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From: "Talarican" <exultnttalarican@mindspring.com>
Subject: (urth) These planets we have discovered, there is something very peculiar about them, no?
Date: Sat, 16 Dec 2000 12:31:51 

A bit of cross-posting occurred, as I should have expected.

<quote>But what am I saying?!  You don't even have the book, and presumably
haven't read it yet!</quote>

I have indeed read 5HC, years ago, the Ace edition which belonged to my late
brother and was nowhere to be found in his estate. I borrowed a public
library copy (Scribner's 1st edition) later, but I no longer reside in that
county. It was indeed 5HC which led me to Wolfe and , by way of Mr. Borski
and "Cave Canem", this list.

<quote> Since some would argue that the dying sun [of Urth] is ...a
sapient-modified luminary not a natrually-dying fireball, this hints
tenuously that the C&A primary is a similar post-modification star....
At the very least it is a non-cannonical anomaly.  Like some of those stars
in the neighborhood that are simply too dim ... </quote>

Thank you, that is indeed the conclusion toward which I was meandering ever
so erratically. The difficulty I have, with just leaving it at that, is that
I should think that the French interstellar explorers who (re)discovered the
system would have done basic astrometrics as a matter of course and perhaps
been put on guard by the evident fact that Messrs. Hertzsprung, Russell,
Newton, and Kepler have gone on holiday so far as this system is concerned.

If the star is so nonconformant to the parameters of  the main sequence, who
knows how unstable it might be? (and, if artificially altered, what would be
the ramifications of that scenario? What if the parties responsible return,
prepared to weed from their garden any biological infestations which might
have occurred in the interim?) Would it be wise to colonize it, or even to
invest the effort of exploring it with an objective of possible
colonization? Or, perhaps, was the Great Anglo-Franco War already raging
elsewhere in the galaxy, and were the French explorers/colonists in fact
desperate refugees disinclined to look a gift horse in the mouth? (rather
remeniscent of Larry Niven's motley collection of flawed colony worlds in
his Known Space cycle.)

And how could planets so wet be so full of pink dust suspended in the
atmospheres as to permanently color the skies, al la dessicated Mars?

<quote>(in terms of writer's craft, 5HC is a dry-run for some of the
hardware in Severian's narrative: sky darker than light blue; twin planets;
etc.).  </quote>

About a year and a half ago, we revived the old alzabo=Annese ghoul-bear
argument (my position being basically the "writers tend to stick with and
reuse favorite images" line someone repeated recently), and you will find a
post by my alter ego cataloguing a number of striking parallels between the
two bodies of work.

You might also see the long rambling essay he did theorizing that the abos
allegedly exhibit poor manual dexterity because they imitated real humans
rather than evolved those hands naturally. One inspiration for that essay is
contained in _Urth of the New Sun_ ch. XII, where Severian considers Zak's
evident plieomorphism and the implications for the sort of creature Zak must

In fact, it is not at all far-fetched to suppose that 5HC takes place in the
same universe - much earlier - than BNS. In the Great Anglo-Franco War we
can see realized the statement made somewhere in the Urth cycle that the
early explorers took their old wars with them to the stars and kindled new
ones .


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

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