From: "Nigel Price"
Subject: (urth) Blue and Green Date: Mon, 23 Dec 2002 23:47:40 -0000 Marc wrote: >>I've already proposed several mechanisms, and >>Nigel Price has come up with an interesting >>further interpretation of the star system that >>is fascinating and may explain the theme of the >>doubled limbs. I take GW's comment to Marc very seriously, and believe that it is true, at least at a symbollic level. Green is, in part, a satire on greedy, warring, self-destroying Urth/Earth. Here is part of my recent off-list correspondence with Marc on the subject. >Hi Marc! > >OK, I've been thinking. Unusual, I know, but >true nevertheless. > >Thought #1: GW told you that Green is Urth, but >that doesn't preclude the possibility that Blue is >Ushas. > >My reasoning - or rather, my fragile chain of loose, >associative, links - goes as follows. > >I always thought that there was a symbollic polarisation >at the end of Long Sun. If you made it to a lander, >you could go to Blue or to Green. Blue was good. Green >was bad. > >As far as I understood, somewhere in the grand, allusive, >quasi-allegorical scheme of things, this was somehow an >image of Death and Judgement. > >Now, of course, if it had been any other author playing >with this sort of complex and symbolic material, this >would have played out as a clear cut binary split. Blue >would have been heaven and Green would have been hell. >Instead, because GW loves hierarchies and because things >are always resolutely themselves as well as something >else, Blue is good, but not heaven, not least because of >the proximity of Green and the infiltration of inhumi >from Green to Blue. Green is hellish and horrible, but >not hell itself. Even there on Green, there is the >possibility of heroism and generosity. > >So Blue is hopeful and has the potential to be an urthly >paradise, and Green is horrible but possibly redeemable. >Not Heaven, not Hell, but heavenly and hellish with the >possibility that each can influence and even move towards >the state of the other. > >In New Sun and UotNS, we see that there are multiple time >streams. The research station in the Last House observes >the various possibilities. Urth can end in cold and >eternal night, or it can be reborn to new life. Severian >brings the New Sun and the Urth is purged and becomes >Ushas, a cleansed and higher, better place. > >But what if, in the light of the observations from the >Last House, we're supposed to see that Urth, like >Shrodinger's Cat, both dies and lives, becomes ever more >desolate and corrupt as well as being renewed and refreshed. >Ushas and Urth exist side by side, twin planetary >possibilities. > >Now Green is not the Urth of a dead or dying sun, but rather >the Urth which is given a new sun but is not in the process >cleansed and renewed. It has physical life in abundance, but >is morally bankrupt. The life on Green is fecund and vigorous, >but cannibalistic and corrupt, torturously self-devouring >like the symbollically significant huge and fearsome trees. > >Blue could be Ushas - Urth flooded, cleansed and renewed. > >The new binary duality is not Urth and Lune, but Ushas and >Urth. Both are renewed compared to the Urth of the >Commonwealth, but Green/Urth is only physically, not morally >or spiritually, renewed. > >Maybe! > >Thought #2: Roger Zelazny, a very different sort of author to >GW, but a master in his own, mercurial way, had a strange way >of adding depth and interest to his fictional characters and >worlds. He used to invent a fact or an episode about his hero >and then *not* include it in the book or story he was writing. >The fact was carefully worked out and developed, and he >sometimes even wrote out in full the story about the character >which he was not going to tell the reader. Zelazny's idea was >that knowing but not revealing this information would make his >creations more real and rounded. After all, when do we ever >know everything about a real person, even someone we know well? > >Now, Zelazny would sometimes drop hints in his stories or make >unexplained references to the unrevealed episode, but that's as >far as he would allow himself to go, although once or twice he >published the "lost" episode as a separate story in its own right. > >My understanding of GW's literary practice hitherto has been >that although there are gradations of certainty within his >method, he gives the reader everything they need to know to be >able to work out the most important mysteries of his stories. >The answers to minor or tangential concerns may be left less >defined or even unresolved, but the central matters are >ultimately determined, though difficult to discern. > >The revelation that Green is Urth leaves me wondering, however, >whether GW is not borrowing Zelazny's technique and introducing >elements into his story which only he knows and which are >impossible for the reader ever to work out by themselves. If >that is the case, then we would have to suppose either that he >is being deliberately frustrating, or that such matters as he >completely hides are of themselves unimportant. > >Does GW really think that it's obvious to the intelligent >reader that Green is Urth? No one on the list has guessed >this, and there are some bright sparks out there who are >devoted and assiduous readers too. > >Marc, you asked: > >>does this mean the man with the limp on top >>of the tower was Severian? Is the tower on >>Green the Matachin Tower?! Has the water >>drained? Weird, eh? > >Utterly, utterly weird. The foregoing ruminations not >withstanding, I am still stunned. > >You commented: > >>I don't know - is Blue Lune, or is it some kind of >>re-aquafied Mars knocked out of orbit? I guess its Lune. >>Weird, huh? Where did the water come from?!! > >I'd wondered about the Mars option, but dismissed it. On >consideration, Lune seems all wrong too. > >No, I stick to Blue=Ushas, at least symbolically, if not >literally. More on this anon! Nigel ** Hear what John Culshaw sounded like before he became ** famous and what George Barford said to the man from ** the future! ** http://moorhousepartnership.co.uk/ud.htm --