(urth) Short Story 65: Tracking Son

Marc Aramini marcaramini at gmail.com
Sun Jun 8 16:33:04 PDT 2014

As far as I can tell, these inventions include the cooking bag with the
heated firerocks for traveling cooking, the club-bow, the man-sinew
reinforced chair weapon that Nashwonk uses, the curved hook blade of the
Pamigaka and the polearm of the Mimmunka, the brush lodges the Pamigaka
live under, the sleds themselves with their tacking sails, and the
inexplicable endieva wand (is it a mineral? a fast dissipating poison?
Still wouldn't seem feasible to eat something recently killed by it) ...

It seems to me that the ingenuity displayed by these semi-humans in their
ability to use tools makes them much more than animals who can speak, and
that their facility in creating the tools is in some way a step towards
humanity, though I feel that saying that the story is "about" uninvented
inventions of the stone age is overstating the importance of these things -
the Great Sleigh is clearly high tech, as is the equipment of Mantru and

The sorrow Eggseeker expresses over killing the birds who will soon be
endangered shows that consciousness of living an acceptable life that seems
very far from savage.

On Sun, Jun 8, 2014 at 2:50 PM, Gwern Branwen <gwern at gwern.net> wrote:

> An impressive overview as expected, but one point felt under-addressed.
> On Sun, Jun 8, 2014 at 2:20 PM, Marc Aramini <marcaramini at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >> “A pivotal story for me is one in which I feel I have succeeded in doing
> >> well something I have never really done well before – fairy material in
> >> “Thag”, a certain religious viewpoint in “Westwind”, the use of second
> and
> >> third person in “The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories”, the
> >> progression from realism to fantasy in “The Eyeflash Miracles”, even the
> >> primitive inventions no one ever actually invented (and which no one now
> >> notices) in “Tracking Song”. Just as “Tracking Song” is about uninvented
> >> inventions of the stone age, “Straw” is about (partly of course)
> uninvented
> >> inventions of the middle ages.
> Wolfe seems to think that the 'uninvented inventions' are a major
> theme of the story, but you hardly mention them. What are they? Just
> the endieva wand & club-bows? And how is 'Tracking Song' *about* them?
> --
> gwern
> http://www.gwern.net
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