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From: David Wells <adw@ovum.com>
Subject: (urth) Alien invaders of Urth?
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 1997 14:18:00 +0000

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


>As usual, or perhaps moreso, none of these points are unarguable.
>(Which makes me wonder why I bother putting them up.

I think they're very interesting, and thanks for posting them.
Not that this will prevent me from arguing, just a little :-).

>Exultants as offworld invaders:
>-- Jonas says they are new (II, ch. 10).

True. I guess I had assumed the exultants to be a genetically
"improved" aristocracy, rather than offworlders. Which would also
fit with Jonas' remark, and explain why they are taller than armigers.
But this certainly isn't conclusive and doesn't explain

>-- Thecla born under zodiac sign of Swan (IV, ch 23), not possible on
>Urth/Earth, but possible in a different star system.

at all. Exultants' access to superior technology I had put down to a
simple class matter - just as fin-de-siecle English aristocracy had
"access to" petrol-driven vehicles while the working classes "had not"
(and also tended to be taller and healthier).
But we British tend to be obsessed with class.

As for Typhon,

>"I have told you that I was autarch on many worlds . . . This
>world, the most ancient of all, I made my capital."

is suggestive but (as you admit), not conclusive. Typhon's
comment that

>"those to whom I had given control of such ships as could reach
>the stars had fled in them"

is fascinating in the light of BOtLS. We get the impression from
III Chs 25, 26 that Typhon's Piaton-transplant is relatively recent,
(an experiment still in progress) which suggests that the Whorl left
Urth shortly before the Conciliator arrived and Typhon was
abandoned behind his curtain to die. So did the Whorl set sail
_after_ Typhon's generals had fled in his starships? This suggests
that its despatch was a bit of an emergency measure, rather than
being carefully-planned..?

Having reread these passages, I am struck by an ambiguity which
I hadn't noticed before. I had always assumed that Severian/the
New Sun unwittingly resurrected Typhon - particularly ironic as
this comes between two failed resurrections which Severian
actually wanted to achieve. But I now note that Severian doesn't
seem to touch Typhon at all (although it's not, admittedly,
completely clear whether this is necessary for "the Claw" to
operate). But he does fiddle with the machinery. So is Typhon
resurrected by natural rather than supernatural means?

David W/newt

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