(urth) fifth head owlet- wolf

Gerry Quinn gerry at bindweed.com
Wed Apr 10 10:10:03 PDT 2013

From: Marc Aramini

> Oh Gerry - because he is cryptic by nature.  Notice that no mention is 
> made of that
> second space faring race using their hands at all.

No need to mention it, because they are clearly intended to refer to humans, 
the ancestors of the Shadow Children.  And even if they hadn't been, they 
built starcrossers.  And even if they hadn't done that, they are placed in 
juxtaposition to the first people (the Saint Anne indigenes) who did not use 
their hands.

You can't use Wolfe's supposed crypticism in a circular fashion to ignore 
all that has gone before and keep tunnelling into deeper and deeper layers 
of alleged symbolism.  Which you never come out of.  First it's trees, then 
it's maggots, and somehow these concepts are seen as supporting each other 
instead of being quite contradictory.  How does that work?

> If you don't think all the consistent imagery points to anything deeper, 
> that's fine,
> but you have to ignore a whole lot of literal statements that are all 
> consistent to
> avoid that elided bit of what symbolism is - something that stands for 
> something
> else, sometimes figuratively, sometimes literally.  Believe it or not 
> occasionally
> authors have hinted at something that is not overtly stated.

In my opinion you are reading all manner of symbolism into occasional words 
or phrases, and had the words been different you could probably have found a 
way to read the same symbolism from them.

"What's gone with that boy,  I wonder? You TOM!"
No answer.
The old lady pulled her spectacles down and looked over them about the
room; then she put them up and looked out under them. She seldom or
never looked _through_ them for so small a thing as a boy; they were
her state pair, the pride of her heart, and were built for "style," not
service--she could have seen through a pair of stove-lids just as well.
She looked perplexed for a moment, and then said, not fiercely, but
still loud enough for the furniture to hear:
If I were to grab at any conceivable literal or metaphoric interpretation, I 
could conclude that Tom is a cat, that Aunt Polly has X-Ray eyes, and that 
that the furniture is sentient.  And that's just the first paragraph of Tom 
Sawyer, which I selected at random.

> Whether I am always right is another matter, but to deny that Wolfe can 
> write about
> one thing, drop allusions, and imply something else is a bit intentionally 
> ignoring his
> ambiguity.  Wolfe's interview said Marsch was a shadow child.  Marsch is 
> bitten by
> the cat.  How else does he become a shadow child if not through that 
> infection?

Actually what Wolfe said was that a Shadow Child replaced Marsch (in my 
opinion it's fairly clear that he misspoke here and meant an abo).  So why 
would Marsch need to be bitten?

Maybe VRT ate him. Or maybe he died - perhaps from the bite - and only then 
did VRT start imitating him.  On the basis of the Old Wise One's story, it 
seems unlikely that the person being copied needs to die, but if the 
indigene wants to take his place in society, it is obviously convenient if 
he does.

- Gerry Quinn

More information about the Urth mailing list