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From: Michael Andre-Driussi <mantis@sirius.com>
Subject: (urth) Re: Jonas's Distress
Date: Fri, 28 May 1999 20:55:18 

Robert Borski,

>I've always felt that Jonas's emotional distress is predicated by his
>realization he's going to be imprisoned for a very long period--not simply
>seven generations worth of time, or seven times that, but possibly eons
>(depending on how long his metal parts hold up), a fact hammered even more
>severely home by his hearing the name Kim Lee Soong again and recalling
>exactly how long it's been since he last heard it. Not only does this mean
>he'll be condemned to spend entire centuries answering naive questions
>about the outside world, but that he'll never be able to return home--his
>most desired goal (well, maybe after nailing Jolenta). I'd be upset,

That's a pretty good answer and we'll go with it.  His panic seems almost
like that of a claustrophobe suddenly confined--which fits with what you
are saying.  (Still, Jonas is usually more direct in saying, "Ouch, that
hurts!" in this case, something more like, "Holy caca, I'm going to
fossilize in this joint!" rather than the more tangential method of talking
about geneologies, generations, folklore about bees and honey, outlandish
names, geological time frames, etc. <g>  All of which add up to "hard
time," but with a lot of weird baggage.)

>I'd also like to redirect your attention to something Jonas says in the
>antechamber. Confides he to Severian: "You told me once that you thought I
>had an unusual name. Kim Lee Soong would have been a very common kind of
>name when I was...a boy. A common name in places now sunk beneath the sea."
>The ellipsis in the second sentence is Wolfe's, not mine, and seems to
>imply, since robots don't have boyhoods, Jonas is searching for a mutually
>comprehensible term--one meaning an equivalently early time in his own life
>as a sentient tin can--hence his choice of "boy." And again he might well
>have acquired the information about KLS's popularity from Asiatic spacers,
>without ever having even been to Urth.

Right, I'm with you on the first point: boy as metaphor for the androidal
equivalent.  I thought he was from Urth, though.  Can't remember where I
got that idea . . . upon securing the notule he speaks of sailors having
brought them "home" from the notule planet of origin, but this could be a
less personal use of the word "home" than "[my] home."  Lessee, where was
the bit where Jonas talked about his "parents"?  Doesn't he say somewhere
his parent was a "craftsman"? (Ah, that would be Sears . . . )


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

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