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From: Michael Andre-Driussi <mantis@sirius.com>
Subject: (urth) Ascians and Ava
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 14:04:22 

Not so long ago there was talk of how Wolfe "goes Orwell" in the language
of the Ascians; and how Wolfe then goes beyond that by strongly suggesting
(via translation) that the Ascians get around such rigid mind control and
tell stories (i.e., they use language for the "frivilous" reasons rejected
by the First Empire, for which the Empire =perhaps= was doomed); that is to
say, the Ascians are human, too.

At around the same area of the text, there is the discussion between
Severian and postulant Ava. Ava talks about how the pelerines even heal
butterflies, etc. . . . yet they don't consider the Ascians human. IIRC.

This comes as something of a surprise to Severian (and I assume to the
first time reader, too). And Severian, a torturer-in-recovery, knows that
they are human: so this is some kind of sign that Severian has spiritually
evolved, etc.

We can side with Ava, and think "Godless communist Ascians are something
less than human."

Or we can side with Severian, that the Ascians are human, and cannot be
killed in the guilt-free manner that butchers kill cattle or dwarves kill

But there's a harsher side to the whole exchange.  Because even though
neither one knows it, the Conciliator has returned to the Order founded in
his name, upon his relic, and he has found it quite in error.  And the next
thing you know, <SHAZAM!> the order has been destroyed on the battlefield,
never to rise again.

Just a coincidence?


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

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