(urth) The Book of the Long Sun Question

Daniel Petersen danielottojackpetersen at gmail.com
Mon Sep 19 13:38:25 PDT 2011

I think I remember hearing on this list the theory that the inhumi (be it
just Quetzal or others also in addition to him) boarded the Whorl
(presumably by means of the sort of 'space-flight' they're described as
performing in Short Sun) for the purpose of reconnoitring a potential food
source.  That strikes me as fairly straightforward and plausible.

Quetzal, however, is the mystery.  I honestly can't decide if he's sinister
or sincere in his intentions and actions.  Maybe he can't decide either.
 Maybe he has lingered there this long, using them as his food source, but
also finding himself caught up in their politics and drama with some genuine
concern.  Indeed, the tensions in his character between exploitation of and
empathy with his 'hosts' is perhaps inherent to the form-shifting nature of
the inhumi.  (I use 'form-shifting' rather than 'shape-shifting' to try to
denote the more full and complete mimicry that the inhumi achieve with their
hosts in some respects.)  The other inhumi we get to know at any length in
Short Sun seem to be somewhat mixed in motives and relation to the humans

Quetzal certainly made a pleasantly creepy introduction to the final volume
of the Long Sun.  If I hadn't already read OBW and then decided to go back
to the previous series and catch up, I think his character and alien nature
would have totally shocked and surprised me in a very good way.  i just
wouldn't have seen that coming.  However, I was still surprised because I
didn't know the inhumi were first introduced through this one character in
the Long Sun.  He's very well rendered by Wolfe, who is a true master at
characterisation of the non- (or at least not entirely) human.


On Mon, Sep 19, 2011 at 7:27 PM, Marc Aramini <marcaramini at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Yeah, probably not going to get a definitive answer.  Some (who could they
> be?) think he was there all along, because, according to at least one inhumi
> in short sun, "we are everywhere."
> Quetzal was there long enough to have an old parent tree in the garden.
> --- On *Mon, 9/19/11, Antonin Scriabin <kierkegaurdian at gmail.com>* wrote:
> From: Antonin Scriabin <kierkegaurdian at gmail.com>
> Subject: (urth) The Book of the Long Sun Question
> To: "The Urth Mailing List" <urth at lists.urth.net>
> Date: Monday, September 19, 2011, 7:52 AM
> Well, I finally finished *The Book of the Long Sun*.  I thought it was
> wonderful, but I do (of course!) have a few questions.  The first is, how
> did Quetzal get on the *Whorl*?  The inhumi are natives of Green, so maybe
> he found some way aboard the *Whorl* while it was in orbit?  If so, it
> would seem that they were in orbit for some time, since Quetzal obviously
> spent several years on board.  Also, why would he try, in his last moments,
> to get the settlers to go to Green?  As food for other inhumi?  I haven't
> read *The Book of the Short Sun *yet, so if these inhumi-related questions
> are answered there, just tell me to read and find out :-)
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