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From: "Robert Borski" 
Subject: RE: (urth) Thoughts on Undines, and other ramblings
Date: Mon, 17 Jun 2002 17:54:43 -0500

The landbound Blattid arguing:

"The undines, as near as can be told, _are_ homo sapiens -- they are more
advanced cases of the process to which Baldanders has been subjecting

Not sure I agree with this.

For starters the names "Juturna" and "Idas" derive from classical mythology,
and if we adhere to Wolfe's rule of names--a rule I believe to be
inviolable--such beings are aliens. Contrast this with "Baldanders," which
comes to us from Borges via Grimelshausen--quite another kettle of fish in
my opinion.

There's also evidence that they experience time in a direction opposite to
ours. In URTH at least, when Severian asks Juturna if she remembers saving
him as a boy, she responds, "No. It hasn't yet happened. It will, because
you spoke."

Idas, I've also argued before, may well be the daughter of Baldanders.
Severian's first guess is that she's ten years old, which would make her the
right age if Baldanders mated with Juturna after the Piteous Gate incident.
(This would also help explain why Baldanders can breathe
underwater--Severian is offered the same gift for mating with Juturna. "You
will breathe--by our gift--as easily as you breathe the thin, weak wind
here.") Idas also proudly admits to burning the letter from Malrubius
proclaiming Severian to be the true Autarch of Urth--something which may
have especially grated upon her father, since he too was once in the running
for the New Sun candidacy. And lastly, Idas is a nested name--save for one
letter, being derivable from Baldanders--a pattern Wolfe uses over and over
and over in BotNS to confer relatedness.

I looked in vain for a _Saint_Idas, since she's attempting to pass as human
(this would put her in the same category as Palaemon and Paeon, both of whom
possess names that have both saintly and mythic exemplars), but the closest
I could find was Ida, although my various dictionaries of saints are far
from complete.

Also argued here, but never accepted, is the notion that Blue's Mother is an
underwater godling meant to host the eventually downloaded Scylla--just as
the other godlings were designed to host Pas, Echidna, and various sprats
once planetfall had been achieved.

Robert Borski


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