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From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" 
Subject: RE: (urth) The Saga of the Urth Mailing List: An Excerpt
Date: Wed, 12 Jun 2002 09:24:38 -0700

Adam done wrote:

> So in every universe, there is a figure who is regarded as a 
> sacrificed God-become-man, but only one of these universes has
> it right? In that case, how do we know that we're the lucky ones?

Through faith, of course. 8*)

No, you see ... the point is that by participation, we're all right,
even though it only happens the once. Don't think in time, think in

Or (for the Gaiman/Pratchett fans amongst us) think ineffability.

> What occurred to me when I first read Wolfe's past-universe 
> comment was that the Theoanthropos could be an anticipated
> future figure, rather than a past figure.  Is there anything
> in the books which rules this out?

Nope. And the nature of such prophecies is often to confuse past
and future. 

This idea would seem to support the whole "cyclic" thing, though,
wouldn't it?

> > ... Perhaps, though, we
> > can suppose that Wolfe is borrowing a page from Nietzsche and
> > considering it all as a species of "eternal recurrence"? Or that
> > the Hieros, seeking to guide the recreation of the species that
> > created their predecessors, do so with the kind of obsessive
> > accuracy that actually does result in such recurrence?
> If that's the case, then presumably Severian and his story 
> would recur too, rendering the whole question academic.

Yep. I have no problem with this. After all, he himself is aware
that there was at least one prevous Severian.

> > The short of it is, though, that I disagree, because I think
> > putting Urth in a past cycle seems to me to make sense,
> Why?  I don't see a single advantage to it, aside from  partially
> answering the question "How did we get Sev's story?" which, after
> all, arises with every SF story set in the future.

True: the primary difference being that most SF writers simply
ignore the question, where Wolfe, at least as far back as PEACE
and 5HC, has made a point of including the provenance of the 
story -- the motives and reliability of the narrator, the time 
at which the story is actually written -- an intrinsic part of
his texts.


Where have you been, my blue-eyed son?


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