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From: m.driussi@genie.com
Subject: (urth) Re: Digest urth.v001.n0
Date: Fri, 18 Apr 97 17:24:00 GMT

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

Reply:  Item #3759208 from URTH@LISTS.BEST.COM@INET#

(Q&D count down: 11 remaining)

Raster makes some good points.  The question, as he interprets it,
becomes one of comparing and contrasting the outer most narrative
frame tales of TBOTNS and URTH.

In TBOTNS, the frame tale is that this story is all written, ala
Gravius Cladius <g>, in the wee hours of autarchial free time; the
entire story is hologrammically contained in the first chapter--the
beginning and ending are given, what remains to be seen over the
course of the remaining four volumes is the seemingly miraculous process
that allows such a humble beginning and lofty ending to be possible.
>From time to time Severian reminds us that he is sitting there, writing
it out in vermilion ink, etc.; and mentions daily happenings at the
court that tie back into the narrative thread. Then there is the
translator's frame tale, rather like Tolkien's trick of claiming to be
translating THE RED BOOK OF WESTMARCH, which provides a rationale on how
said manuscript made it to Earth.

OTOH, URTH is not structured as a memoir, nor does it have a
translator's frame tale; it has a more conventional, action novel
structure, which is handy for a number of reasons.  (For one: it
would really reduce the impact of the pyramid scene late in the book
if Severian imitated the first chapter of TBOTNS and started URTH
with, " . . . and so I became a god.  Not bad for a dead man.")
Where URTH is being written remains vague--a bower of trees.  How it
is being "written," what is going on around Severian as the writing
is taking place, how the manuscript is getting to Earth ("Gridley
Wave," perhaps? <g>), etc., are all ignored by the text.

As a result, where TBOTNS is looking backwards, URTH is looking ahead.


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