URTH 

From: "Robert Borski"Subject: (urth) Base 9 on the Whorl? Date: Sat, 11 May 2002 13:07:43 0500 In _Nightside the Long Sun_, on p. 29, Wolfe has Maytera Marble presiding over a mathematics lesson, "watching the children take nineteen from twentynine and get nine, add seven and seventeen and get twentythree." This, however, is only possible in a base 9 numbering system, and a strange one at that, since a conventional base 9 system would only include the digits 0 to 8 (there should thus no 9, 19, or 29). The following questions therefore ensue: Since the number 9 is present, are we to assume that one of the other numbers has been retired? (If so, it's not evidenced in the Seal of Pas, which contains all ten digits from 0  9. But could these sequences be artifacts of the prelaunch numbering system?) Equally possible, I suppose, is the notion that the Whorl, like the ancient Romans, uses no 0 meaning that the sequence after the first and second enneads runs ...8, 9, 11, 12... and 18, 19, 21, 22. But can this be supported by text citings: i.e., do the numbers 10, 20, 30, etc., occur anywhere in the narrative? Also, if we accept the validity of the base 9 system (doubtless enacted by the Whorl gods to reinforce their sanctity, just as Pas's children have coopted the days of the week), how does this change the facts, figures and chronology of the Long and Short Sun booksfrom ages of the characters to lengths of the yearor even, say, the hypothetical distance between Blue and Green at apogee and perigee? Robert Borski 