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Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2002 13:39:53 -0800 (PST)
From: Jerry Friedman 
Subject: Re: (urth) Severian's dream ideas

--- maa32  wrote:
> In the second chapter of Shadow of the Torturer, which I happened to
> glance at 
> quickly before I left my book in a temporarily inaccessible place,
> stated that 
> Severian was certain of two ideas (almost dreams): that time itself
> would stop 
> and that the sun would wink out, and that a miraculous candle or
> flambeau 
> would come and restore light.  The immediately following sentence struck
> me as 
> a blow: that bushes would sprout feelers and crawl around, and that
> underbrush 
> would grow eyes.  Does anybody have access to that quote in a hurry? 
> Does 
> that not portend what I have been stating in my Short Sun "theories" in
> an 
> eerily scary way?  I can find the quote tomorrow, but I had to post
> while it 
> was still fresh in my mind. More evidence for a plant to animal theme.

Very interesting!  I think there's a good chance you're right that
plants and animals are linked in some way that's not obvious (meaning
that it didn't occur to me when I first read the books).

> Another point I really think that detractors from my theory need to
> contend 
> with is the obvious importance of the inhumu breeding: they start by
> gathering 
> trees and vines into a hut, pretend to be human, then release their
> stuff into 
> a polyploid system as primitive animals do.

The hut is much like bowerbirds' bowers, but it may have more
significance.  On the other hand, I don't remember a single trace
of a suggestion of polyploidy anywhere in the Sun books.  (Doubled
limbs and trunks are by no means the same thing.)  I also don't know
of any polyploidy in primitive or advanced animals.  I'll be glad to
be corrected on both points.

As for releasing their gametes into the water, I think you're right
that that's the method of just about every Earth animal that mates in
the water, the only exception I can think of being water birds.

> We are all familiar that early 
> fetal development mirrors evolution: you start out looking like simple
> cell 
> systems, then in the first month or two your fetus is practically 
> indistinguishable from primitive animals like fish with no limbs, then
> you 
> develop more and more into the shape you will take.

Now if an inhumi *embryo* looked like a liana, that would be evidence.
Unfortunately Jahlee doesn't have any of her larva pictures.

[snip some other stuff that I can't or don't want to answer right

> -> disprove that Babbie is 
> Horn and my Tree theory loses most of its strength

I'll do my best.  The narrator is not *really* Horn, but in astral
form he looks similar to Horn.  If Babbie is *really* Horn, shouldn't
he look very much like Horn, enough for Hoof to comment on?

[Another snip]

> Also, you need to explain 
> the eucharist's significance beside the transformation of one matter to 
> another,

God reveals the correct way to share His grace (from a Catholic point
of view, and I may not have said it right).

> and you need to say who was watching Silk in his forest
> eucharist in 
> In Green's Jungles when he had his back turned

God and all His saints and angels.  Or that's how I read it.

> You can't ignore these things and seriously threaten my theories,
> can 
> you? Especially by math; math doesn't appear in the books, but
> hybridization 
> and genetics does; in the very first chapter.

I don't think I've seen a mathematical refutation of your theories,
but I think math could be relevant.  Wolfe was trained as an
engineer, not a biologist, and all the celestial mechanics I've been
bringing up has been first-year physics.

> Also, the previous concept of a 
> tree ship makes the transfer from Green to Blue that the inhumu make
> more 
> tenable than purely animal life.  And my Urth/Blue theory simplifies the
> Scylla complications: she is related to the old Scylla, and really can
> tell 
> the narrator how to find Seawrack.  How can Scylla travel between stars;
> and 
> why would the destination of the Whorl happen to have the sister of old
> Scylla 
> unless Typhon and Scylla where in big cahoots? Was there any evidence
> that 
> Typhon was contiguous with Scylla in time?

Yes: he uploaded her into Mainframe as a goddess.

> Theme:
> You can't go home again;

(If I remember _Again, Dangerous Visions_ correctly, Wolfe has said
that he may be distantly related to Thomas Wolfe.)

> either you or it has changed beyond recognition.  
> Horn is not Horn when he comes home; Silk can never return to Hyacinth;
> Silk 
> going to New Viron is fruitless because the people there are too wicked;
> Pas 
> has become Silk and will not be purely Typhon when he comes down to
> Blue; no 
> one can recognize their homeworld because it has changed so much
> (flooded, 
> animal life transformed, moon terraformed out of control, orbit changed,
> new 
> sun). Babbie meets up with his son Hoof but is not recognized because he
> is in 
> a creature, no one can recognize their home.

Well, I think you're right to point this theme out, even if I'm not
convinced by some of your examples.

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