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From: "Roy C. Lackey" <rclackey@stic.net>
Subject: Re: (urth) Calendars
Date: Mon, 23 Aug 1999 01:05:26 

SBear. wrote:

>>True North. Quite possibly magnetic South, but I don't insist on that.
The fauna and flora of the Commonwealth are all South American, but
not all of South America is in the Southern Hemisphere. When Severian
is walking along the coast in _Citadel_, chapter XXXII, "The Samru",
he says that the land is to the East and the sea to the West [1]. So
he's on the West coast. Then he walks North, with the sun rising on his
right. There would be nothing wrong with that if it were true, but
I don't think it is. Severian has a perfect memory, but seems unable
to follow directions. He *always* gets lost. Every single time. If he
hasn't misremembered the directions, he must be misinterpreting them,
and I believe he has left and right mixed up. In that case the Sun is
on the left, and he is heading what we would call "South". This idea
has the advantage that it explains "the isles of the South" where
Hellvard's people hunt walruses. The ones in our South are close to
the coast, and too close to the expanded icecap of the cooling world;
Hellvard hunts in the Caribbean.<<

    The Gyoll flows roughly north to south. It's mouth is on the
southwestern coast of the continent, it's headwaters near Thrax. Yes,
Severian can't follow directions, but he does get where he's going,
eventually! Nessus has been creeping upriver for millennia, as the river
gets too polluted. The Citadel was once north of the city, but in Sev's day
is on the southern fringes of the living city. Whenever Sev failed to follow
directions he compensated, after beginning his journey to Thrax, by tending
to keep traveling north. He went first from Nessus to Saltus, then to Thrax,
eventually ending up in the jungles of the equatorial zone, always going
north, following, roughly, the course of the Gyoll upstream. From the
penultimate paragraph of SHADOW:

"And surely when I entered this second gate, I began again to walk a new
road. From that great gate forward, for a long time, it was to lie outside
the City Imperishable and among the forests and grasslands, mountains and
jungles of the north."

    Agia said, on the last page of SHADOW, chapter XIX, "The real jungle is
dying in the north as the sun cools."

    Hallvard lived in very cold climes on the southern isles in
polar-chilled waters. He mentions the growing season being short because of
the icy wind. As he says in the first paragraph of his story: "...many
strange things happen in the isles of the south that you northern people
never dream of."

    Both Agia and Hallvard can't be wrong about their directions, too. No
doubt about it: the Commonwealth is in the Southern Hemisphere, in what we
call South America.


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

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