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From: Scott Dalrymple <ScottD@wycol.com>
Subject: (urth) Nessus
Date: Mon, 14 Apr 1997 08:44:01 

[Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other works]

I'm very interested in the Nessus as Buenos Aires vs. Alexandria
discussion.  It seems to me that Alexandria, while intriguing symbolically,
can't be true literally, for the simple reason that the Library at
Alexandria doesn't exist today-- therefore how can it exist a million years
from now (absent some shenanigans by Jonas and the Green Man, which I'm as
yet unwilling to entertain)?  I also don't have the passages at hand, but I
remember many clues to suggest that South America was the correct
continent.  As for plate tectonics, it is possible, but given the strength
of the folklore in Severian's world (as well as Wolfe's penchant for
leaving fair clues, however small), I'd expect that during his travels
Severian would learn something of such a cataclysmic event.

And, regarding Vodalus's assertion that Urth has flipped on her axis, would
that matter?  To someone like Severian, wouldn't the world appear to be the
same?  He'd still be traveling toward Urth's belly to reach the tropical
regions.  After all, North and South, while tied to poles, are somewhat
arbitrary constructs, aren't they?  Why couldn't we depict the world with
the South Pole on "top"?  Maybe we've got the whole universe upside-down.

Scott Dalrymple

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