FIND in
<--prev V4 next-->

From: m.driussi@genie.com
Subject: (urth) Little girl
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 97 15:16:00 GMT

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

Reply:  Item #9797840 from URTH@LISTS.BEST.COM@INET01#


Gene Wolfe is very cagey about those n-th generation prisoners of the
antechamber, the ones Jonas talks to and then kind of flips out
because of.  (Severian is chatted up by relative newcomers Lomer the
pedophile (who also appears in "The Cat") and Nicarete the

The n-th generation prisoners seem to be from a starship crew--one
of the few clues: the girl says that people in black came to bury
"the navigator."  They have strange ideas about the outside natural
world, e.g. bees and honey, which might be enhanced by their starship
origins. Since prisoners in the antechamber are people detained for
trespassing or lawbreaking on the grounds of the House Absolute, their
ship may have landed or crashed nearby.

When Jonas starts raving, in his mind he is back on a starship.  We know
that Jonas was in a starship that crashed on Urth and he has been
wandering around ever since.  Is his mental breakdown due to the fact
that he has just met the prisoner descendants of his former
crewmates?  That having achieved his goal of being reunited with his
former crewmates, he finds them changed and in prison, so his dream
is dead?  (I use this last phrase to note that the oracular brown book
story relates to Jonas as well as Severian--the story Severian reads
aloud is "The Tale of the Student and His Son."  After hearing this
tale, Jonas seems to get a grip on himself--in hindsight we can guess
that he has recovered from the ruins of his old dream by refocusing on
his newer dream of Jolenta.  Which is why he is ready to step into the
mirrors when he does.)

The real trigger seems to have been the name of their earliest
ancestor: Kimleesoong.  Jonas seems to have known this person, whose
name was common in lands that have since sunk under the sea.  So the
n-th generation prisoners might also have garbled Asian names, or
they might have job titles as names.

What crime did they commit?  Because they probably did something.
Maybe just landing on the gardens.  Or maybe they were the Adam and Eve
colonists at the dawn of the Age of the Autarch (see "Eschatology and
Genesis"): landed in the "Garden," taken prisoner--the seed entombed.


<--prev V4 next-->