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Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2002 18:50:41 -0600
From: Jeff Wilson 
Subject: Re: (urth) For Jerry- a response

> From: "Andy Robertson" 

> Actually the moon would, I believe, hold an atmosphere for quite a long
> time, but not for geological timespans.

	No. During the Apollo program, the measured amount of gas surrounding
the moon remained fairly constant, despite each landing adding an amount
of gaseous exhaust equal to the original natural contents. 
> One simple posibility is that a lot of smaller bodies were dumped upon it,
> increasing its mass and its budget of volatiles.   This offers a way of
> terraforming it at the "Terran" level of technology and also of increasing
> its gravity.

That would require "adding" the mass of Mars, at least. Even Mars won't
keep an atmosphere over large geological eras, but the time from Apu
Punchau to Ushas is maybe 100 millenia. 

I don't see why it is necessary to limit things to Terran technology.
The Hiero-people already meddle heavily in Briatic affairs, and stepping
up the moon's gravity seems like small potatoes next to Father Inire's
time and dimension defying gardens.
> From: Jerry Friedman 

> > You are correct that this sort of thing is often glossed over, but the
> > Whorl
> > is a STL generation starship and is not at the "magical" level of
> > technology
> > that, for example, the Ship in UOTNS is.
> I suspect Jeff is thinking of a space warp that was already there, either
> naturally or created by someone like the Hierodules, which the _Whorl_
> passed through without anyone's knowledge (at least in the Cargo).  This
> strikes me as a lot to conclude on very slim evidence, since the physics
> is very hard to swallow and I don't remember anything like it anywhere
> else in the books.

	Father Inire's gardens
	the various magic mirrors
	The Ship
	The Atrium of Time
	Master Ash's house
	Hildegrin's wrestling match
	Severian discovering his own ancient tomb
	the pool in Yesod
	Severian whispering in his own ear
> > > It's been previously discussed that Lune hasn't sufficient
> > > gravity to retain an atmosphere; given that gravity manipulation
> > > is featured discretely in Severian's time, it's possible that
> > > Lune's gravity was increased during the age of wonders
> > > to keep the air held down.
> With light-bending space warps and gravity control, you could make a case
> for anything you want: that Green is the other side of Blue, that the
> Bluvian fauna's doubled members (stop me now!) are an effect of double
> refraction by space warps in the atmosphere, that the whole thing was
> really written by Charles Kinbote.

please stop! :)

I'm trying to keep to extrapolations from what's in the books, and what
science would have been available to Wolfe as reader of SF at the time
he turned in _Shadow_.

> From: "Andy Robertson" 

> Science fiction is myth-making, not rationality.
> The Whorl is a BDO, a human-made thing, a Generation Starship like the one
> in "Orphans Of the Sky", with nothing numinous about it.   Its gods are
> fake.   It has no business transgressing the bounds of the universe.
> The Ship is quite different.
> You can't judge SF on the basis of science.   But you can judge it on the
> basis of its own internal mythology and history.

Heinlein's "Orphans" is set in a morally indifferent universe and its
wonders appeal to the authority of science to justify suspension of
disbelief. The Sun books are set in a universe the under the continuous
supervision of a moral God, and science is merely a justification for
bad guys to have evil wonders to compete with the good guys' righteous

Now I won't argue that what Wolfe chooses to call SF is myth making, and
in fact I am judging it on its internal standards, since it incorporates
astronaut mythology of which _Planet Of The Apes_ is a part. 

Jeff Wilson
How Am I Posting? 1-800-555-6789
"If your SecOp can see you, so can the enemy." -Cpt Law


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