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From: Michael Andre-Driussi <mantis@sirius.com>
Subject: (urth) fairies, meteors, time travel
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 10:40:38 

Re: Yesod, the "fairie" mode often works better than the "angel/devil" mode
(of course, it all depends upon the application: if the essay is about a
=religious= reading, then it really should not be expected to focus upon
the fairie or ufo reading).  People generally seem to sense the scary side
of fairies and/or ufos (when was the last time any ufos did anything
benevolent?) and while in that mode can usually avoid the religious
good/evil spaghetti mess.

Mass extinctions do happen.  We think a big meteor killed off the dinosaurs
(was it just an accident?  Freud says there are no accidents <g>).  The
death of their world allowed the tree shrew critter to grow and fill vacant
niches. And humans evolved from there. "Nature" doesn't seem to care, just
so long as there is life; "Nature" has/allows all sorts of cruelties.  So
the argument could be made that what is being saved on Urth, since it
obviously isn't all the people, is the ability for life to exist there at
all--it is all being done for "Nature."  (This could be the "What's in it
for Urth" side of the bargain.) Of course, there is a breed of fringe
environmentalists depicted in the popular media, people who supposedly
believe that "Nature" would be best served by the eradication of all human
life.  What I'm suggesting here is something closer to that than is usually
discussed with regard to the Urth Cycle (closer, but not entirely).  This
is what I was trying to convey with the "people are krill" statement--we
could also say "people are leaves on the tree, with the deluge as the short
winter, but the ragnarok winter is unending"; yet that leads to trouble
that the krill analogy avoids.

Likewise, there are some people who might believe that if humans only lost
their human brains and lived like animals, that would solve the trouble
humans put on "Nature."  If the text supported this view, Severian would
have just become a zoantrop.

Different tangent: the notion of fixing everything through increased time
travel and meddling.  This seems to be the "Groundhog Day" mode, where the
traveler just keeps going through the same thing over and over until he
gains enlightenment and is allowed out of the loop.  Rather like a video
game, where there is one true path.  In contrast to the "Back to the
Future" mode, where the traveler just barely manages to get through the
time maze by the skin of his teeth; where the traveler understands that in
his universe time travel creates new problems, unexpected variables, each
time; success, however messy, is hard-won, "barely made it" success, and
not something to be gambled over in some "double or nothing" crap shoot.

With regard to time travel, hey, somebody probably mentioned this resource
before, but here:


If people =really= want to get into the time travel mess, it would be very
helpful if everybody would use the same vocabulary, starting from the same
foundation.  Plus it is a neat site all on its own.


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

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