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From: Dan Parmenter <dan@lec.com>
Subject: (urth) Re: Digest urth.v008.n013
Date: Tue, 24 Mar 1998 10:26:47 

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

From: tony.ellis@futurenet.co.uk (Tony Ellis)

>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.

That was my initial strong impression as well.  The robot parents
argument doesn't seem outrageous either.  Wolfean robots seem to
concern themselves with keeping up appearances in order to not shock
and horrify people too much.

And on an unrelated note, has anyone yet compiled a list of known
inconsistencies in Severian's perfect memory?  I mentioned one
recently, the material of the claw's sack changing from "leather" to
"manskin" at some point (of course "manskin" would be a form of
leather, but more on that moentarily).  I don't have the specific
citation offhand, though I'll attempt to locate it.  What I *do* have
is another example:

Book 1, Chapter 9 "The House Azure"

"The person who admitted us wore thick-soled shoes and a yellow

Book 4, chapter 24 "The Flier"

"He was robed in saffron, as I had always seen him..."

Given the somewhat symmetrical construction of the series (at least
before UOTNS), it seems significant that this first (I believe)
mention of the robe having been saffron (which is of course a shade of
yellow, though "saffron robes" usually refers to the almost orange
color favored by Hare Krishnas, indeed, this is how many people refer
to such robes) occurs at Severian's final dealings with the Autarch,
which matches up nicely with the first mention, back when they were

What does it mean?  If Severian's memory is truly perfect, it might
suggest a parallel-but-not-that-different reality hypothesis wherein
each Severian has a perfect memory and it's the indivisual realities
themselves that vary.  At the symbolic/semiotic level, does the shift
from yellow to red reflect on the change in the sun?  Does the fact
that it's red mean that Severian is coming dangerously close to the
possible future of ice?  It's certainly a crisis point, where the
whole thing could have gone wrong and he could have ended up as that
other Severian buried in the Necropolis (who Severian tells us did in
fact go through most of this stuff and end up meeting the Autarch).
This is of course wild speculation.


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

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