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From: "Roy C. Lackey" <rclackey@stic.net>
Subject: (urth) Re: How Big the fountain
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 02:09:57 

On Mon,  5 Apr 99 17:11:00 GMT mantis wrote:

>>In my reading, the possible paradox would be whether or not the white
fountain exists, not "if it exists then why can't it be seen from

Because it can be seen from Urth.  It just isn't as impressive as a
full moon or a hot air balloon.<<

<snip> and:

>>The "solar twin" (with a diameter like that of the Sun) cannot be
seen without a telescope, yet it is only 80 light years away.<<

<snip> and:

>>Even in the 20th century, with advanced optical telescopes and radio
telescopes, etc.,  our knowledge of our stellar neighborhood is
limited to 16 or 20 light years.  Beyond 20 light years things get
progressively more fuzzy, spotty.  It is much easier to see the big
stars--our nearest solar twin is out there, lost to naked eye at 80
light years.<<

    All true. But Sev, at least, can see his "star", his "white fountain" as
far back in time as when Typhon and Ymar were alive. See the last line of
chapter  XXXV, _Urth_:

"Before we walked into the darkness beneath the trees, I looked up and
beheld myself through their frost-blighted leaves."

    This implies that Sev's "star" should have been visible to the naked eye
for however many millennia had passed between Typhon's reign and Sev's,
presumably getting brighter, to some degree, all the while. That's why I
said what I did about time-travel paradoxes; they're unavoidable. Not to
mention why the "fountain" should have been one of the three emblems on
Sev's mausoleum, ancient when Sev was just a boy.

    This only serves to show that the Physics can not be reconciled with the
Fiction. For time-travel stories it just comes with the territory. In a
similar vein, someone(s) tried to deduce the dimensions of the Whorl from
distances given in the text and the laws of physics as applied to the
motions of "floaters" and such. IIRC, they couldn't be reconciled either.
Nor, IMO, should Wolfe be criticized for it; he made the Whorl exactly as
large as it needed to be to hold his story, and no smaller.


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

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