It is always such an incredible delight to hear Marc on Wolfe, I am so glad you had him on. His reading of the symbolism is extraordinarily compelling, as always.
I had one (possibly stupid) question — for Glenn/Brandon, or for Marc, or anyone else. Marc seems to be assuming that Aunt Jeannine is an abo (on the assumption that Veil's hypothesis is true, and that the inhabitants of Sainte Croix are all abos). The only argument for that — which, IMS (although I haven't gone back to recheck), is introduced first as a possibility and then becomes simply asserted towards the end of the episode — seems to be the idea that she is an outcrossing, like David. (She does, it is true, implicitly compare herself to David — "your father has a sister, why wouldn't you?" — but then, at the time she assumes David is Number 5's half-brother ("he must have used one of my girls")). But surely the evidence that she is *not* is greater? Number 5 says she looks like his father; she herself refers to Maistre as her brother. And of course her name — Jeannine — is presumably the feminine of "Gene". (Actually, is there any other evidence for Number 5/Maistre's first name? There's a lot of evidence about "Wolfe" — the library, the name of the house, etc — but the only bit of evidence I can recall that the first name is Gene (apart from the name of the author, which I don't think is quite enough) is the name of Aunt Jeannnie. If she's an abo, that evidence is no longer valid.) I assume the story is that Maistre's father tried a female clone, as well as the usual clone, and that Maistre himself, trying something different, tried an outcropping instead.
Relatedly, I am not convinced that David is an abo — or, at least, more than half abo — even assuming that Veil's Hypothesis is true. It simply seems to make more sense for Maistre to be testing a half-brother rather than some random person (who would then, in fact, be an abo). Now, if he did, as Aunt Jeannine speculates, "use one of my girls", then, if Veil's hypothesis is true, David would presumably be half abo. But I think that I've not seen any evidence to persuade me that he isn't, as the surface reading is, Maistre's son. (There is the comment about finding no proof of David's kinship — but I read that as simply a reflection that Maistre, breeding with one of his own sex-slaves for the purpose of creating an experiment, is hardly going to register the birth or anything like that. Would they use genetic testing? Well, if the story was written today, it would be a question; but the notion of genetic testing is raised nowhere in the story, and wasn't (AFAIK) a common notion in 1972, so I suspect the only evidence consulted was legal.)
I, for one, am not yet convinced, just from the first novella, that Veil's Hypothesis is true. (I did like the speculation in the episode, which got inadequate consideration I think, that the abos might have replaced the French colonizers but not the subsequent American ones. Worth further pursuit, I think.) But I suppose more evidence will be forthcoming in my upcoming reread of the last two novellas, plus the episodes recorded.