(urth) 5HC

Marc Aramini marcaramini at gmail.com
Wed Aug 27 06:27:24 PDT 2014

son of a gun what version of the text do you have?!!!! In the ACE paperback
it says
"When he came close to them they extended hands, open, and smiled; but THEY
did not understand open hands meant (or had meant, once) that they held no

I am so super pissed at copy editors right now. Mine is the version with
Many Pink Butterflies instead of Mary Pink Butterflies as well.

On Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 4:11 AM, Gerry Quinn <gerry at bindweed.com> wrote:

> On 26/08/2014 14:52, Marc Aramini wrote:
>> No lee, I think he was a shadow child, which is very different than an
>> abo.  I think Abos and shadow children have completely different life
>> cycles.  Thus he is persecuted. Everyone else is an abo, however, and the
>> switch happened as soon as they landed on ste Anne at the same time
>> Sandwalker and eastwind were switched (Trenchard later says his ancestor is
>> the east wind who met the Landers) when all of a "they" can't recognize
>> what open hands mean.  (Or is that a universal signal everywhere but in
>> France? nope).  Abos go from larva to adult imitative form to immobile
>> carapace (the trees at the brothel disappear during certain seasons - we
>> assume they have been uprooted) and the shadow children are many who become
>> one - a group consciousness formed by a colony of cells (as all living
>> things are, save that this one promulgates through infection). They took
>> over ste croix about 140 years ago and Marsch asks why all the buildings
>> are so ridiculously old - Abos don't build new things, they just imitate
>> things already in place.
> Marc, I think I only realised this morning where you get the 'open hands'
> idea from.  The text says:
> "When he [Sandwalker] came close to them [the just-landed French] they
> extended their hands, open, and smiled; but he did not understand that open
> hands meant (or had meant, once) that they held no weapons.  His people had
> never known weapons."
> You seem to often read things hyper-literally and leap to hypotheses that
> seem, frankly, pretty wild to me.  For example, in the above, you are
> proposing some sort of instant wiping of the memory of the French landers,
> unprecedented and unheralded anywhere else in the story - and not even
> consistent with either imitation and parasite infection, which already
> constitute one mechanism of substitution too many.
> Here is the non-hyper-literal interpretation.  The French hold out open
> hands and smile to indicate they are friendly.  Open hands are a
> traditional gesture meaning "I hold no weapons".  Sandwalker doesn't
> understand it because his people don't use weapons.
> What of the parenthesised "(or had meant, once)"?  Simply this: in the
> twenty-ninth century, or whatever, we may assume that weapons exist that
> don't need to be held in the hands.  Automated gun turrets that can be
> activated with a thought, perhaps - very likely such devices are being
> tested right now in 2014.  So the open hands gesture can't be taken
> literally any more.  It's just a minor digression by Wolfe.  Not a secret
> clue that disintegrates the remainder of the text by showing that the minds
> of the French are wiped instantly for some reason.
> This is far from the only such example.  Do the trees at Saltimbanque
> Street walk away at certain seasons?  I'm not even going to look.  But if
> they do, I'm going to assume it's simply the work of Maitre's gardener,
> unless substantially more is said about the matter!
> As for the old buildings, both you and Lee have noted this.  But
> Port-Mimizon is an urban area that has suffered a reduction in population.
> Marsch notes that Frenchman's Landing is newly-built, though its
> architecture does not impress him.  Sainte Anne has recently installed
> weather control satellites, and is replacing its shipping technology with
> "modern sail-propelled vessels" similar to those on Earth.  They've got
> tech.  [If Sainte Croix is all abo, Sainte Anne must obviously be too.]
> I've said it before, Wolfe is not trying to trick or trap readers. He's
> not writing a load of nonsense and hiding the clues to the real story in
> isolated words or phrases or names.  If he wants to tell us something, he
> will tell it.  Look at Long Sun, he didn't do the cheap trick that would
> appeal to some authors of making the inhabitants of the Whorl literally
> unaware they are in a spaceship. Their unawareness is naturalistic - they
> just don't *think* about it.  He doesn't write planets of completely
> delusional lunatics.  He writes madmen, but they will usually stop mumbling
> when spoken to, and their delusions are similar to those of actual madmen.
> They do not think the sky is orange, for example, or if they do at least
> they will have tried to come up with some explanation for why it looks blue!
> - Gerry Quinn
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