January 19th, 2002

Wonderfalls Flamingos

The Revolutionary

In Shadow of the Torturor, Gene Wolfe writes about one of the ancient relics of the Torturors' Guild called the Revolutionary. It "channels lightning," and upon feeling the electricity coursing through your body, it is as if a demon stands in front of you, your worst fear, to strike you down. And then it is over. When the only release your body can cry out for is the sweet release of death, it is denied you.

Severian (the protagonist,a journeyman torturor), slips a kitchen knife to a client that he has come to befriend, for her sentence is death by the Revolutionary. She kills herself. As punishment, many of the torturors wish Severian to die as painfully as possible- the Revolutionary being their chief method. He is not put to the Revolutionary- he is instead asked to leave the guild as a dignitary to the City of Windowless Walls, Thrax. He will be their torturor.