FIND in
<--prev V8 next-->

From: C R Culver <CRCulver@aol.com>
Subject: (urth) Kimleesoong and the Dating of the Autarchy
Date: Thu, 12 Mar 1998 16:55:56 EST

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

Fellow Urthers:

There has often been talk on this list of how far in the future the
Commonwealth of Severian's time is. I was perplexed, however, at the personage
of Kimleesoong (Kim Lee Soong) that Jonas mentions in the antechamber of the
House Absolute. Jonas says that he is seven generations removed from the
current generation. Unless the prisoners there were extremely long-lived, this
would place him after the reign of Ymar and Typhon. We saw in UotNS that the
days of Ymar and Typhon are far removed from ours, and there are no names
reminescent of modern times like the obviously Korean name of Kim Lee Soong.
(Jonas also mentions that Korea has been under the ocean for ages).
How do we solve this problem, where a man from our time is present in a future
perhaps 1 million years away? Here are my hypotheses:

1) the Antechamber is somehow connected to the Corridors of Time, and our
Korean man stumbled upon them. This is possible, but I am not sure it

2) Kim Lee Soong was a sailor just a Jonas was, from a few decades or
centuries after our time, who came back to Urth millions of years after his
time, and was then imprisoned. Indeed, Jonas appears to be in much the same
circumstances, considering that, feverish, he babbled in Korean in the
antechamber (Korean is a nasal, monosyllabic language. I am sure it was Korean
and not Chinese, because Severian does not speak of tones). Strangely, this is
the only place I can find where Jonas is culturally identified. Severian never
seems to remark on any Asiatic features with Jonas, however. This is the
possibility I most strongly support.

3) The Urth of the Autarchy is not so far in the future as we suspect, a
possibility I will, however, reject. 

What do you all think?

Christopher R. Culver <crculver@aol.com>

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

<--prev V8 next-->