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From: "Mitchell A. Bailey" <MAB@lindau.net>
Subject: Re: (urth) those high fliers
Date: Wed, 11 Aug 1999 08:51:31 

Michael Andre-Driussi wrote:
> Eep!
> I hope my joke didn't misfire so completely that umbrage occured.  I'm too
> fond of that phrase, "Everything you know is wrong," but not in the
> put-down way, rather in the way of the snake-oil salesman pitch.

Mantis, if that was the worst thing anyone ever said to, or about, me,
I'd be a happy man indeed!<g>

> Anywho, since Wolfe was so anti-antigravity in 5HC, I personally find
> myself less concerned with the motive force of the fliers (as I wrote
> before, I first or second thought of magnetic monopoles, ...

..but wouldn't monopoles tend to accelerate away from the "like"
planetary pole toward the "unlike" pole? If the Autarch's flier was full
of "south" monopoles, wouldn't it be forever straining to dash northward
across Ascia into the dark icy seas said to lie in the uttermost north
of Ascia? And how do we reconcile that with the Autarch's statement that
his flier contained "the antimaterial equivalent of iron"?

> and then picked up "legitimate" antigravity notions from Forward, ...

Yeah, now THAT was interesting. Would "negative matter" be expected to
annhilate with positive matter, a concern the Autarch had? Remember, he
said "antimaterial", not "negative". And would negative iron have
reversed magnetic properties such that it would be repelled by magnets?
I have been trying to find out more about this "negative matter", with
limited success. I've heard of a concept of "negative energy"; could
negative matter be its equivalent?      -E = -mc**2? 
(That sound you heard from the Saltus mine is Einstein spinning in his

>  . . .  like, if Urth receives barely enough solar insolation to maintain
> habitability, then how does Verthandi manage to survive with even _less_
> insolation?  With a Barsoomian brand atmosphere plant, naturally.

Dunno. Are we sure Verthandi even DOES survive? It appears Verthandi,
Skuld, and even Lune are pretty much totally out of contact with Urth by
Sev's time. There's no insystem space flight other than that provided by
the Hierodules for their own purposes. You would think that if the
Commonwealth still had access to even Edwardian radio technology they
could still at least communicate, but I don't see much indication that
such a thing takes place. Then again, what would they talk about?

I guess any surviving Verthandians and Lunatics must be huddled in their
lifesystems eking out a living with farms under pressurized domes and
decrepit old tokamaks supplementing the fading solar power grid. On the
other hand, Skuld is probably pretty balmy now. Major industry:
postcards that say "Hello from sunny Skuld. I'm here and you're not.

(The Barsoomian air plants, located in the pyramids of Elysium, were
restarted and depleted, you may recall, when AHHHnold cranked them up in
the climax of _Total Recall_)

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

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