(urth) On dream travelers

Roy C. Lackey rclackey at stic.net
Sun Feb 13 00:45:27 PST 2011

James Wynn quoted and wrote:
> > Roy-
> > Yes, they can be harmed, but let's be real. No digestive tract means,
> > other things, that there is no ability to produce blood and its
> > Without blood and a circulatory system to move it, the body dies, brain
> > all. Spirit-travel bodies are not real in the sense that they are not
> > same as normal human bodies -- human bodies do not work that way.
> No. They are not merely corporeal bodies. They are a lighter. They don't
> need food. But the DO have blood! The Rajan bleeds. The inhumi attack
> him for his blood. They die from physical harm.

Yes, the spirit body dies -- it happened to Rigoglio and some mercenaries.
But back in the real world, on Blue, only their spirits had died. As I
cited, Silkhorn said during dream travel, "We are spirits here." The bodies
of spirit travelers are spiritual.

Severian could tell that Silkhorn wasn't afraid to be locked in a cell in
the Tower, and wondered why. Silkhorn responded: "Because I'm not really
here." (RTTW, 263)

> > Even if
> > you can grant some for-the-sake-of-the-story magical dispensation of
> > biological realities, it could not go on for very long. That
> > body would soon die without new fuel to power it.
> I will not grant that assumption. I have my own opinion about what
> happens to an astral body if its corporeal body dies.

You mean the sleeping body of the dreamer? That's a different situation from
what I said. I am saying that the astral body could not live for long
without being powered by something. The mercenaries Silkhorn took to Green
to exterminate the inhumi in the City of the Inhumi ate rations they had
carried with them, yet we are told that dream travelers have no digestive
tracts. Obviously eating those rations could not have provided any
sustenance. Maybe it constituted comfort food.

> I realize it is
> still an open debate,  but even if you don't believe it lives on, you
> can hardly claim that the text affirms that it dies.

You must be thinking of Fava, since she is the only example in this
category. She seems to have gone on living in or on some sort of spiritual
plain, because she was able to maintain contact with Mora through Mora's
dreams and seemed to be able to possess and speak through Vadsig.

> We know nothing
> about what "powers" an astral body. To do all it does and still remain
> solid would require far more energy than a single physical body could
> provide.

I don't know what that last sentence is supposed to mean, but solid bodies
cannot walk through the Curtain wall as Silkhorn and Hoof did. Ghosts and
spirits are reputed to be able to do that sort of thing.

> > The stated reason that the inhumi are just as real as humans during
> > travel is that their spirit bodies are manifestations of how they
> > themselves to be in their hearts or souls or whatever,
> No. I don't think, so. Perhaps you are remembering something I am not.

I guess so. Hoof wrote of Juganu, after they returned from a brief astral
warp to Urth: "He said it was what he was in his heart, that the blond man
on the deck of the big boat was the real Juganu, the man he was in dreams."
(RTTW, 349)

> As I recall the Rajan says only that the inhumi are humans in astral
> travel for "the same reason" that human's are human in astral travel. I
> understood this to be that they are human in astral travel because they
> have human souls just as humans do. But they are not _pure spirit_. They
> have mass and they are mortal. Those are BODIES that they have in astral
> travel. Those bodies are different from corporeal bodies, but they are
> in fact physical entities.

I still maintain that natural laws cannot be ignored, at least not by
humans. Anyway, after Silkhorn and Fava warped to Green, then from Green to
the Duko's palace in  Soldo and back to Green, Silkhorn wondered
parenthetically: "(Why did not the Duko accompany us? And was he shot, and
what was the result of that shot, a visionary slug fired by an unreal
trooper from an equally chimerical slug gun.)" (IGJ, 221) Mind the

When Captain Sfido remained loyal to the Duko during that warp to Green, his
needler was taken from him and used in the fight against the inhumi, yet
when the group finally returned to Blue the needler was back with him (IGJ,
230). What happened to the needler taken from him on Green? When the mercs
got back to Blue after fighting all those inhumi in the City on Green, were
they missing any of the slugs they had fired on Green? I don't think so.

> >   and even then that
> > only holds true for inhumi who have previously fed on human blood. A
> > inhumi from the jungles of Green would not appear to be human if caught
> > in spirit travel; it wouldn't even understand the concept. The inhumi
> > or spirit must come by way of human blood, in some mystical religious
> > much as Christians partake of the essence of Christ in Catholic ritual.
> > (*Please* let this not start another tiresome religious debate! I think
> > know what I mean.)
> >
> > In other words, the bodies of spirit travelers have much more to do with
> > spirit than the flesh; the flesh is a manifestation of the spirit, and
> > done to the flesh of a spirit traveler is on the spiritual level. That
> > what happened to Rigoglio.
> I disagree. It is not possible that physical weapons would harm a pure
> spirit. The spirits in astral travel assume NEW bodies during that
> period that operate according alternate unexplained physical laws.

Rigoglio's spirit was sure as hell harmed. The spirit body is linked to the
natural body; why else were Rigoglio's hands still tied when he got to Urth?
Some of the mercenaries from Soldo died and were buried on Green but were
alive and mindless on Blue.

When Jahlee's astral self got stranded on Green, Silkhorn was able to go
back and get her because her body still lived on Blue. After Fava's body
died on Blue, he was apparently unable to go back to Green to see her astral
self, but he was able to speak to her through Vadsig and Mora's dreams on


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