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Date: Sun, 9 Mar 2003 10:24:49 -0800
From: Michael Andre-Driussi 
Subject: Re: (urth) DOORS: more places

Stone Ox wrote:
>While we're on the subject, I've had some more ideas on Marea.
>Marea means "tide" in Spanish.  This should mean it's on the
>Pacific, in a formerly Spanish-speaking area.  (Does this mean
>the Mexican-American war still took place in Otherworld?)  The
>two obvious candidates are San Francisco and Los Angeles, and
>neither of these names is possible in Otherworld.  The red-faced
>man says Marea is at the "foot of the mountains," which
>describes Los Angeles somewhat better.

I googled "Marea" before, if I didn't mention it, and one of the
interesting things that bubbled up was a town of that name, in ancient
Egypt.  Located, iirc, to the west of the Nile on the side of a nice lake.

Oh, here's the note: city, 331 BCE to 16th century, 44 km SW of Alexandria,
on Lake Maryut. Name meaning "By Lake."

Re: that red faced man, I keep meaning to bring this up: he must be an
alcoholic, right?  His red face.  (And he's probably a visitor, since he
passes on cryptic information which seems to be right on target.)  This
becomes important later when it is shown that visitors and other public
oddballs are brought into the hospital under the cover of alcoholism.

>So Marea is probably Los Angeles.  Where would Overwood be?
>It contains Crystal Gorge, the Metal Forest, Giants' Castle, The
>Goddess's Pleasure Garden, forbidding narrow valleys and
>mountains with snow-white peaks, including Mt Hieros.  So it's
>probably somewhere in the Sierras.  Mt. Whitney and Death
>Valley?  King's Canyon and Sequoia National Park?  Yosemite
>and Hetch-Hetchee (in which case Marea would have to be San
>Francisco)?  My current favorite is Death Valley and the
>surrounding mountains; it's very apropos for a forbidden place,
>and fits in beautifully with mantis' theory that men go to
>Overwood to sacrifice themselves.

Another point of geography: California is mentioned in the text, but by
Green who wonders about wine . . . can't find a note of it, can't find it
in the text right now.  Anyway, California is mentioned, I'm pretty sure,
but only in speculation by Green as to what the rest of Otherworld is like.

In addition, there is Marcella the movie star, with implications of
Hollywood (there's that "-wood" again), pointing toward California.
Especially since Marcella is just a mundane cover for the goddess . . . but
this cuts both ways: if Marcella and her implied Hollywood are a mundane
cover, then they cannot be the real thing (goddess and Overwood).

Marea.  On a lake, it could be Salt Lake City, which is hardly at the foot
of the mountains when I was thinking of something more like Denver.
Another point is that it can be reached by train directly (which
technically might rule out San Francisco).

North says the goddess's place is 10,000 square miles (p. 60).  This
translates into something like 640 * 10,000 = 6,400,000 acres.  Death
Valley is 1,907,760 acres, so yes, that would be something like one third
of the total.  The goddess's land seems contiguous, so building out from
there it shouldn't be too hard to carve out an area.

"Crystal Gorge," "Metal Forest," and "Giant's Castle" sound like they could
be desert locations: the second could be a "petrified forest" and the last
could be any of the rock formations at Joshua Tree (or even a take on Death
Valley's "Scotty's Castle," if we haven't mentioned that before).

So maybe Marea is on Lake Havasu, and the goddess owns counties San
Bernardino and Inyo?

If Yosemite, then I think Marea would be at Mono Lake on the Eastern Side.
Actually, this rings very strongly with my sense of what Marea is like!
Mono Lake is at the foot of the Sierra Nevadas, in a desert area; yet up
into those mountains you get into the wonderful greenery of Yosemite.  Plus
Mono Lake is an unusual landscape all its own (yep, you've seen it in
photos from Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" to who knows where else).

So yes, a connection between Yosemite, Kings, Sequoia, and Death Valley
looks quite good, I think!

PLACE           ACRES
Yosemite          761,320
Kings/Sequoia     386,863
Death Valley    1,907,760
Connective Land    ??

I wonder if Gene Wolfe isn't also thinking about divorce laws: about how
women used to go to Reno (or any other place in Nevada), stay in a camp to
establish residency, and then be able to get a quick divorce?  This would
be a goddess-like thing to do: to a viewer from the Otherworld it would
look like a pilgrimage to a place sacred to the goddess, afterwhich the
pilgrim would become more like the goddess herself.



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