Adam, Larry and I interviewed Bakker earlier this spring to help promote The White-Luck Warrior (Canada, USA, Europe). Follow this link to read the Q&A if you missed it last June.
In order to get the interview online prior to my departure for my Eastern European adventure, Scott and I decided to post the better part of what we had on hand and wait for my return before posting the rest.
These questions have to do with a lot of metaphysical stuff such as damnation, magic, the Inchoroi, and more. As you can expect, this is true hardcore stuff! Many thanks to all the fans who submitted questions for this interview.
Be forewarned that some of the answers contain information that could be construed as spoiler material. Nothing major; nothing that can spoil the books for you. But still, something to keep in mind. . .
We see that the interpretation of damnation is local in the sense that, e.g., sorcery is viewed as damnable in Momemn but not in Shimeh. Is the reality of damnation local as well? In particular, is a Cishaurim who dies in the streets of Carythusal damned?
Damnation is not local. There is a right and wrong way to believe in Eärwa, which means that entire nations will be damned. Since the question of just who will be saved and who will be damned is a cornerstone of The Aspect-Emperor’s plot, there’s not much more that I can say.
The caprice of the Outside (where the distinction between subject and object is never clear) is such that those rare souls who walk its ways and return never seem to agree on the nature of what they have seen. Since only demonic (as opposed to angelic) Ciphrang can be summoned and trapped in the World, practitioners of the Daimos can never trust the reports they receive: the so-called Damnation Archives in the Scarlet Spires are rumoured to be filled with wild contradictions. The Damned themselves only know that they are damned, and never why.
Unlike the Gnosis or Anagnosis, Psukhe seems to have come from humans directly(instead of Nonmen). Did the nonmen ever have anything to do with Psukhe? Did humans prior to Fane have anything to do with Psukhe?
Prior to Fane, the Psukhe as an arcane art was unknown, though there are legendary hints and mythic innuendos of certain sightless individuals harnessing inexplicable powers in moments of extraordinary anguish.
Everything comes down to meaning in Eärwa. Where sorcery is representational, utilizing either the logical form (as with the Gnosis) or the material content (as with the Anagogis) of meaning to leverage transformations of reality, the Psukhe utilizes the impetus. Practitioners of the Psukhe blind themselves to see through the what and grasp the how, the pure performative kernel of meaning–the music, the passion, or as the Cishaurim call it, the ‘Water.’ As a contemporary philosopher might say, the Psukhe is noncognitive, it has no truck with warring versions of reality, which is why it possesses no Mark and remains invisible to the Few.
This is why the Psukhe never occurred to any of the other more ancient arcane traditions. As the old saying goes, the man with a hammer thinks every problem is a nail. For the bulk of Eärwa’s history, it’s very possibility remained invisible.
Is Aurang special amongst the Inchoroi in his ability to use Sorcery? Or were all Inchoroi, his brother included, amongst the Few?
The Inchoroi only possessed the Tekne when they arrived in Eärwa. All of the Inchoroi are the products of successive Graftings, species-wide rewrites of their genotype, meant to enhance various abilities and capacities, such as the ability to elicit certain sexual responses from their victims (via pheromone locks), or the capacity to ‘tune sensations’ and so explore the vagaries and vicissitudes of carnal pleasure. The addition of anthropomorphic vocal apparatuses is perhaps the most famous of these enhancements.
The Grafting that produced Aurang and Aurax was also devised during the age-long C no-Inchoroi Wars, one of many failed attempts to biologically redesign themselves to overcome the Nonmen. But they had been outrun by their debauchery by this time, and had lost any comprehensive understanding of the Tekne. The Graftings had become a matter of guesswork, more likely to kill than enhance those who received them. The Inchoroi filled the Wells of the Aborted with their own in those days.
Aurang and Aurax are two of six who survived the attempt to Graft the ability to see the onta.
Wutteat mentions that he journeyed with the Inchoroi across the void, and that Sil rode him. The Appendix of TTT says that dragons were created after the first engagement between the Nonmen and Inchoroi, where Sil was killed. Did the Inchoroi, for some reason, leave their dragons behind in the first battle?
Wutteat is the prototype, the genotypical template the Inchoroi used to spawn the Wracu. In a sense, he is no more ‘another dragon’ than the original 1889 prototype for the metre in Sevres, France is another metre.
Were there ever Nonmen in Eänna? And if not, why not? They certainly seem to have had both the time, capability and inclination for an invasion before the Inchoroi showed up. Instead they just fortified the passes. Why?
The Nonmen do not multiply anywhere near the rate as Men. Their ambition, moreover, has little regard for geography for its own sake. For them, to conquer means to gain power over their brothers: all other forms of dominance are beneath their contempt. This is the reason they paid so little attention to the Halaroi in Eärwa, apart from their need for labour and congress. What transpired in Eänna, they cared not at all.
When the Inchoroi began using Men to master the Aporos and produce the first Chorae, they gave the first sorcery-destroying spheres to the Sranc, only to discover that the creatures were far too reckless. Having fixed and morbid habits of ornamentation, the Sranc rarely valued the spheres, and were thus prone to lose them.
So the Inchoroi began giving them to the Men of Eärwa, hoping to incite them to rebellion. But the Halaroi had no stomach for rousing a feared, and most importantly, absent master, and so rendered the deadly gifts to their Nonmen overlords. The Inchoroi then looked to Eänna, where the Men were both more fierce and more naive. They gave the Chorae to the Five Tribes as gifts, and to one tribe, the black-haired Ketyai, they gave a great tusk inscribed with their hallowed laws and most revered stories–as well as one devious addition: the divine imperative to invade the ‘Land of the Felled Sun’ and hunt down and exterminate the ‘False Men.’
The Nonmen only rebuilt and reinforced the Gates after the first great migratory invasions generations later.
What can you tell us about the Consult's level genetic engineering?
I would love to tell you about the Consult’s level of genetic engineering, but they insist on revealing the mad extent of their depravity themselves in The Unholy Consult.