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From: m.driussi@genie.com
Subject: (urth) Relative & Absolute
Date: Tue,  1 Sep 98 16:42:00 GMT

Tony A. West,

Interesting point regarding the two "first" meetings of Severian and
OB&F on ship Tzadkiel (chapters 4 and 26 of URTH).

Here are some observations:

In the meeting of ch. 4, only Severian says it is the first time.
Severian asks, "You have not met me before?" and F answers, "Though
we do not know you [as a friend], yet you know us [as friends]."  So
they allow Severian to rattle off his theory unchallenged, or they
think their oblique oracular statements set him straight, if this
editorially enhanced reading of F's phrase is correct.

In the meeting of ch. 26, OB&F had been sent by Tzadkiel to escort
Severian to the place of parting, the hall of weeping masks.
(Imagine their surprise that he had found his own way there!)
Severian only sees B&F; Ossipago is offstage (unleashing the dogs,
heh).  This might be critically important, since in ch. 4 we are told
that O is the one with good memory; and we know that O is a machine
raising the child-like (if not actually juvenile) B&F, so it might be
that for all their angelic beauty and oracular talking, B&F are as
scatter-brained as little kids sent to the market to buy something
for mom.  That is, they might not remember meeting Severian before,
without their "auxiliary brain" there to remind them.

Okay.  We are back to trying to piece together the subjective
timeline of OB&F.

1) They get their mission in Yesod (outside of time or in reverse
time) after Severian passes the test.

2) They get onboard the Ship (itself going in and out of time) by
foot or by teleport.  They see Severian twice, either ch. 4 first or
ch. 26 first.  (I'm leaning toward ch. 26, myself.)

3) They land on Urth at the beginning of Severian's Reign and hang
out with him for ten years (forward time), until he gets onto the
tender that will take him to the Ship.

4) They continue their mission by flying their time rover saucer back
in time.  They mess with Baldanders by moving either forward or
backward--that is, maybe they skip back one hundred years and then
hop ahead by decades, watching Baldanders's progress and egging him
on; or they do it backwards, giving him nothing on the first for
them/last for him visit, then giving him presents on subsequent
visits (and straining causality for us monkey brains).

5) They travel further back, to the era during which the light of the
white fountain first reaches Urth.  In this stage at least we know
that they "pass themselves" at one point--since they are also on the
Ship slowing down circa Typhon's Era, slowing down so the tender can
pick up Severian and Gunnie.  (And they find Severian in the
tomb--very surprised!)

Note that the tender itself burns up time in slowing down--thus the
drop off point must be decades, perhaps centuries before the landing
time.  So Ship drops off Severian at 100 years before the Revolt
against Typhon; then Ship burns up more time in Briah space (scooting
around at sublight speed eats up compressed time) before dropping
OB&F at 100 years before the Reign of Severian.  The respective
tenders (Age of Monarch, Age of Autarch) decompress time across space
as they decellerate from near light speed and bring the passengers to
the landing zones--right on time!


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

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