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From: matthew.malthouse@guardian.co.uk
Date: Wed, 17 Jul 2002 10:45:51 +0100
Subject: Re: (urth) arcologies like mountains

On 17/07/2002 00:44:27 Michael Andre-Driussi wrote:

>Blattid wrote:
>>The 97 Kyear figure is _very_ debateable, and I for one hold it to be
>>completely implausible ... we're talking a sufficient amount of time
>>so that the ruins of ancient human civilizations have been uplifted in
>>the bodies of new mountains (which, of course, are then carved into the
>>figures of Urth's vain rulers). That doesn't happen in less than
>>millions of years.
>Oh dear, back to this chestnut.
>Yes, the 97 Kyear figure is _very_ debateable.  (For all sorts of
>Let a thousand timelines bloom!)
>But, as far as I am concerned, so is the notion that the "mountains" are
>natural (especially the single cliff that is being referred to here,
>however obliquely).  I'm sure anyone who has read Olaf Stapledon can
>instantly recall the supercities like continental coral reefs that sprout
>up in superscience civilizations -- indeed, they are rather puny compared
>with Asimov's "full metal planet" of Trantor.  The concept is rather a
>staple of sf, and iirc, the brown book says that non-humans built vast
>cities like "banks of cloud" (note scale) and like "skeletons of dragons"
>(note fossil imagery) on Urth after the zenith of the Empire.
>As for "multiple millions," Wolfe has written, more than once, iirc, that
>it is "perhaps" one million years distant (which I have always taken as
>outer limit rather than an inner limit, because of the qualifier).  FWIW.

The single cliff I might have swallowed.  But there is more than that.

As Severian travels north he comes to new mountains, sharp, uncarved
(which also touches upon the time between Typhon and tBotNS). The raising
of new mountain ranges by conscious intervention rather than eon-long
techtonic activity would have been an event of staggeraing magnitude to
rival the coming of the New Sun itself.  The lack of mention of such an
event could be allowed but set against it is the long continuity (of
decline, to be sure) implied in the whole atmosphere of the Commonwealth.

Yeuch, I just don't believe it.



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