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From: "Talarican" <exultnttalarican@mindspring.com>
Subject: (urth) 1-2-3: Did Jak and JoAnn visit Urth during the later Age of Myth?
Date: Sun, 12 Mar 2000 13:02:35 

Did anyone else get the impression Jak's story in "One-Two-Three For Me"
could have taken place on the world which would become Urth, during the
forgotten millenia of the decline of the great stellar empire, chiliads
before Severian's time?

To begin with, it's apparent that Jak's world is dominated by thinking
engines, and that these have an attitude, as that crack by his 'bot about
the numbered cell phone buttons illustrates.

Clearly, their milieu is in a serious state of decline. Earth is now an
archaeological site for bored students. To quote Cyriaca (Sword, VI) "But
though the empire dissolved, the worlds were a long time dying...nor could
they build more cities, because the cities that remained were nearly empty".
While she doesn't state that old Earth's own urban civilization suffered
such extreme decadence the population committed suicide, it can't be ruled
out either.

In both stories, there seems to be a strong element of selfishness and
self-absorption on the part of the humans. Why didn't Jak call or check on
JoAnn after the weird little visitor vanished? (for that matter, why didn't
her 'bot take some sort of protective action?(waves claws and turns
side-to-side shouting "Danger! Danger! Run, JoAnn! Highly toxic alkaloid
detected!" <g>)).

What is Jak's real problem at the time he tells that story and gets angry
with the youngers over their stick trick? He's not afraid the "pusher" will
return. It's pretty clear the world on which Jak told his story wasn't
Earth, and the "pusher" clearly wouldn't force the drug on him in any case.
He's not merely grieving for JoAnn, although she didn't consciously mean to
commit suicide, and Jak didn't consciously know the danger at the time. He's
suffering a guilty conscience now because of his failure to exercise caution
in an unfamiliar situation, resulting in JoAnn's death, due to his own

Even if "One-Two-Three" isn't a New Sun story, I think we can still agree
that its extinct peoples of Earth have much in common with the inhabitants
of the nearly forgotten decadent stellar empire ages before Urth. And that
enigmatic story title suggests selfishness. (yes, I remember that Bugs Bunny
cartoon, too...)

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

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