J1. Uncle Featherway

Uncle Featherway sat on the only empty stool, next to Dan’s unconscious form slumped across the bar. “Is your friend okay?”

“He could use some time unconscious.” Jay pat Dan on the back. “Mister Featherway, are you ready for our interview?”

“Sure as sure. I’ve got plenty of time until my train comes in.” Uncle Featherway ordered a beer and straightened his tinfoil fedora. “You wanted to hear about Virgil Blue?”

“Yes, please. I recently met the Virgils on the Islands of Sheridan but Virgil Blue never spoke to me.” Jay took out his pen and notepad. “I wondered if you had anything to add to the stoic silence.”

J1 Commentary: Conspiracy Theories

In J1: Uncle Featherway Jay interviews the conspiracy theorist with tinfoil lining his fedora. Featherway’s impression of Virgil Blue happens to involve space-aliens and cargo cults, just like the grand unified theory he outlined for Faith in C1: The Sheridanians. Like he tells Jay, sometimes we see what we want to see.

Jay doesn’t seem to take Bob Featherway’s conspiracy theory too seriously. Jay humors Bob by saying things like “huh” and “hm” and “how insightful.” But as I said in this commentary, I find the idea of an objectively true philosophy philosophically unfounded. As Jango says, there are no coincidences; maybe Bob’s onto something with his aliens.

So let’s talk about conspiracy theories.

I4. Inside the Mountain

Inside the Mountain so much noise and light assaulted Dan he could not make sense of it. The buzz of hornets and locusts swarmed all around him. The light was bright yellow then sky-blue then bright yellow again, alternating so quickly the colors blended into an ethereal green haze.

Dan was afraid because he didn’t remember how he had entered this strange space. But he remembered walking on a white wing, and now the white wing was a wide path which stretched into the green distance. Dan tried to walk the path.

I4 Commentary: The Divine Revelation

In my commentary to H4 I discussed the Beatific vision. The Beatific vision is usually meant to represent the ultimate divine revelation, but not quite so in Akayama DanJay. In Dante Alighieri’s dream, his unrequited, courtly love Beatrice Portinari eats his heart to purify him for God. In Akayama DanJay the Beatific vision is understood to be preparation for the ultimate divine revelation, not the thing in itself.

In I4: Inside the Mountain Dan walks along a wide white path. This is the reader’s first glimpse of the inside of the Mountain.

I3. The Agony is Over

When the white fox flew away stillness pervaded from horizon to horizon. The puddle of water left by the worms was tranquil on the Mountainside. The Mountain stood immobile in the desert of dunes which surely shifted over ages but from second to second seemed still. Every line of the landscape was impeccable, and every grain of sand was nestled against the next. The landscape held its breath and the sun stood still.

The puddle of water shimmered. The fox’s frozen exhalation had laced the puddle with fern-like frost. When each leaf of frost melted, surface tension caused the puddle to ripple. This rippling was the only motion in the ocean of sand and dust.

The last melting frost leaf left a bubble of air on the puddle. The bubble split into two smaller bubbles, which decomposed into froth and foam on the puddle’s surface.

From the foam a human arm emerged. The arm felt the puddle like the arm of a man who woke with sleeping legs and who wished to shake his numb knees to life. But the human arm felt no companion limbs, just water on dust.

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