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From: "Mark Millman" <Mark_Millman@hmco.com>
Subject: Re: (urth) Relative & Absolute
Date: Wed, 2 Sep 1998 09:12:37 

On 2 September 1998, Christopher R. Culver <crculver@aol.com> wrote:

> Mantis said:
> <we know that O is a machine
> raising the child-like (if not ac
> tually juvenile) B&F>
> The fact that Barbatus and Famulimus are
> consistently child-like puzzles me.  If the
> Hierodules have notoriously short lifetimes,
> how do we account for the perpetual youth
> of B&F?

Just off the top of my head, I can offer the following possibilities:

1.  They're not human, despite their appearance, and so humans don't look
for the right signs of aging in them, assuming there even are visible
physical changes.  A related possibility is that they simply don't outlive
their youth--they are physically young right up until they die, as is true
of many species of animals, and don't have a senescent stage in their

2.  Their lifespans being so short, they don't have time to develop "old
attitudes", causing them to seem child-like to humans for their entire

3.  They only do the traveling and field-work that we associate with them
during their actual, physical years of youth (regardless of how long they
in fact live).  They're seen only briefly at any given time (i.e., they
don't seem to spend even months, much less years--Father Inire
excepted--with Severian or Baldanders), and their continual reappearances
could, to them, seem close in time due to the effects of traveling on the
ship Tzadkiel (taking into account both relativistic time dilation and
"time travel" as such.  So this period of their lives could be analogous to
the schooling of human children, with their visits to Severian (or
whomever) corresponding to the exams.

4.  They do only live twenty years--in the form in which we know them.  As
they were crafted by the Hierogrammates, the Hierodules, whether of one
species or many, may have a larval stage, and Famulimus could parallel
Apheta (though on different planes of existence).  Thus their lives would
literally end, and new ones begin, and during the lives in which humans
know them, they would always be, in the most exact way, children.

Any other ideas out there?

Mark Millman

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

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