unify a few themes including Typhon, Abaia/Erebus, Inire and their fate, Dr. Talos' play and the 
need for Ushas. 		 	   		  

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