(urth) And Now For Something Completely

Lee Berman severiansola at hotmail.com
Thu Nov 17 06:18:55 PST 2011

> Pig appears to have carried some of Pas/Silk’s personality, which
> became trapped when he was blinded.

>Gerry Quinn: Pigs should be associated with Phaea, but there’s no obvious connection here.
There is. The obvious connection is what you say: pigs should be associated with Phaea. For
me the implication is that the gods, like the cards which sometime represent them, are being
shuffled and redealt in different combinations.
>As is generally the case in Wolfe, names are atmospheric, and often tell us something in story 
>context (e.g. the animal-vegetable-mineral naming scheme in Viron) but more abstruse references 
>never tell us anything of significance that isn’t made clear in other ways.  
I think everyone would generally agree with this, except on your expectation that Wolfe is 
writing in ways in which everything is "Clear". If clearly written and understandable prose
is what you prefer, I you can read Wolfe that way. But you will have to dismiss large portions
of the text as gibberish.
I find Wolfe to be a deliberately mysterious writer, prompting the reader to partial but not full 
understanding for some elements of his work. I think Wolfe has a purpose to this.  It isn't just 
to confuse his readers. He leaves the focus fuzzy on subjects he considers human intelligence too 
feeble to fully grasp like the nature of god(s), the history of the universes, etc.
We can take the Silent Silk and Silver Silk references. Gerry, you are absolutely right that to
off-handedly associate those names with Silenus and Silvanus would be silly. What we would need
to make that connection would be a reference to Faunus or Pan or Bacchus or Dionysus. 
In the Sun Series we get references to not one but to all four of these. Silk is a follower of The
Outsider.  Silenus and Silvanus are followers of Dionysus/Pan/Faunus. The connection really isn't
so hard to make.
We could go to the suggestion that Typhon and Echidna are siblings. Sure their names suggest it, 
but that by itself wouldn't be enough. We'd have to have more mythological support. And we have 
Greek mythological sibling marriages were not happy ones. Typhon and Echidna were a bit too 
primeval to have personalities but if you can't see the parallels between Chronos and Rhea's,
and Zeus and Hera's marriages and families to the Mainframe gods you simply haven't read enough 
Gene Wolfe is a man who has widely read and been deeply steeped in mythological stories. If he
didn't expect us to guess that Typhon and Echidna were siblings he would have given them different
names (and/or perhaps a happy marriage). To ignore the mythological underpinnings of mythological
named characters is to ignore who Gene Wolfe is and insert yourself in his place. 		 	   		  

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