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From: "Roy C. Lackey" <rclackey@stic.net>
Subject: Re: Re: (urth) Hollow men
Date: Mon, 3 May 1999 00:08:14 

William H. Ansley wrote:

>>One thing I would bet everyone agrees on, however, is that they are glad
this thread is over and done with. No such luck!<<

    Ah, you devil, you! I was going to let this thread die, however
ignominiously, but you have given me an excuse to revive it. Let me add that
I appreciate your making the effort to look at the evidence, and citing some
of it, rather than just dismissing it out of hand. The combined texts of
both our posts would be too long to quote the whole thing, so I will try to
confine it to the more relevant portions of yours.

And you'll have to add David Duffy to the list, since he wrote:
>I think Jonas is made of
>highly advanced light materials, but is not hollow.  The Ship of UotNS is
>not the only vehicle that has ever undertaken star travel (we have the
>Whorl as one counterexample)<<

    I did not mean to imply that Tzad's ship was the only interstellar or
even intergalactic ship. Of course there were others, and the Whorl was one
of them, as were the towers of the Citadel, but they were decidedly not the
same type as Tzad's ship. Tzad's ship was able to travel backwards and
forwards in time, as well as outside of time and even the universe. Sidero's
statement that there is only the one ship should be taken, I think, to mean
that it is the only one of its kind, able to travel as and where it does.

>    (A) Are Jonas's metal parts hollow?
Not really. The argument, as I understand it, is that you think Jonas was
originally an intelligent, powered, armored space suit (IPAS) android like
Sidero. If I say that Jonas was never able to contain and protect a human
being as Sidero (albeit unwilling) does Severian (I'll ask you to accept,
for the sake of argument, that Jonas would have agreed to do so) then it
doesn't matter if I say, "Well, Jonas could have had hollow parts, to save
weight perhaps." As long as I say Jonas was never an IPAS android, you will
say I'm wrong.<<

    No I won't. You might even be right. We are not given enough information
in the texts to establish the certitude of this or many, if not most, of the
other conclusions people have derived from Wolfe's works which are not
explicitly stated in the works. To take but one example out of many: Tony
has concluded, elsewhere, that the prisoner in the cell near V.R.T. is
V.R.T.'s mother. He may be right. But he can't *prove* it conclusively.
(That was a back-handed compliment, Tony, believe it or not. <g>)

>to be worn by the "mates". The mates come in all sizes, male and female.
>mentions *several* difficulties fitting himself inside Sidero (chapter IX),
>but never mind that.
No, let's mind it. You have referred to these difficulties several times as
if they are telling evidence for your assertion, but you have left out an
important piece of information each time. Here are the relevant passages
(from the first two pages of Chapter IX, "The Empty Air"):<<

<snip of quotes from text>

>>Finally, Severian is described as being able to fit both of his arms
completely and both of his legs partially inside Sidero's chest cavity. Now
that, to me, indicates a pretty darn large suit of armor.<<

    In addition to the quotes you cited there is this, from the last page of
ch. VIII:

" ... debating what I might do and judging the cavity inside him. My belt,
with the knife and my pistol in its holster, would never fit, I thought; but
without those I might go in well enough."

    His belt with weapons on it is a consideration in deciding whether he
can fit inside at all, so much so that he removes the belt, but, if the
question of his boots was even a concern, he didn't mention it then. Farther
down the page:

" ... it seemed a mad idea, yet it would give me protection and a disguise,
if I succeeded. I had worn armor often. Why not better armor?"

    Clearly he regards Sidero, as far as his physical stature is concerned,
as just a better suit of armor than he has been accustomed to. Sidero's size
is not so far out of bounds as to give him pause to get inside. He wants
"protection and a disguise" only from the people who had tried to kill him.
He had decided to get inside *before* he heard the sound of the great-winged
being. And the clincher is this: after getting inside and struggling with
Sidero for control -- a contest which he wins, because he is a human -- he
forces Sidero to go back and get his weapons and belt. He then puts the belt
on " ... and buckled it around Sidero's waist without a thumb's width to
spare." (second page of ch. IX) How much slack would there be in his belt?
Six inches? Eight? Bulky, Sidero ain't.

