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From: "Roy C. Lackey" 
Subject: Re: (urth) Blue as Ushas - long
Date: Fri, 15 Nov 2002 23:48:32 -0600

Don Doggett wrote:
>    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
>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
>is ultimately about us, on Urth (earth).  What does a Starcrosser
>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.

Rather than argue the nuts-and-bolts, let me address the thematic
objections. As you acknowledge, the galaxy had been conquered long ago by
the First Empire. The effect of Urth being turned into Ushas was largely
symbolic; it wasn't going to wipe out the human race. It was much too late
for that. The wounding of Urth's sun, whether directly by Typhon's actions
or as retribution for them, had no galaxy-wide ripple effect. Agents of the
Increate, judging from Apheta's testimony, were constrained, somewhat, by
the laws of physics from punishment en masse.

To credit the two-headed madman Sev met on the mountain in the Age of the
Monarch with building and launching the _Whorl_ with the intent of having it
return, a thousand years in the future, to restock the planet with the flora
and fauna and, especially, the people of old Urth, presupposes that Typhon
knew the future. More specifically, that Typhon knew that the Conciliator
would come, that the New Sun would supplant him, that all his works,
including his monumental carved mountain, would be drowned with little or no
trace remaining to show that he had ever existed. That is not the
megalomaniac I read about in NS. Typhon was a bad guy, not a savior. Typhon
was emblematic of the problem, not the solution.

Unless you are suggesting that Typhon launched the _Whorl_ for his own
reasons that had nothing to do with a planned return to either Urth or
Ushas--that if it did return to the planet from which it was launched, it
did so by accident or third-party design--then I don't see how Blue can be

>  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
>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.

Remember that David Hartwell apparently thought that the original four
volumes of the NS needed some sort of coda, which led Wolfe to write URTH. I
don't know, but I suspect, that Wolfe felt some obligation to tie the LS and
SS series to NS. Wolfe corresponds with various members of this list, has
answered questions submitted by list members about the LS books, and was
probably aware before he wrote it that many of his most faithful readers
*wanted* Sev to make an appearance in SS. I feel almost certain that the
business about Sev's "sister" in SS was a direct bow in this general

>    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.

I don't think you need to resort to FTL travel. At near-but-sub-light
speeds, the _Whorl_ could have experienced 1/3 the subjective time-passage
of the millenium that elapsed on Urth. Just have the ship travel in a big

Or are you suggesting that the Blue of Horn's day was in the far future of
the Ushas that Sev saw? That a new civilization (Neighbors) had risen from
the mud of Urth-come-Ushas, that the new civilization had fallen to ruin,
both on Ushas and Lune, and abandoned both worlds for greener pastures
around another star?



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