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From: Dan Rabin <danrabin@A.crl.com>
Subject: (urth) Apu-Punchau's eclipse
Date: Sun, 18 May 1997 15:59:43 

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

Joel Priddy (`cephalothorax') ponders Apu-Punchau's eclipse, coming up with
two solutions, one involving Severian bending time, the other involving the
ship _Tzadkiel_ reflecting the wrong part of the sky.

I think it's much simpler.  The ship is large and opaque, and passes
between the sun and the stone town for a while at and after sunrise, then
leaves.  By the time the sun is revealed, stars that are normally obscured
by daylight at that season are visible (which is how the townspeople know
that the night has been prolonged).

This seems to me to be the explanation that Wolfe hints at:`the passage of
some opaque body between the Old Sun and Urth' (_The Urth of the New Sun_,
p. 371).

It's interesting that the event is miraculous from the point of view of the
townspeople (regular astronomical events have been perturbed) but is
explicable in terms of plausible physics (the interposition of the ship).
The ship, however, is run by divine beings who are acquainted with
Severian's special role, so we're back to miracles again!

  -- Dan Rabin

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