(urth) fifth head owlet- wolf

Lee Berman severiansola at hotmail.com
Wed Apr 10 06:42:24 PDT 2013

>Marc Aramini: Just had a little thought if Marsch was a shadow child.  The ending lines of the first >novella.  " she had the child with her.  Someday they'll want us." If this is the shadow child, perhaps >they are getting ready to take or be everyone on st. Anne.    Just a thought on a weird pronoun shift >there- from the child to they- and shadow children say things like " I, for five"...

I've found that line to be among the most haunting in SF since I first read it as a teen, in the novella.

However I take the opposite interpretation. I find the pronoun "us" to mean Number Five, being cloned over and over, as a plural being. As he matured and became his father he started to think of himself in the plural that way. Perhaps that is the more obvious interpretation?

I hold to it because of what I think is the deeper theme of 5HoC which is about adaptation and evolution and competition. I've always understood Number Five's dream about the ship which cannot set sail until it is untied from the dock as a cloning metaphor. With the novella 5HoC, Wolfe is saying cloning is a dead end because it doesn't provide a mechanism for adaptation and evolution.

So in the full novel, what better way to contrast this theme by pitting cloning against a species which is superhuman in its ability to adapt and evolve. I suspect Number Five and his collective cloned family may be the only true humans left on both planets. Earthman Dr Marsch was human on his first visit to the mansion but not on his return. I see Number Five (plural) as the last gasp of a species on the verge of extinction. 		 	   		  

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