The Hour of the Sheep

Publication(s)

Summary

Tiero of Trin, a celebrated duelist with high-tech "swords," goes looking for trouble in a bad quarter of his city in order to add real street-fighting examples to his new book.

Analysis

  • The five animal-named hours (Hour of the Sheep, Lion, Tiger, Bull, and Wolf) seem directly derived from Jeff Cooper's color coded levels of combat readiness. Sheep = White, Lion = Yellow, Tiger = Orange, Bull = Red, Wolf = Black (the fifth color is from the U.S. Marine Corps' color system -- it is omitted from Cooper's system).
  • Tiero was caught in the Hour of the Sheep because of his lack of awareness that the woman he picked up had a jealous husband. She lied in pretending to be unmarried.
  • The idea of a character looking for trouble and only finding it when he is no longer expecting it is reminiscent of O. Henry's The Cop and the Anthem.
  • The mixture of high and low tech, the azoth-like swords with a "demon" button to control them, and the writing with quill pens makes it possible that this story is set on Blue in The Book of the Short Sun. The place has a moon, so it cannot be the Whorl.
  • There is a hint of a dictatorship, because books that please the "President-Protector" will be published eagerly. The title "President Protector" was given to the governor of Texas when it was under Spanish rule; he was given absolute power.
  • There is a confessional book called "The Hour of the Wolf, the Hour of the Sheep" written by a psychiatrist named Amílcar Lobo, who assisted in the torture of political prisoners for the Brazilian dictatorship in the early 1970's. Reference CALE-SE, The Chalice of Silence by Lúcia Villela.
  • It appears that only upper-class people are allowed weapons like azoths. In his book Tiero writes of facing opponents armed with clubs. He only got into real trouble when he crossed someone of his own class.

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