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From: m.driussi@genie.com
Subject: (urth) Meanwhile, back on Urth
Date: Fri, 12 Jun 98 04:03:00 GMT

Spectacled Bear,

Did alga get huffy with you?  Well then you are extra
special--if not unique! <g>

Re: the sack of the Claw.  Hmm, yes, "leather" is "manskin"; or
rather, "manskin" is "leather."  And "doeskin" is "leather," too.
But only by an obvious joke can "manskin" be "doeskin."

("The manskin was made from the skin of a guy named John Doe.")

"Claw of the Conciliator. re: the sack it is carried in by Severian.
The text gives it as made of doeskin (III, chap. 1) and human skin
(III, chap. 21, last page).  This curious detail is seen in REALMS OF
FANTASY (1983) by Malcolm Edwards and Robert P. Holdstock as a
concrete example of how Wolfe uses careful signals to cast doubt upon
Severian's memory" ("LEXICON URTHUS:Additions, Errata, &cetera
(Volume I)," p. 7).

"Who (or what) is the intelligence in the depths of the mine at
Saltus?" (item number four in list "Mysteries of the Urth Cycle,"

My own guesses (in more or less chronological order)

1. Some obscure chthonic deity from Greco-Roman mythology, more to do
with "riches" (i.e., the "Pluto" of "plutocracy") than "the dead."
(This is more a category for further search rather than a specific
answer of a single individual.)

2. Arioch.  (Because he is named in the text but never placed in any
location.  Problem is that he is supposed to be in league with Erebus
and Abaia . . . well, he might have been "converted" along the way .
. . and Arioch of mythology doesn't seem to have a "chthonic"
association . . . beyond some bat wings, hmmm . . . )

3. Nazca.  (If you've seen the map in LEXICON URTHUS you know that
some real estate has been added to the Pacific Rim.  On our Earth
this region is part of the Nazca Plate.  The situation on Urth might
be more drastic than the LU map suggests--the whole continent the
Commonwealth is on might be a raised Nazca.

(The text talks of the "roots of the continent."  With such
terraforming feats as Verthandi, Skuld, and Lune, not to mention
stellaforming stunts like the dying sun and the New Sun, I find
continent lifting to be rather simple in comparison.  In our
non-technical, 20th century terms, I imagined a sort of hydrolic jack
at the roots of the continent, lifting it up against "Nature"; this
jack and its titanic servator, a throwback to Morningstar of JACK OF
SHADOWS, no doubt, are both "Nazca," a sort of Atlas of the
Commonwealth's continent.)

(Why raise continents?  I dunno.  But the text says that all the
topsoil runs off into the sea [hmm, maybe that's just "Seven American
Nights" I'm thinking of right there], all the metals are at the
bottom of the oceans, and so on.  So raising a new continent would be
like getting a fresh new world to start on, and any continents that sank
as a result of raising the new one would become renewed by the dip in
the sea, just like Aphrodite.)

4. One of the thinking engines in Cyriaca's story about the founding
of the Library of Nessus.

Or some combination of the above.

As with many mysteries of the text . . .


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

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