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From: m.driussi@genie.geis.com
Subject: (urth) Jonas & Hethor
Date: Wed, 18 Mar 98 06:28:00 GMT

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

Reply:  Item #3591065 from URTH@LISTS.BEST.COM@INET02#

Tony Elis,

You're right, of course--I'm making the whole thing up.

There's so much tangled here, I hardly know where to start.  Belabor
the obvious?  Shorthand a detail covered in an essay somewhere?

Is it understood that certain prisoners are n-th generation ship
crew?  Is this unclear?  The death of "the navigator," (II, ch. 16)
yes?  Why would an entire crew be wandering around the Gardens of the
House Absolute together?  Is there such a thing as "simple unconnected
coincidence" within the elaborate labyrinth of a Wolfe fiction?  We
have ancient mariners, we have prisoners descended from sailors . . .

(How many old men poling on the Lake of Birds?  You don't suppose
that was the =same= old man on hand after Severian's near drowning
[I, ch. 2], asking about seeing a woman underwater?)

Is it understood that both Jonas and Hethor are sailors of great age?

Is it understood that Hethor is being very crafty in keeping Jonas
from seeing him, even when the two characters are seemingly in the
same scene?  For instance, at the Wall of Nessus. That if Jonas were
to see Hethor he would be able to blurt out the terrible secret?
Even Severian (one time, that means "penultimate level hint"; because
the ultimate level hints are =things not shown yet sensed by their
absence=) notices this avoidance, and wonders =if they served on the
same ship= (III, ch. 16).

Is it understood that Hethor has spent time on starship Tzadkiel?
(IV, ch. 4).  That the most likely source of Hethor's magic mirrors
is that he stole them from Yesod, making him a sort of Prometheus?

Is there any real doubt that "Fortunate Cloud" and "Quasar" are
different translations of the same anciently named ship?  (The 20th
century term "quasar" is for a quasi-stellar object, i.e., somewhat
"cloudlike"--and at least one quasar has been clocked moving away
from Earth at a very interesting 94.4% of the speed of light
[Emiliani, THE SCIENTIFIC COMPANION, p. 90].)  The principle here
(multiple names) is exactly that of "canna" in THE BOOK OF THE LONG
SUN as "the least revealing name for a PM [propulsion module]" (IV,
ch. 12). Those coincidences just keep on piling up.

Is it understood that Hethor's real name is "a much older one, that
hardly anyone has heard of now" (III, ch. 16)?  How many ancient
names in TBOTNS fit that specification?  Does Severian draw a blank
at "Robert," "Marie," or "Isangoma"?  Nope.  How about "Catherine"?
Nope.  Confusion on "Urvasi" or "Pururavas" (I, ch. 19)?  It seems
not.  Does he draw a blank on "kimleesoong"?  Yep.

Re: the Shepherd of Jonas.  Rather than argue, let me turn the tables
and praise you for your brilliant conceit: yes, of =course= the
stricken man-on-the-ground was a =soldier= . . . hence =Miles=!

But nah, I can go to all this effort and more, with the same results.
You won't believe my reading and I'm not interested in forcing you or
anybody else to believe my reading.

You're right, of course--I'm making the whole thing up.


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

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