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From: mark millman <millman@us.ncipher.com>
Subject: Re: (urth) Maybe it's not a black hole
Date: Wed, 01 Dec 1999 14:39:12 

At 01:31 PM 01-12-99 -0500, Rostrum (Michael Straight) wrote:

> Does Apheta or anyone else use the words "black hole" 
> to describe the other end of the White Fountain or the 
> thing eating away at the sun?
> Perhaps there is some other phenomenon, unknown to 
> 20th century astronomers because it doesn't emit jets of 
> x-rays, that is not a black hole but is a rift between uni-
> verses where energy is sucked out of one universe and 
> emerges as a White Fountain in the other.

Of course nobody uses the term "black hole"--it would ruin Wolfe's
carefully crafted diction.  But the "worm gnawing at the heart of 
the sun" and the description of the White Fountain that Severian gets
in Yesod--not to mention the discussion on this list--make it pretty 
likely that black holes and their associated phenomena are what 
Wolfe had in mind when he was writing.  

Besides, this is science fiction.  While you are certainly free to believe 
what you please about possible future discoveries in cosmology, I'm
addicted to the idea that the best writers will use established science
in making their extrapolations.  Your statement requires Wolfe to 
have created a new form of astronomical event from whole cloth,
while to me, and based on the evidence that I saw, Occam's Razor 
suggests that Wolfe was working from an obsolete model of the 
structure and behavior of black holes.

And at 9:58 AM 01-12-99 Tony Ellis wrote:

> But there is. We've been down this road before. Right 
> at the very end of The Shadow of the Torturer, Jonas 
> tells the story of the woman who comes back with 
> space with a handful of magic beans, and threatens to 
> throw them into the ocean.
> Erebus and friends aren't genetically modified humans 
> like Baldanders, they're alien lifeforms. That grow.

Well, could be.  But they could also be people who have returned from
the stars, with changes.  They could be kind of like Typhon and the ex-
ultants, only less human(e) (or not, who knows?) still.  After all, beans 
come from Earth, or Urth, too.

Mark Millman

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

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