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From: Jim Jordan <jbjordan@gnt.net>
Subject: Re: (urth) C.S. Lewis
Date: Sat, 27 May 2000 11:42:02 

At 12:49 AM 5/27/2000 PDT, you wrote:

>But, not to meander--wouldn't the Green Man be an example of redeemed 
>humanity, or the Urth equivalent thereof? In the Green Man's time, Urth has 
>already been transformed into Ushas, there is a new sun, and the world is 
>filled with verdure and life.

	That would seem to be so. Eden restored and transformed.

>As for the state of affairs on Urth, it seems to me that the Autarchs have 
>closed the roads, abandoned spaceflight, etc., not to prevent humanity from 
>spreading like a plague and infecting the rest of the universe, but rather 
>to lock society into an earthbound holding pattern, so that the Autuarchs 
>can maintain a status quo until the coming of the New Sun. The alternative, 
>from the Autarchs' point of view, would be endless warring, the ceaseless 
>rise and collapse of empires, turmoil without end; they have tried every 
>system of government available throughout the millenia, but none of these 
>have worked. Vodalus' dreams of progress and glory are illusory; from this 
>view, conquest of the stars would simply increase the scope of the turmoil 
>that is human history.
>Therefore, it is necessary to lock everything in place until the New Sun 
>comes to make all things new both spiritually and physically.

	I was much surprised when I interviewed Wolfe to learn that Cordwainer
Smith was not much of an influence on him. *Scanners Live in Vain* has the
same theme, and in both cases we are retelling the transition from the Old
Covenant Under Law to the New Covenant Under Grace. The Law of Yahweh/Moses
freezes people to prevent their becoming worse, and the same is true of
Taboos in all Archaic cultures. From a Christian standpoint, the Levitical
laws are the "true" form of such taboos. Then Jesus comes, the New Son/Sun
(Malachi chapter 4) and such freezing is no longer necessary. In Smith, he
is Adam Stone, both of whose names are significant. (In case anyone does
not catch it, God and the Messiah are repeatedly called the Rock in the
Bible, especially in the Psalter.)
	"Freezing" is just Wolfe's implied metaphor, because the alternative
eschatology that leads to Master Ash is the increase of this freezing until
the world is completely Ragnaroked. 
	It's interesting to compare/contrast "Scanners" and *Severian.* Smith
tells the story from the standpoint of the Jewish Sanhedrin (the scanner
corps), who by the Law keep dead men "alive" in the "great pain" of cursed
space (where rat-dragons live and prey on men). Wolfe tells the story more
from the standpoint of the pagan world, especially Rome, enabling Wolfe to
bring in "everything under the sun" as he tells the story. 

>Meanwhile--I think--some of the Hierodules drop by periodically to help 
>guide humanity and prepare everything for the New Sun. I think. I've never 
>been entirely clear on the role of the Hierodules in their ministering to 
>humanity. But then, I don't know whether Severian was entirely clear on that 
>point, either.

	Well, they are kind of like angels in the Old Testament, and (from Wolfe's
standpoint) the kindly angels who ministered in pagan cultures before the
coming of Christianity. 


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

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