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Punchinello writes...

I just reviewed what I have written here. It's so formal it's almost offensive. I'm sorry. I don't think one can talk about issues like this without sounding (obtuse? Stuffy? Something like that.) And not a word about Gargoyles.

Let me leave the realm of animal intelligence's for a minute and consider the intelligence of some of the more fantastical characters in your story. The fae. When I think about this kind of (ethereal?) character, these are the kinds of associations that I make.

-The thought of angels moves faster than human thought. (I don't recall where that comes from)

-A four dimensional object or being will cast a three dimensional shadow. (That's an observation Buckminster Fuller made.)

-A being that cannot die will have no concept of death, and certainly will not attach values, positive or negative, to the ending of a life. (This is a condensed and bastardized summary of some of the speculation of extraterrestrial intelligence's that participants of the SETI program publicized.)

I hope some of the above makes sense. My thinking is this. That the content of fae thought/mentality may be fundamentally different from homo sapiens thinking. Not just an accelerated or enhanced analogue of human thought, but structurally different. Our mental world is the emergent condition of innumerable biological systems interacting with one another. I have no reason to conclude that the fae's intelligence emerges from anything reductionist in nature. It is a condition that exists without origin in biology (potentially). Everything that we think of as intelligence rests on an evolutionary foundation of connections to allow us to successfully distinguish between things we can eat and things that will eat us. It would be absurd to think that the fae (who I don't think were subject to natural selection through predation) would have an intelligence structured upon the same principles. Simple alternative concepts like "either or" may not have the same meaning to them. This could go far towards explaining why they are so damned irritating.

My second thought on the matter, in reference to the three dimensional shadow concept, is that the visual representation we get of the fae in the story may be a poor representation of the reality. I use the concept of a hypothetical four dimensional being to illustrate. A two dimensional being could be aware of my presence if I allowed it to, although it would be a simple matter to remove myself from it's perception with a minor movement. However it's awareness could not give it a complete representation of what I am. It could only understand me as a fragment that can be translated into something comprehensible within the context of it's world. I can easily attribute an extra dimensional quality to beings like Oberon and Puck who seem o appear and disappear at will. We might not be able to understand completely, what they are. Only that the portion of them that is represented in three dimensions resembles a group of tall, angular, oddly complexioned people in period costume.

My third observation of the fae, and in particular of Oberon who has demonstrated a dispassionate distance to killing his rivals in certain instances, is that he may have no concept of murder because he may have no concept of death. (Yes I know that he reacted to the iron bell in such a way that would indicate it was harmful to him. Even lethal.) However, even if he were to express a concept of death we would not be able to be certain that his concept was anything like our concept. Does death mean an end for him? If it does not, then the gravity we attach to it may be lost on him and the other fae.

I think my point is that while it would certainly not be appropriate to think of a creature like this in human terms, i'm not even certain you can extrapolate "human" from him. There could be creatures, so far removed from human experience that it would be impossible. Of course, the associations that I make with the fae are not going to be the same ones that you make. Your concept of them may fall within human experience. You have other creatures though. Your space spawn. They would certainly have been subject to mental dispositions grounded in a different biology. We're conditioned with the genetic remainders of our hunter gatherer ancestors. They would be conditioned with something else. I dont know what. Something spawny probably.

Greg responds...

Spawny. I like that.

Play with these ideas:

1. I believe that Oberon's Children evolved from the Will-O-the-Wisp.

2. I believe that they can die, as completely or not as any human. But they can't die of old age, unless they stubbornly insist on maintaining a mortal form until it kills them. They are therefore, acutally, technically mortal themselves, but don't truly comprehend mortality (if that makes sense). So they like to pretend they are fully immortal, fully untouchable. (Well, that's a generalization, really. Individuals may vary.)

3. I don't necessarily believe that we have seen the true form of any of Oberon's Children. We have seen 'preferred forms', but not anything that isn't just as much of a guise as any other shape they've taken on.

4. When they transform into a mortal of whatever species -- as opposed to just taking on the glamour of a mortal -- they are bound by all the rules of that species, save ONE. They can transform back.

5. I don't find them as irritating as you seem to.

Anyway, play with those five notions and get back to me.

Response recorded on September 08, 2001