Detailed Summary

Detailed summary of Nightside the Long Sun.

Setting: The Whorl is a generation-ship that was meant to colonize other planets. The Whorl has a planet-sized rotating hollow cylindrical environment for the passengers with a "sun" lighting element down its central axis. Most of the passengers do not know that this is not the whole universe. Patera Silk is an augur (priest) of a polytheistic religion set up by the Urth tyrant Typhon and his family, using computer-scanned versions of their personalities as gods. He runs a manteion (church) along with three sybils (nuns): Maytera Marble, Maytera Rose, and Maytera Mint.

  1. The Manteion on Sun Street (Phaesday noon). Silk receives enlightenment from the Outsider while playing ball with the boys at the school he runs. Silk goes to the market to try to buy a suitable sacrifice to thank the Outsider. On the way he meets Blood, a rich crime boss. Silk demands money from Blood and receives it in answer to questions about enlightenment. Blood goes on to the manteion and reveals to Maytera Marble that he has bought the place. He asks her to tell Maytera Rose.
  2. The Sacrifice (Phaesday afternoon). Silk goes to the market and buys a night chough to sacrifice. He returns to give a sermon to the children at the manteion. After the children leave, Silk and the sybils attempt to sacrifice the bird but it seems to die of natural causes before they can sacrifice it.
  3. Twilight (Phaesday evening). Silk speaks with Marble in the arbor. She asks him to speak to Auk, a burglar who sometimes comes to their services. Silk tells her of his enlightenment and his mission to save the manteion. She tells him of Blood's purchase. Silk decides to break into Blood's house and confront him. He goes to the Orilla, a bad part of town, and finds Auk in a bar. Silk asks Auk to shrive him before his mission in case he is killed; Silk shrives Auk first for various sins including beating a prostitute named Chenille. Using a monitor in Auk's place, Silk calls Blood's house. He gets Blood's frightening associate Musk, who hangs up on him.
  4. Nightside (Phaesday night). Silk and Auk ride to Blood's mansion outside of town. Auk asks Silk not to mention that Auk helped him if he is caught, and leaves. Silk scales the back wall of the grounds. He sees a talus (giant robot) on patrol. Silk climbs down to the back gate and tries to bluff his way in with a guessed password; the talus shuts the gate in his face. Silk sneaks around to the front. He scales the front wall and up to the roof of the conservatory while the talus and guardian lynxes are occupied with newly-arrived visitors.
  5. The White-Headed One (Phaesday night). Silk finds a window open in the wing of the house adjacent to the conservatory. He enters, and finds Mucor, Blood's mentally-unbalanced adopted daughter. She is imprisoned in her room but she can astral-project as long as the window isn't locked. Mucor tells Silk more about the layout of the house; he decides to go over the roof of the south annex. Mucor says she will go with him in astral form and warns him to watch out for the "white-headed one." Silk works his way over the tiled roof. Suddenly Silk slips on a piece of raw meat and he is attacked by a white-headed bird.
  6. New Weapons (Phaesday night). Silk regains consciousness and finds that the bird has fallen to its death in the courtyard below. He enters Blood's house by a trapdoor on the roof and seeks refuge in the dressing room of Hyacinth, a prostitute working for Blood. Silk speaks to the A.I. monitor in that room and it directs him to first-aid supplies for his wounds and to a drawer with weapons: he gets a needler and an azoth (laser sword). Silk slips into bed with Hyacinth to fool the guards who are looking for him. Under the influence of drugs, she wants him, but he resists her temptation. Hyacinth grabs the azoth and chases Silk out the window. His leg is injured in the jump and he is captured by Blood's forces.
  7. The Bargain (Phaesday night). Silk is treated by Blood's physician, Dr. Crane. Silk negotiates with Blood and agrees to pay 26,000 cards to get the manteion back, over a short period of time. Blood expects Silk to rob other houses to get the money, but since Silk cannot walk well Blood agrees to let Crane check Silk on Sphigxday and continue to treat him. Silk will be required to exorcise Orchid's (a brothel), which has been troubled by "demons." Silk is driven home by driver of Blood's. Musk visits a bird he is training.

(to be continued)

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