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From: "Alice Turner" <al@interport.net>
Subject: (urth) Jonas & Hethor & Thecla
Date: Tue, 24 Mar 1998 08:51:44 

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

Quotes from C. Culver and Tony Ellis

> Oh, I don't think anyone is arguing that KLS's name is not Korean, but
>believes the language of *Jonas* is not Korean.

>The passage in Conciliator (Chapter X) where Jonas apparently
>tells Severian something of his origins is interesting. He says
>that his father was a craftsman, talks of having two parents,
>and of his home being a seacoast town.

>Presumably his "craftsman" father was the engineer who built
>him. But two parents? Who was the other? Another
>engineer perhaps, or maybe this is an oblique reference to
>the machinery with which he was made. Another possibility
>is that two android parents can build a child, as they do
>in the Long Sun books.
>My point is, Jonas could be sticking very closely to the truth,
>in which case we could assume that the southern seacost home
>story is also as good as true. It's another argument against
>Jonas being\speaking Asian, basically. He could have
>picked up such a language later in life, of course, but I still
>have faith in my computer-speak theory.

I've just reread Concilliator, chapters XIII-XVII (, the notules, the
anteroom, the escape and Jonas's disappearence into the mirrors. And I think
that wherever Jonas grew up, it was not on Urth, though it may have been on
Earth (he knows "Alice" and the Theseus story, though this could simply
point to a good ship's library).  Every time he refers to Urth, it is as a
port, not as his home. Nor do I think he is Korean, though he may be able to
speak it when he is reminded of KLS (Wolfe probably speaks some himself,
from his own time in Korea).

There are parts in the books when Urth does seem to be our Earth grown
ancient--for example when it is noted that the planets have been renamed
because it seemed unseemly that the red one was named for war. Or at the
Robert and Marie exhibit. But if this were so, Inire's mirrors would be
time-travel devices if Jonas were to get to his goal, and they seem instead
to be to be gates to another place (yes, I know how trite the "parallel
universe" thing sounds, but really, what else?) Robert and Marie, too, could
have come from that place. Hethor's beasts seem to come from yet another
place, but that could certainly be from somewhere in Yesod.

Jonas is entirely familiar with what the mirrors do, so he must have used
them before.

On another subject, It has always bothered me that Severian seems to take
for granted that his relationship with the inner Thecla is unique. But the
alzabo drug would be expected to cause a similar effect in everyone who ate
that meal. Moreover, Vodalus & Co. have done this before, with other
corpses. I suppose that one could explain this by saying that the alzabo
effect is ordinarily powerful but temporary ("a fellow mortal who will live
again--strongly, for a time--in us")---like an LSD experience, say---but
that the presence of the Claw, or something in his heritage, somehow
imprints Thecla on Sev in a unique way. Nevertheless, this isn't explained,
and it's weird to think of a couple of dozen or so people all experiencing
Thecla the way Sev does.


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

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