Some thoughts on the latest podcast: You'll probably mention this is the discussion podcast of this section, but the incident where Marsch,. Trenchard, and the boy see the enormous shark-like military airship is interesting: "The beggar [Trenchard] said, “Do not wave,” then whispered something to the boy of which I caught only the beginning and end: “Faites attention … Français!” I think the meaning must have been, “Remember that you are French.” The boy answered something I could not hear and shook his head."
I'm not fluent in French, but my daughter is, and she said the meaning is more: "Watch out! (or "Be careful!", literally "Pay Attention")...French!" He could be warning him of the French people, which doesn't make sense in the context of what this and earlier sections reveal of the history of the French on St. Anne, where they are unlikely to be in control of the airship. Rather than the apparent presumption by Marsch that this is an reminder of ethnic pride, it seems more likely that he is reminding Victor that he is supposed to be French, or act like he is French, if they are being viewed or later questioned, not the Abo or part-Abo that Trenchard apparently knows him to be. Incidentally, the elder Trenchard reminds me quite a bit of Monsieur Thénardier in Hugo's Les Miserables, another French conman and scoundrel - who is also quite abusive to his own daughter, Fantine, and teaches her his conniving ways. The three novellas dip in and out of references to world literature throughout, as you've mentioned. Proust, of course, Capek, Dostoevsky (and maybe Solzhenitsyn, by way of "A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich", which may have influenced #5's prison camp narrative in the first novel - the English edition of "The Gulag Archipelago" would not be released until about two years after "Cerberus"), Rousseau, Greene, Poe, and in this section, definitely Kafka and Orwell. If there is a meld of #5 and Marsch/Victor, among others, instead of breaking out of the cycle of stagnation, the doubled melded consciousness in the prison is doomed on St. Croix to be under the thumb of another Maitre (who could even ironically be David), where he is again known as a number, as #5 was. "And I wondered why so much of what was being said was in numbers: TWO TWELVE TO THE MOUNTAINS … Then I realized that they, we, call ourselves usually by our cell number, which gives the location and is the most important thing, I suppose, about a prisoner anyway." As the Johnny Rivers song went, "They've given you a number / and taken 'way your name." "Dendritic Culture" is an interesting neologism - in Wolfe's story "Christmas Inn", one of the odd visitors to the B&B of the title refers to the Christmas tree in the lobby as "dendrolatry", which means the worship of trees. Good podcast!