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From: "Don Doggett" 
Subject: (urth) Blue as Ushas - long
Date: Thu, 14 Nov 2002 23:26:36 -0800

Hello all,

This subject is probably the most important one to me regarding the Sun
Books.  It's the reason I found this site and the ultimate reason I decided
to join this list.  Let me give a little preface before I start in.  When I
read TBotNS I was literally blown away.  I picked it up and couldn't put it
down.  It was epic, and it was obvious to me that I was missing at least
ninety percent of what was going on and that I would have to read it again.
But first I decided to read TBotLS.  I have to say that it is the only book
I have read that forced me to love it.  By that I mean that even though I
was disappointed by its lack of epic scope, I couldn't and still can't get
the characters out of my head.  But I was disappointed.  What besides
Typhon, did this work have to do with Severian's universe?  It was a long
time before I picked up SS, and I did it mainly because of a need to finish
the story.  It is easily the most confusing of the three works (to me) but I
as I worked my way through it a feeling grew and grew on me that I was in a
familiar place.  By the end of it all, the only way I felt the books could
work was if the Whorl had somehow made it's way back to Urth.  To Ushas and
the New Sun.  But how could I discover if this was the case?  The internet,
of course.  I went to Google, typed in "Blue" and "Ushas" and here I am.
    In my opinion, Marc Aramini has made very compelling arguments as to why
Blue is indeed Ushas.  There's no need to reiterate them.  But there are
some holes in his theory - one big one - which I hope to be able to fill.
At the least I hope I can shrink them.  So here goes.
    I'll begin my argument thematically.  It hinges on two points and I'll
state them succinctly.  In the NS, Wolfe makes it clear that there are other
colonies of humans out in space.  He makes it equally clear that it is Urth
that is important to him thematically (see Father Inire's letter).  His work
is ultimately about us, on Urth (earth).  What does a Starcrosser travelling
to a random world in a universe full of human expats have to do with us?
Nothing.  It's just standard (boring) Sci Fi.  That was my original problem
with LS.   Second, what does SS have to do with Severian?  Why have Silk
astral project to Urth to speak with him?  It reeks of a cheap attempt to
tie the entire series  to the unrelated first volume.  Silk meets Severian.
Godzilla meets King Kong.  Dracula meets the Wolfman.  I don't like it and I
don't believe it.  In short, Blue as Ushas is stronger thematically as it
brings both later series back to us.  Of course, just because it makes me
happy doesn't make it true.
    Marc's theories, as far as they go, seem sound to me.  The theoretical
possibility of polyploidy in plant/animal hybrids (hybrids that are alluded
to in the very names of the Vironese - male/animal female/plant) lower
gravity on Green, even Silkhorn's time travel.  All of his points are
plausible but there are a few things which he hasn't been able to get
    The first is Silkhorn's description of the red sun as a star in the
night sky of Blue.  This I think, is Wolfe's dirtiest trick and my solution
is simple.  Silk is wrong.  In both series he makes a cottage industry out
of being wrong.  For one thing he is never described as looking at the red
sun in Blue's sky.  He is inside when he is talking to Juganu and he says
"Standing on the tiles I will point and you will peer until at last you see
a certain dim red star."  He never says "I have seen this star." nor is he
or anyone else described as seeing this star.  It neither proves nor
disproves that Blue is not Ushas.
    The second is when Silkhorn says to Hide that the Neighbors are not made
from the same dust as they are - meaning that they are not from the same
planet.  But why would the author bother to say something like this when it
should be obvious.  Silkhorn is once again wrong (his most endearing trait,
I think) and this is a rhetorical device by the author (Wolfe) to make us
think about this supposedly obvious fact.
    The third (and last objection that I plan to deal with) is the biggest
and the hardest to surmount.  The Whorl left from Urth in the Age of the
Monarch and the only way it could end up in the time of Ushas is for it to
travel faster than light.  The argument is that there is not any good
evidence, circumstantial or otherwise, to claim that it did.  Not so.  I did
some very cursory study of faster than light travel and one of the
theoretical occurences when something goes ftl is that time stops.  This
happens on the first page (god, I love Wolfe) on Nightside of the Long Sun.
When Silk is enlightened, he is aware that time has stopped.  I know that
Mr. Wolfe has said in an interview that the enlightenment of Silk is purely
miraculous but this is a tricky statement.  Silk's miraculous enlightenment
is in his awareness, not in the stoppage of time.  This, coupled with
Maytera Marble's internal clock being off by 3000 years (an otherwise
pointless bit of trivia) is enough circumstantial evidence to at least drag
the argument into the realm of plausibility.
    Wow, you say.  That's a big bunch of nothin'.  Well I have one more
thing and believe it or not, it is extratextual evidence that Blue is likely
Ushas.  It is an entry in Mantis' very fine Lexicon Urthus regarding THE OLD
WOMAN WHOSE ROLLING PIN IS THE SUN.  Now I haven't read this story so all I
can comment on is the entry.  I'll quote the relevant parts for those who
don't have the book, and those who do can verify I'm not being misleading.

The Old Woman Whose Rolling Pin is the Sun - a short tale, told by a man to
his grand daughter Becca, explaining the nature of the cosmos: . . . The
story makes reference to "our longfather," a culture hero who went to the
stars. . .
Commentary:  Wolfe has a few stories that deal explicitly with the zodiac. .
. but this one seems tied to the Urth Cycle by a few points, the most
apparent being the name "Skuld" for the planet Venus, another being the
reference to Fauna, who appears in a story in the brown book.  The
"longfather" might be another avatar of the New Sun, or a later name for The
Sleeper god of Ushas.  The astronomy of the story shows that it is taking
place in the northern hemisphere, and  that the stars are in the same
positions that they are today, so the story is probably set in the Age of

I don't know about you, but that "longfather" sounds a lot to me like a
certain FATHER Silk, aka the LONG Sun, who is fast becoming a culture hero
of Blue, and who heads off to the stars at the end of Return to the Whorl.
And that my friends, is the most compelling argument I have.



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