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Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2002 09:14:53 -0500
From: "Charles Reed" 
Subject: (urth) Urth Scylla & Blue Mother


This is my first posting to the Urth mailing list, so I just want to say
howdy to everyone.  I've read pretty much all of the (no-longer-active)
Whorl archives and am gradually working my way through the Urth
archives, and all of it's really fascinating.  I almost feel like I know
a lot of you.

Anyway, to cut to the chase, I just recently (within the last month)
finished reading the Long Sun and Short Sun books, and am now rereading
the original New Sun books.  In reading through the Whorl archives, I
noticed that several people seemed to have trouble reconciling how the
Greater Scylla from Urth knows how to communicate with the Mother from
Blue.  At the risk of presuming to know more than my betters (and of
repeating something that has already been pointed out), I think I have
an answer:  In THE SHADOW OF THE TORTURER, Chapter XIII (titled "The
Lictor of Thrax"), after Severian finds out that he is to be exiled to
Thrax instead of executed, he climbs to the top of the Matachin tower
one last time and surveys his surroundings.  Here's the relevant quote
from page 104 of the paperback Timescape edition:

"I saw a caique, with high, sharp prow and stern, and a bellying sail,
making south with the dark current; and against my will I followed it
for a time -- to the delta and the swamps, and at last to the flashing
sea where the great beast Abaia, carried from the farther shores of the
universe in anteglacial days, wallows until the moment comes for him and
his kind to devour the continents."

In light of the phrase, "carried from" there seems to me to be only two
ways to read this passage, if you want to reconcile it with the fact
that Scylla and the Mother are somehow of the same race of beings:

1) The original home for creatures like the Greater Scylla and Abaia was
Blue, and somebody from Urth had been to Blue in the far distant past
and brought to Urth the sea-creatures that they found there. Or ...

2) The original home for these beings was entirely someplace else, but
somebody had brought these creatures to both Blue and to Urth.

Personally, I find the second one to be more probable but the first to
be more intriguing, especially sine it might help explain how/why Typhon
chosen the Green/Blue planetary system for colonization.  (He probably
had access to records of the time when humans were still space-farers.
If so, and if he knew that the Green/Blue system had been previously
visited by Urthmen, then that could have led to his choice.  This raises
some interesting questions, though, about what Typhon knew of the great
sea beasts, but that's another topic, isn't it?) In any case, both of
the above possibilities reconcile the difficulties of Scylla/Mother
communication, don't you think?

I don't how much I'll be able to contribute in the future, but I've
grown to really, really love Gene Wolfe's work and am glad that there
are people who like to discuss it.



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