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From: "Jim Henley" <jlhenley@erols.com>
Subject: RE: (urth) The Conciliator
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1999 22:29:20 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: urth-errors@lists.best.com [mailto:urth-errors@lists.best.com]On
> Behalf Of Roy C. Lackey
> The analogy is with the
> Jewish concept of the Messiah current in some quarters two millennia ago.
> The Messiah was to be an earthly ruler, a temporal authority
> over a kingdom overflowing with milk and honey on earth,
> not some celestial everafter.

This is a fascinating point, Roy. It dovetails with the idea of Sev as
Christ _figure_ rather than the second coming of Christ himself. And
suggests a different angle on what the book is "about" - here's what a
"worldly" messiah would look like, fellas; how do you like it?

FWIW, there are some interesting parallels with what the Branch Davidians
actually believed (as opposed to the caricature of their beliefs in the
popular press) about a sequence of Anointed (Christos) through history.

> Nowhere--absolutely nowhere in NEW SUN--is there even a hint
> that the coming
> of the Conciliator is conceived of as an eschatological event.
> So far as the
> coming of the New Sun is known to the people of Urth, it is a good
> thing--for them. The man on the street had no inkling that he and all he
> knew and loved would have to die for someone else to get to
> heaven--that is, Ushas.

I might plead "insufficient evidence" on this one. Certainly Talos knew,
though of course he's a little freak - the whole purpose of his play was to
get the eschatalogical nature of the New Sun across to folks. Well, and to
get people to drop their goodies and run in fear, but is that really a
_different_ thing? <g>

So Talos is Minister of Propaganda for the Other People, which returns us
to a question I still have no answer for: Why are a bunch of folks who live
in the water all worried about the prospect of a flood? And they're
supposedly the enemies of humanity in general, or they should stop
confusing people by attacking our ships. So why is it any skin off their
nose if most of Urth's population is wiped out?

Okay, Erebus rules the pole and his domain would shrink, so he has a
motive. Unfortunately, I'm not quite sure why Erebus is still alive in the
first place. If he's a giant and he's living on the Antarctic land mass -
we're told his namesake mountain is his seat of power - why hasn't he
collapsed into a puddle of bile and bone meal already?

I think awhile ago, someone suggested that they were all leary of the
altered saline content that would characterize the new oceans. But this
doesn't, um, wash. (Bad Jim!) Juturna seems happy to swim way up Gyoll, and
Baldanders heads first for Lake Diuturna before, at some presumed later
time, entering the ocean.

> Had the people of Urth known that they would have to pay the price of
> complete obliteration for a "sin" that wasn't even theirs, and
> if they had
> had a choice in the matter, I have little doubt what their
> choice would have been.

I'm less convinced. My personal reaction would be, "I'd rather not drown
thank you." What's more, tonight I seasoned a strip steak with black and
cayenne pepper, seared it in a cast-iron skillet, poured a quarter-cup of
dilute bourbon over it and finished it in the oven for five minutes at 400
degrees. Then I salted it and ate it hot. We can't afford that kind of meal
every night in the Henley household (it was on sale!), but right now the
idea of living off algae in my bloodstream holds little appeal. Green Man,

Nevertheless, we've seen groups of people embrace their own deaths in the
name of religious fulfillment and we'll see it again before we're dead. A
whole world without New Sun dissenters? Probably not. Would it be wrong to
proceed in the face of objections from 49% of the population? For the sake
of ten just men? One? I have my own answer, but if there _is_ a god, what
is my answer worth?

Which reminds me: this very existential question (if there _is_ a god, what
do our human standards of ethics matter) is explored to terrific effect,
IMHO, in a movie of the last decade called THE RAPTURE. I recommend it as
supplemental material for our studies in recent threads.

> The feeble attempt at rationalization at the phony trial by having
> people whom Sev had wronged elect to fight on his side, thus tipping the
> balance of justice in favor of the New Sun, is just that--feeble. All but
> Gunnie were aquastors; aquastors are only of the dead; the dead
> have nothing to lose.

An excellent point.

> The psyches of the aquastors come from memory--Sev's memory.
> They existed in
> his memory as he wanted to see them, idealized to suit his notions of
> Justice and Right.



"What fades in time                           Costello/
will hurt much more"                        Bacharach, "My Thief"

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

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