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From: Dan Parmenter <dan@lec.com>
Subject: (urth) Severian: His Memory
Date: Fri, 18 Dec 1998 13:35:56 

From: Michael Straight <straight@email.unc.edu>

>That's the thing.  If he didn't go on about his perfect memory so much, we
>might cut him some slack.  But as it is, if Severian is so perfect, what
>alternative do we have but to call him a liar?
>However, I rather like the idea of a narrator who tells us he's got a
>perfect memory, but who really doesn't.  
>I remember on my first read thinking Severian's memory was just a cheap
>trick to justify a memoir having such great detail.  Now I wonder if maybe
>his constantly going on about it might be an attempt to convince himself
>of his own perfection.

I have often favored the idea that his memory *is* perfect and that
the imperfectly-recalled details may be reflective of the multiple
timelines/Severians floating about.  Remember, the non-New Sun
Severian did become a walker in the corridors of time.  Isn't it
possible that his return to Urth (before Severian1's time) subtly
altered the timestream in certain ways?  In other words, he really
would have a perfect memory if there were only one timeline, but since
we know there are multiple timelines, this may result in some "version
control" problems.  Severian can be thought of as a combination of the
hero of "By His Bootstraps" (Heinlein) crossed with Borges' Funes.

Among other things :-)


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

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