(urth) First Exodus theory revised

António Pedro Marques entonio at gmail.com
Thu Feb 10 18:00:35 PST 2011

Gerry Quinn wrote:
> From: "António Pedro Marques" <entonio at gmail.com>
>> Gerry Quinn wrote:
>>> *From:* Ashley Crill <mailto:ash_crill at hotmail.com>
>>> Were any embryos engineered to have a superior military intellect
>>> that were destined to conquer, Typhon-style?
>>> I have said in the past that I think Silkhorn's military accomplishments
>>> in Gaon and Blanco were similar to those of Typhon as described by
>>> Rigoglio. Like Typhon, he sided with the underdog in conflicts, and won.
>>> But I don't think this is necessarily anything to do with genetics. Silk
>>> has merged with Pas in Mainframe, and Horn downloads the merged entity
>>> into himself (i.e. Silk's old body). So Typhon - as Pas - is present in
>>> the resulting, somewhat confused, personage.
>> I think people grossly overestimate Typhon's powers and urthly
>> technology. I don't find a single example, in all the books, of a
>> power to engineer minds. There's lots of technology around, from a
>> photosynthesizing man to sentient robots, but even the latter seem to
>> have personalities not designed by anyone. I see Typhon being able to
>> produce beings of terrific physical and intellectual abilities, but
>> not to decide their ways of thinking.
> There may not be a technology to engineer minds and personalities as
> such... but there is certainly a technology to engineer certain mental
> abilities. Mucor is proof of this. Her brain does not even resemble a
> normal human brain.

Granted - but as you notice, personality is orthogonal to mental abilities.

> As for Silk, we are told he is a special snowflake, but it's not exactly
> clear where his powers lie. There seems to be general agreement that it
> is something to do with leadership, which makes sense in terms of Tussah
> wanting such an embryo. Of course, leadership was a characteristic of
> Typhon too, which makes it harder to answer questions about whether Silk
> is genetically related to Typhon.

(How does it make it harder? It's an argument for kinship, a weak one but 
still one.)

Otoh, the only special things about Silk seem to be charisma - and that, 
unlike something so hard to pinpoint as leadership, can be put down to 
physical/mental abilities (a way with words, with body language, etc) - and 
universal benevolence. He certainly didn't get the latter from genetics or 
genetic engineering.

I'm surprised people don't challenge Silk's benevolence. Is he really that 
good? Does a good person do what he did on Blue (granting that part of him 
there is Horn)? I think the answers are fundamentally 'yes'.

And now I must ask.

What the hell is the purpose of Tussah.

I mean, would the story fall apart if that character didn't exist?

Would Gene Wolfe create such a character if there were no purpose for him?

I think the answers are 'yes' for the first and 'no' for the second. 
Ashley's theory points out a possible reason for Tussah's existence - his 
actions provided the means for Quetzal to get on board the Whorl. I think 
further debate on just how much of the story really depends on this 
character we only hear about fragmentarily would be interesting.

> Really though, it's more the absence
> of something that might show a distinction between Silk and Typhon,
> rather than any sort of positive evidence either way.

Silk is 
son, Silk is blond, people follow Silk. If he's not Typhon's son, why have 
him be someone unknown's child? There comes a point when one must make a 
little leap to reach a conclusion - otherwise there's nothing in the text. 
The text will never explicitly unfold its secrets, or they wouldn't be 
secrets. And if not to unfold them - and for that, little leaps are needed - 
then what use is analyzing it?

Of course, there could be better answers to 'who are Silk's parents?' than 
Typhon and Kypris, whoever Kypris is. But where are they? Can one say 'the 
question of Silk's parenthood is unimportant'? (Maybe one can, I'm asking.)

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