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Date: Mon, 17 Jun 2002 05:00:49 +0000 (GMT)
From: Josh Geller 
Subject: Re: (urth) Thoughts on Undines, and other ramblings

On Sun, 16 Jun 2002, Alice K. Turner wrote:
> And Someone Else wrote:

>> I'm quite thrilled to have discovered this group, and as such, I'm
>> going to air a few more thoughts that have nagged me concerning the
>> main villains of the Briah universe, the Undines.  First off, I'm
>> trying to make a list of what we do know about them:

> They are *not* the main villains of the Briah universe.

I'm not sure why the Briah universe should
be so-called, except to say that Mr. Wolfe's
qabalah, despite his many and other known
excellent qualities, is certainly no better
than it ought to be.

> -They are basically shaped like homo sapiens that never stop growing and
> can breathe under water.

> They are shaped like women.

There are those who say that women are female H. Sapiens.

I've heard arguments one way and another, and I have to
say that I basically agree, though some of the arguments
are strong arguments.

Perhaps mere circumspection keeps the undine's menfolk
away when they are flirting with Severian.

>        There's a hint that the undines are handmaidens or concubines to
> them, but it could be myth and I doubt that it could be proved.

Juturna or one of her buds does tell Severian that this
is the case. Severian does lie, occasionally (or so he
claims), and certainly has his own point of view of most
things, but I think that he generally tells the truth as
he sees it. So the dream might be false, or Juturna (or
whoever) might be lying.

>> ...[B]oth [Severian and Silkhorn] are Gene Wolfe's attempt
>> to draw saintly, Christian figures.

You should read some of the histories of some of the saints.

I find St. Olaf's story to be particularly interesting,
if only because we have more than just the Church's story
in his case (he figures in a number of Icelandic sagas).

Anyway, you don't need to be of particularly saintly character
to be a Christian saint (though no one would deny that it can
be helpful): you just have to perform two demonstrable miracles
after you are Dead.

> Sev's not so saintly.

See above.

>                      And his powers are limited--he can't go around
> blasting Ascian armies like one of Yaweh's apparatchik thugs...er, sorry,
> Ratty, avenging angels. And I would imagine they're well protected. It is
> definitely an untied thread to the first series though: as water-bound
> beings I would think they'd be thrilled with the drowned Ushas.

Maybe someday (I would prefer after the third Latro novel)
Mr. Wolfe will write a second Dead Severian book (if we take
UotNS as the first).

>> One final ramble:  By the end of our series, Severian is but one AU
>> from the source of his power, and is probably going to have a hard time
>> dying, even of old age.  He may grow really, really bored.

> What is an AU?

In modern astronomy it is the average distance seperating
Earth from the Sun, if you go in for that sort of thing.



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