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From: Peter Westlake <peter@harlequin.co.uk>
Subject: Re: (urth) Saltus Mine Deep One
Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 17:01:04 +0100

Disagreeing with so learned a one as mantis is a perilous
undertaking, especially for a bear. However, needs must.

At 17:54 1998-06-14 GMT, mantis wrote:
>It is good to step back and recall that the reason why we continue to
>turn this one over (and why alga waxes huffy against Wolfe, showing
>that he is both extra special and unique <g>) is that Severian
>basically says, IIRC, yeah, I didn't know the name of that critter
>then but I do (or I think I do) now.  Which makes it into a clear
>riddle for the reader, suggesting that we've been given enough clues
>to figure it out.

Agreed. To be precise:

"What creature it was we had called from the roots of the continent
I think I now know."

>The central answer, then, is a specific name (what, again?! <g>).

Nothing about a name there. There is the grinding sound, which does
suggest that the thing is freeing itself from long imprisonment in
the rock, perhaps. Then the footsteps:

"From far below I heard a step that might have been the walking of
a tower on the Final Day, when it is said all the cities of Urth
will stride forth to meet the dawn of the New Sun."

Now there isn't much about towers walking elsewhere in the book
(reasonably enough!) so the occurrence of it in Citadel is the Clue
that mantis suggests must exist. It even reads like one:

"Far behind it loomed a machine that flashed fire, a machine that
was like a tower walking."

It's hard to see how it could be much more explicit than this.
I was really quite surprised to find a reference on the next
page but one:

"I opened my mouth to cry for help, then closed it again,
thinking I might call upon myself something more terrible
than that I had once waked in the mine of the man-apes."

>For all we know, it might be "Abaddon," the angel guarding the pit of
>hell (if "Abaddon" <> subspace and "Abaddon" <> planet Mercury!).

a) see above

b) would Severian fear something "more terrible" than the angel
   of hell turning up on the battlefield?

c) *all* large living creatures on Urth have to live in the water.
   So it must be a machine.


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

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