Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Bale Time

There is mounting evidence that something bad happens during Bale time but the Gwydiona do their best to conceal or deny it. During this period, all Gwydiona gather in their nearest Holy City. Elfavy finally tells Raven that:

"'Not everyone returns from the Holy City.'"
-Poul Anderson, The Night Face IN Anderson, Flandry's Legacy (Riverdale, NY, 2012), pp. 541-660 AT VII, p. 607.

What does that mean? If the indescribable "God" experience is a trance and if some people die during the trance, then surely the others will find the bodies when they come out of the trance? Or do they just disappear?

Elfavy's answer does not make sense:

"'There is a theory that the mountain ape is driven mad by the nearness of God and comes down into the lowlands, killing and destroying. That would account for the facts.'" (ibid.)

No, it wouldn't. If some people stayed in the towns during Bale Time and if those who afterwards returned from the Holy City found that there had been killing and destruction in the towns, then, yes, the mountain apes could be suspects. However, everyone goes to the Holy City and Elfavy says that some of them do not return from the Holy City. So what does happen in the Holy City?

Strangely, Raven does not raise these questions. Instead, he accepts Elfavy's switch from her statement that not everyone returns from the Holy City to her statement that there is killing and destruction in the towns. (I think she means in the towns.) He asks why the Gwydiona do not leave someone in the towns to see what happens there. But, if they do not leave anyone there, then how can anyone be killed there? Elfavy replies that no one would forego his trip to the Holy City. But, if no one foregoes his trip to the Holy City, then how can anyone be killed back in the towns? Raven suggests that they might at least leave automatic cameras.

Raven thinks that closed doors, barred windows and guard robots at the sanctuaries would keep out animals. By "sanctuaries," does he mean the Holy Cities? I am now not clear whether they are talking about the apes attacking the towns or the Holy Cities. Elfavy elaborates that the apes might be half intelligent, able to use tools and evade guard robots. So does she imply that they break into the Holy City and kidnap some of the Gwydiona without being noticed by any of the others?

Basically, an unsatisfactory discussion that might make more sense tomorrow.

(Maybe when Raven suggests leaving someone in the towns to see what happens he means not what happens in the towns but whether the apes can be seen to descend from the mountains and approach the Holy City where the Gwydiona rapt in "God" would be unable to notice what was happening? Yes, I think I am starting to get it.)

4 comments:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul

And we now get some explanation for the ape like creatures carrying a man in the cover illustration for THE NIGHT FACE. But I don't think we ever see any of these alleged
"mountain apes" in the story.

Sean

Paul Shackley said...

Sean,
I think we do but I have not got that far yet.
Paul.

Paul Shackley said...

Sean,
The apes attack Tolteca and Raven in Chapter VIII.
Paul.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Only goes to show I need to reread THE NIGHT FACE! That cover illustration had been bothering me because I could not remember these apes. Dang! (Smiles)

Sean
!