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From: m.driussi@genie.com
Subject: (urth) Cenotaph, Warp, Cast
Date: Sat, 11 Jul 98 18:08:00 GMT


As I pointed out, Severian has =just seen his cenotaph=, so he knows
that something is afoot.  Something rotten in the state of Denmark,
er, the Commonwealth.  OTOH, he seems to assume that only the 100
days he has experienced subjectively have passed in the objective
universe, so he would figure that Valeria is not dead of old age, but
he might worry for her safety as a prisoner of the warlord Agia,
Baldanders, Loyal to the Group of Seventeen, or whoever else might
have staged a coup, if there was a coup.

All he knows consciously is that he has been officially presumed
and declared dead, which is by itself a very bad omen.

Re: Severian not knowing the ship was traveling through time.  Huh.
So all that talk about the centuries washing against the hull (even
mentioned in TBOTNS, iirc) was just poetry that he didn't really
believe?  I thought the part he didn't grasp at first was that he
would see people on the ship from the subjective past and subjective
future(s): the "time warping" aspect of the ship ducking in and out
of hyperspace.  That he could meet O, B, and F on the ship for the
first/last time; that there could be two Burgundofaras; that there
might even be his successor to the Phoenix Throne on the ship (this
one didn't prove to be true).

Re: Clinton in China, and other mundane examples of 20th century
technology.  The problem here is that, with telecommunications and
all, Clinton doesn't have to have to name a "temporary president" to
govern while he's gone--and besides, the chain of command has been so
hammered out that there is a vice president, and speaker of the
house, and so on down to the janitor.  So if (when) Clinton has to
have surgery to remove the alien implants, what do you know!  For the
few hours when he is under general anesthesia there actually will be
a "temporary pres" in charge of the USA, running breathlessly to a
press meeting where (s)he will say, "I'm in charge!"

Which is why I was trying to use medieval and mythological models.
The universe is a big place, Horatio, and when you go to another one,
that's another big place, further still.

Your regentless and successorless Commonwealth of Severian's swift
silent abdication is sounding more and more fascinating.  Please
continue fleshing it out--I can't wait to see what happens!

(Valeria [weeping]: He said he was just going out for some ice cream,
but he never came back.

(Claviger General: Did he act strange in the weeks before his
disappearance, autarchia?  Engage in weird new hobbies, keep odd
hours, invite strangers over?

(Valeria: Well, there was that zero-gravity party . . . with the
human skulls floating around the room . . . and those other meetings
with all those wild people in their outlandish clothes, talking about
gobbledygook . . . I don't know, maybe I was wrong, but I just
laughed it off at the time.

(Claviger General: Autarchia, does your husband have a substance
abuse problem?  Analeptic alzabo addiction is treatable, if caught in
time . . .

(Valeria: Oh, I don't know!  He said--he said he was just
experimenting!  Why me?!

(C.G.: Don't take it personal, autarchia.  Some autarchs just can't
handle the pressure, the commitment of a relationship and a
Commonwealth.  So one day they just walk away, start a new life
somewhere else.)

Re: the mysterious lovely woman, yes this has been gone over time and
time again, but for some inexplicable reason (probably just that I
haven't written that essay, and might not ever!) the repetition
doesn't bother me yet: she (is/is like) the Contessa Carina.  From the
play "Eschatology & Genesis."  Re-read the play right now, you'll

Mechanics of hyperspace:

My model insists that time in Yesod travels in a direction opposite
that of Briah.  This is based upon the two universe model of
"Procreation" (ES), where it is explicit, and certain elements of

One URTH element is that the ship sails to Yesod, eating up time
in a big way (centuries against the hull).  They spend a day there,
and then this curious detail--rather than take the ship back, Sev and
Gunnie are teleported to Briah and picked up by the ship in passing.

Teleportation (even between universes) implies "simultaneous."  So
the simultaneous moment between Yesod and Briah is represented

Yet after a trivial bit of deceleration (which contains its own
apparent paradoxes, I'll be the first to admit, but I won't open that
tangential can whole of worms right now) they are dropped off on an
Urth a thousand years (or more, depending upon your model of
posthistory) in Severian's past (and who can say how it compares to
Gunnie's past).  Thus, one "day" in Yesod is about one thousand years
retrograde in Briah.

Which goes a long way toward explaning how ships/the Ship can ever
get back to Briah from Yesod--since the deceleration will always eat
up as much time as the acceleration, at best a ship/the Ship would be
skipping into the future at a period of (2 x acceleration time),
rather like the Last House.  (That is if we take "the end of the
universe" as being a spacial boundary dividing Briah/Yesod rather than
a temporal boundary signalling Grand Gnab.  If a temporal boundary,
then return to Briah becomes more or less impossible if Yesod time
isn't retrograde, and certainly much more difficult even if Yesod
time is retrograde.)

And since we see the Ship eclipsing the Sun in the Miracle of Apu
Punchau, we know that it can travel rather far into the past.  (Or,
alternate view: the Ship =is= just skipping forward in time, but it
has been doing so for a very long time, and the only way to go back
in time on the Ship is to teleport onto the closest convenient
timefrane ship and go forward from there.  Say there's a Ship at
1492, 1550, 1775--depending upon what you want to do, you send agents
to the Ship at the time nearest your goal.  So the Ship at Apu
Punchau time gets the trans-temporal tachyon message: "Occlude the
Sun over South America for a while."  And they do.)

(Convoluted.  I like the other way better.)


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

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