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From: "Roy C. Lackey" <rclackey@stic.net>
Subject: (urth) Paradoxes
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 01:02:56 

Tony Ellis wrote:

>>But the "original" author is Severian himself. He's the one who actually
witnesses the end of Urth and lives to write about it. Sev witnesses
Urth's last day, Sev writes about it, Sev presumably casts his narrative
into the seas of Time. (I say "presumably" because I can't remember if
he ever actually says he is going to do this or not - but surely the
implication is there.) If you can accept that Severian's narrative
constitutes, either wholly or in part, the "lost" Book of the New Sun on
which Dr Talos says his play is based, rather than Canog's text, then no
paradox exists.<<

    But that is precisely where the paradox occurs. That chapter, chapter
XXXVII, is titled "The Book of the New Sun". The title implies, if anything,
that Canog is the author of _TBotNS_. Either way, it is still a paradox
because when Sev tells the story in his cell he has not yet witnessed Urth's
destruction, which is still in his and Urth's future, which is why he has to
rely on Dr. Talos's play for the information he relates.
    Regardless of who put pen to paper when--Sev, Dr. Talos, Canog, or
another--none of them originated the story. I've read _The Anubis Gates_,
"By His Bootstraps" and countless other time-travel stories, as have we all.
Time-travel stories inevitably involve paradoxes; there's just no way around
it. If they don't, that's just because the author hasn't pushed the logical
consequences far enough. When someone goes into the future and "steals"
something--a book, idea, invention, whatever--then brings it back and uses
it, that person is not it's originator, and whomever it was stolen from then
can not/will not originate it. Thus we have uncreated creations. Effects
without causes.
    Which brings me to Dr. Talos again. He is several times mentioned as
tinkering with the script of the play to accommodate his circumstances. When
he does so is he changing history/destiny?


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

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