The Islanders Week 12: High / Brother to Cathedral
Sentier (High / Brother)
- Sentier is a semi-arid island with permissive laws that makes it popular with back-packers.
- Wines are a popular export, but Sentier city remains a small backwater.
- Near the town of Culver are unusual ruins from the time of the first (Glaundian) Federation invasion, before the making of the Covenant.
- For a time there was an artist's colony. Bathurst was here and painted a mediocre work.
- PENDIK MUDURNU, an astronomer, built the world's largest optical telescope here.
- The mime artiste COMMIS and the philosopher VISKER DELOINNE both hail from the island.
Siff (Whistling One)
- Siff has now largely disappeared, but can be visited by glass-bottom boat.
- Artist DRYD BATHURST stayed here for a time. He engaged in cuckolding and painted one of his apocalyptic masterpieces, Night of Final Wrath.
- A hundred years later, Siff eventually collapsed into the sea.
- It's destruction is due to rampant tunneling by JORDENN YO and other tunneling enthusiasts.
- Yo described the droning sound made by the wind through the tunnels as 'The Music of Sea & Skies'.
Smuj (Old Ruin / Stick for Stirring / Cave with Echo)
- This entry consists of a journalistic account written by DANT WILLER of her visit to the island. We previously encountered Dant Willer as a journalist and E.E. CAURER's body double.
- Willer travelled to Smuj by ferry, and found it small, charming, and unspoilt.
- People might come here for scuba, yachting, horse racing, or the better than average food. There's also an old ruin in the hills, over a thousand years old.
- There are 3 different ethnic Patois systems on the island, and this is one of the few places with mild ethnic tension in the Archipelago.
- One of Caurer's Special Schools ('School of Caurer Instruction for ages 6-18) is also located here.
- Willer gives an account of her first in-person encounter with E. Caurer, and how she gave up her career to serve Caurer (and become her body double).
- The events described here occur after Caurer's reported death by 'infection/infestation' following Kammeston's funeral (described in the Rawthersay chapters), so presumably that death was a fiction.
- Winho is described as 'the island of whores'.
- It is scenic & mountainous with a subtropical climate.
- It was invaded twice by Faiand before the full force of the Covenant of Neutrality took force. The first time, they were ousted by the Glaundian Federation. Then they returned with a vengeance. Both occupations resulted in atrocities visited on the locals, including mass murder and forced prostitution.
- The island was a special concern of ELSA CAURER.
- For a time, DRYD BATHURST had a studio here. CHASTER KAMMESTON came to visit him for 2 weeks while researching the biography he was writing. He was so disgusted by Bathurst's personal life that he set work on the book aside for 2 years.
- Author MOYLITA KAINE (first encountered in the letter exchange with Kammeston, then later after picking up the remains of a dead soldier from a military base) also lived on this island for a time while researching the effects of the Faiand occupations.
- Winho is still and island in crisis. Visitors are only allowed 48 hour visas, and deserters are turned away. It seems that most island income still comes from the passing military vessels and the recreational needs of their crews.
- These are the last of the 'gazetteer' style entries in the book (next week's entry, the last one, will be a 'story' type entry). Together, they mention most of the recurring characters in the book, and re-visit several recurring themes, like the egotistical nature of artists and the terrible ways military forces carry on. Do they bring anything new, or do they rather serve as a conclusion?
- Do you think Priest is contrasting 'visual artsts' against 'authors'?
- Priest spends a lot of time on the collateral effects of military activity and occupation in this book, but next to none on the fighting. Any thoughts on this?
- Many of the translations of patois names reflect the character of the island. Some, like Whistling One for Siff, Old Ruin for Smuj, or High for Sentier and it's lax drug laws, are more or less obvious. What do you make of the likes of Stick for Stirring, Cave with Echo, or Cathedral?