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> At no point does the gc tag method get called for any of the
> selections created in lua, even when the state is closed.

This seems rather strange. When you close a state, the gc tag methods for
all elements are called.

> Why is garbage collection not working for me?  Am I doing something
> fundamentally wrong here?

It can be just some detail wrong. Does your userdata have the correct tag?
Are you setting the gc tag method correctly? Is it working without errors?
(an error in a gc tag-method handler can have bad consequences...)

-- Roberto