>The real point is that *one size does not fit all*.
I won't deny you have a point here. It does seem likely that there would
have to be different sized IPAS's for different sized people. At least this
would have been true when the sailors were allowed to wear the IPAS's. But,
from Sidero's testimony, it seems as if the IPAS androids had not allowed
that to happen for a long, long time.<<

    Ch. VIII: Sev says: "Do you mean the officers of this ship wear you like
clothing?" Sidero answers: "Not often now." So it still happens, even if

>Two "slender" androids are mentioned (their names, very likely, are Hadid
>Hierro, BTW). Now, given the fact that Sidero's kind have been in existence
>long enough to have evolved human-like intelligence,
You make it sound as if you are talking about biological evolution. That
isn't what is going on here.<<

    No, of course not. I referred only to their "human-like intelligence".

>>I just can't understand why you insist that there can only be one kind of
android on the ship.<<

    On the penultimate page of ch. VIII, which is too long to quote here,
Sev is asked by Sidero to recount how the human race came to be. Sev gives a
synopsis, which serves to remind the reader of the changes that Zak is going
through. Then Sidero, in turn, gives the account of his kind's origins. His
kind includes Hadid and Hierro (see two pages earlier), who know more about
it than Sidero,and who are, I believe, the two slender androids Sidero
consults with on the fourth page of ch. XIII. Sev wonders if those two " ...
were nearer the captain and upper officers than Sidero ... ". At any rate,
all three are "volitional mechanisms", accounted for by Sidero's android
genesis. No other kind of "volitional mechanisms" are mentioned on Tzad's
ship. (Yes, Ossipago is there, but he is not a member of the ship's crew, is
described differently in _Sword_, and serves an entirely different
function.) In fact, only one other android is mentioned in the entire Urth
cycle -- Jonas.

    I think Jonas has come from too far in Urth's past to be accounted for
by travel by "conventional relativistic processes". But it's no problem if
the ship he was on that crashed was one of the "tenders" from Tzad's ship,
such as Sev was on.

>>I will admit that the passages in _Urth_ comparing Jonas and Sidero and
other, slender androids on the ship are ambiguous. They must be or this
whole debate wouldn't have started. I think that the interpretation that
Tony Ellis and I give them more reasonable than yours. You vehemently
disagree. But I think you should at least consider that our interpretation
is possible. And allow us to hold it without implying that we are
unreasonable people who manufacture unnecessary complications while we
ignore the text.<<

    Acknowledged. All I ask is a fair hearing.

>    Jonas served on a space/time traveling ship. Sidero said: "There is
>one ship, the captain says. All the ships we hail between the galaxies or
>the suns are this ship." Therefore, Jonas sailed on Tzad's ship. Jonas is
>android. Therefore, Jonas was originally hollow, regardless of which size
>android he was.>
I simply don't agree that Sidero has been given reliable information here
or perhaps he has not understood what he was told properly.<<

    Do angels lie? Do androids? I have always been given to understand they
didn't. Sev said Jonas lies, but that I attribute to his humanization. But
then Sidero is also undergoing humanization, which I have previously alluded
to. But what purpose would be served by lying? If we can't believe the
testimony of angels and androids, then who *can* we believe? (That was a
rhetorical question.)

>>I don't expect to change your mind with anything I have said above, Roy. I
imagine that if we can agree to disagree, that will be the most I can hope
to accomplish. In another post you said:
>But I learned many years ago that
>religious arguments are fruitless. Believers believe because what they
>believe cannot be proven, else it would not be a matter of faith.
Perhaps this applies to nonreligious arguments as well. It seems to in this
case. So why did I bother adding another round to this debate if I think
it's fruitless? I have to support my faith, don't I?<<

    Amen. And at least you weren't falling asleep in church.  <g>

    Let me recast my position. I have no ego investment in establishing
whether Jonas was hollow in his metal parts or not. The text I have cited is
merely suggestive of it, as is the case with so much else in Wolfe's work.
The other things I have cited; that he is an android on the same order as
those on Tzad's ship; that he has knowledge of elsewhen in time; his
utterances after being zapped in the Antechamber; his mention of searching
the seven continents for the Hierodules; various things he has said to Sev,
and the rest of it, coupled with what Sev learns of Tzad's ship and the
androids there, all tend, in my view, to establish that Jonas was at some
time in his life a sailor on Tzad's ship. That is what I wanted to
establish in the first place.


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

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