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Alden dennis Weer - page 26 to 42- Podcast Discussion
In Gene Wolfe
Episode 69
In Gene Wolfe
Sumant Natkar
Jun 08, 2019
I really liked the episode 69 of the podcast, where you guys took the bigger questions of the novel into consideration. Here is my few take on those 1. A Story I think this my favorite novella from all the three, we get so much detail regarding the abo life in this novella. We get their weird belief systems, and marsh people's beliefs makes no sense to me whatever, while the hill people tend to be worshiping the nature around them in ways of trees and the river. The biggest question regarding this novella is who wrote it, and my belief is VRT never got out of the prison to write it, because I read the angels trumpets imagery at the end of the third novella in a pessimistic interpretation. Also I don't agree with Brandon's conclusion that A Story is an extension of VRT(novella), and it is the officer who is reading it, I don't think the officer so much cares about the case as a whole, and he just wants to end the investigation, and the conclusion of VRT(novella) is the same, he does not pass any judgement on VRT, but rather suggests to Constant to keep on doing the same torture to VRT until he breaks. So for me VRT never gets out of the prison. Then who actually wrote A Story and who managed to publish it ? We don't get any timeline regarding where A Story fits in the three novellas, while we conclusively tell that Fifth head happens before or at the same time with last novella. If we consider for a time that VRT actually wrote A Story, but it has so much detail that I don't think Victor actually has that much knowledge to write it and then he definitely encountered some abos in the back of the beyond, but there is no evidence in text that this happened, and Glen rightly pointed it in the podcast that VRT never discusses anything regarding the faith of abos, while there is so much going in A Story regarding faith and religion of abos. We never come across any evidence in text as to how abos physically appeared, what we get is always that they looked like animals or they looked like trees or they looked like children. But in the fifth head when five and David descend in the warehouse, they actually encounter a being who has four hands and who has an triangular shaped face? I think that may be actually an abo. what do guys think? For me existence of abos is very tightly bound to A Story, if A Story is just an fan fiction written by VRT, then we can say that there never existed any sentient species on Saint Anne. But as my conclusion I don't think VRT wrote A Story, and it was written by Jeanine in collaboration with VRT, when they had multiple visits together, and then Jeanine published this article, to maybe get VRT out of the prison. Also if we don't assume existence of abos there are so many questions left unanswered 1. On Saint Croix there is an existence of cloned population which suggests to us that there may be issue with people having an offspring, and due to this massive cloning we have colony face existing on Saint Croix. Now this we can answer by the fact that the abos did not have the same reproductive system as humans, but when they came in contact with humans, they transformed or got inspired to take human form, and as we previously discussed this created a confusion for them where they started worshiping trees as it resembles to the image of human reproductive organ. So this can only be explained when we introduce the abo factor in this situation. 2. There no new structures getting built on Saint Anne and Saint Croix. We always get this Victorian image whenever we are on Saint Croix, and people are using the old buildings, and there no new structures or anything new getting built there, this same thing Marsch notices on Saint Anne. Now maybe the abo myth regarding hands has gone out of control, but there maybe some fact in this myth regarding that the abos can use their hands only for their survival, but may be they are not able to build something new like tools with it. Doesn't this explain lack of new buildings or any absence of industry on this planet systems? 3. The War There is so much less information regarding why the war took place between the English&French, and as you guys rightly pointed out, we don't know why the human race has become space faring and planet colonizing in first place. Also from the text we don't know about any valuable metal or any such thing found on these planet systems. Now when the first war could not be explained, we have a war like situation existing between Saint Anne & Saint Croix now, and this cannot be explained, but if we take into account that if abos have taken over this planet, wouldn't it be logical that they will start imitating the war too ? These are just three reasons which I can think at the top of my head, which do not make any sense, unless we introduce the abo factor in it.
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Let me start with, "I like the Fifth Head Episodes"
In Gene Wolfe
Sumant Natkar
May 12, 2019
@James Wynn I think VRT did not write the whole A Story on his own, and would have collaborated with Aunt Jeanine, because in his prison diary he definitely mentions that he met her a couple of times, and he also thinks Aunt Jeanine will make some sort of effort to get him out of the jail. Also the book ends for my reading by Wolfe showing us the imagery of angels trumpets in the ending, which are the flowers which cause hallucinations and poisoning in humans if consumed, and I read that on a pessimistic way, also I don't think VRT will ever manage to get of the jail, because the officer does not write any good recommendation for him, but he mentions that continue doing the torture and break him completely. So even if VRT wrote the story, there is no way possible for him to publish it, unless he smuggled some papers outside with the help of Celestine, but that too is highly unlikely. I think aunt Jeanine finally publishes their paper in his name, which may help his cause to get released, because Constant mentions in his letter that the intellectuals want him to be released, may be after reading that paper, they are convinced that the government has imprisoned the wrong man. Also I don't think VRT has that much anthropological experience to write such fine details of A Story, because there many such things in A Story which VRT never mentions in his dialogue like 1. Sleeping places. 2. The religion & beliefs practiced by the Marsh people. Also Aunt Jeanine was conditioned by nature & nurture to be interested in philosophical anthropology, and her Veil's hypothesis is an widely accepted theory, so I think A Story was definitely a collaboration with Aunt Jeanine having major contribution.
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Let me start with, "I like the Fifth Head Episodes"
In Gene Wolfe
Sumant Natkar
May 11, 2019
My question is did V.R.T really find any existence of abos in the back of the beyond, be that be shadow children/abos, because then why does he come back to civilization after 3 years ?. Also we don't have any entries in his diary regarding any such encounter, except the dream sequence where we have his cat flying in the night. Because from the start of third novella we are shown as he is literally worshiping the free people and his Mother. Even his Mother if we assume her from the hill tribe, ends up in the prison besides him, so are their literally any Annese existing in the back of the beyond ? This is an interesting concept where you describe all the species on Saint anne to be abo, be that be the ghoul bear/tire tiger/cat, but it can be argued in a sense that we try to fit all the things in the experiences we have had so far with the world. So actually calling that animal ghoul bear conjures up an image of bear in your mind, but when Marsch describes it, the similarities just aren't there, may be Wolfe is trying to highlight this side effect of colonization, where everything is templated on a broader scale, without actually trying to understand it. Regarding all the people on Saint Croix being abos, I find that leap a bit hard to take, because clearly we have some human intermix in them which we have clearly come across like Aunt Nerissa or the women selling food to five or the porter in whose house VRT is staying, so I find it hard to go with theory that everyone on Saint Croix is an abo. But I do like the ides of abos being white worms when the colonization firsts encounters them, it explains the imagery of trees in the context of abos, also shadow children in one passage says to Sandwalker that we pulled you from earth, again we get the worm imagery here. It also explains the fact that why trees are so important to them, because they really did dwell in the roots of trees. I also liked the idea of abos require constant presence of humans in vicinity or human like forms in vicinity to maintain their mimicry, because my reading of VRT's prison sentence was the same that he started physically transforming a bit, where he lost his speech, and the introduction of new prisoner actually saved him. but this a big hole in it because, when he was the back of the beyond, he did not have anyone with him to mimic, what happened there then ?
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The Grand Inquisitor & Constant
In Gene Wolfe
I can almost hear them
In Gene Wolfe
Sumant Natkar
Apr 22, 2019
Shadow children as an microscopic infection is a bit of leap for me because it invalidates everything which VRT tells us about them in A Story. And I can't find any clue regarding why would he lie to us, Because he is going to rot in jail perpetually for his whole life, if take a pessimistic view of the ending. For me either the shadow children are first human colonizers, or they are first abos who shape shifted into humans and then got addicted to drug, the subsequent colonization made the abos take perfect human form. I also think VRT did not find anyone in the back of the beyond for three years, and the dreams he has regarding the cat flying, and a women with hair over looking him can be considered as part of hallucinogenic experiences which he has after consuming the mushrooms(Brandon's theory). Because why indeed does he return to human civilization after three years? Because from the start of the novella he is literally ideal worshiping the free people in the form of his mother, and he despises the human part of him, which has always brought him suffering, he spends three years in the back of beyond, surviving in his primal form, without any clothes and on the available nature, due to which also he may have those hallucinogenic dreams. If indeed did he manage to find any abos, why does he come back to human civilization assuming the identity of Marsch? My alternative reading is when Marsch took the cat from VRT, and it bite him, he basically broke the neck of the cat, because Marsch is shown at the edge, in his last entry of log book, and anything biting him would have triggered an instantaneous reaction from him. and it was the cat infection, combined with the mauling he received at the hands of Tire tiger which finally killed him.
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Sumant Natkar

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