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From: "Roy C. Lackey" 
Subject: FW: (urth) Typhon, Sev, Silk
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 2003 13:26:08 -0600

NOTE: Dan'l is apparently having some sort of difficulty affecting his
ability to post to the list, so he responded to my post offlist. The text
between the dashed lines is his.

NOTE 2: I sent this last night, but it bounced. What's going on?
-----Original Message-----
From: Dan'l Danehy-Oakes 
To: Roy C. Lackey 
Date: Wednesday, March 12, 2003 2:49 PM
Subject: FW: (urth) Typhon, Sev, Silk


Currently unable to post because of address stupidity, so replying
in person. If you feel like responding to any of this on list feel

First a "bravo!" to your main thesis -- Sev as Typhon's son simply does
not work for precisely the thematic reasons you put forth. (I also
but could not post, a note on the question of just where Don believes
all these clones are coming from -- Silk-as-a-clone-of-Typhon is of
course an exception to this question -- but where are all these,
fresh and viable, clones of Ymar coming from, a chiliad later, and how
did they get growed, e.g., who put the one that grew into Severian into
Katherine's belly? Etc.)

So I totally agree that far.

I have a slight complaint with this: "You can't just kill the Devil,
or the game is over." This kind of trivializes the whole Problem Of
Evil[tm] as a game God is playing with humans; Wolfe, as a Catholic
Christian, won't buy that approach for a New York minute.

> Typhon was the baddest man in the whole damn galaxy,


> so bad that the Increate apparently thought it worth the death
> of millions of innocents on Urth to undo the great wrong he had
> done.

Ummm ... I don't think this is quite accurate, for two reasons.

First, I'm pretty sure it's the Hieros, not the Increate, who have
sentenced Urth to isolation and de-Sol-ation, cosmic quarantine, etc.
Though of course one can then turn around and say, "Yeah, but they
work for the Increate" -- but is there any direct hint that the
Increate has commanded this thing?

Second, though, I have the distinct impression that it is the
warlike (or colonialistic?) tendencies of humanity-in-general that
result in the wounding of the Old Sun -- Typhon, I gather, is
"responsible" more as an "epitome" of the Old Adam than as a
unique case.

> Silk, we are told (ad nauseam), is a veritable saint. He is
> so holy that the Outsider (aka, the Increate) intervenes
> directly in his life, time and again. How can Silk be a
> clone of Typhon? They are whorls apart, mythologically and
> theologically.

Two answers to this, one theological (i.e., thematic) and one
technological (i.e., stfnal).

Stfnally speaking, I don't think Wolfe would propound a "genetics
is destiny" approach to cloning -- that is, _if_ Silk were a
clone of the original Typhon, which I agree is a debateable
claim though I tend to think it has merit, there is no reason to
assume that he would grow up to be the same kind of personality
as Typhon, any more than identical twins are "the same" person.

Thematically ... well, that's a little harder to explain, but it
seems to make sense at a thematic level. Typhon is terribly
concerned about keeping his true face (which is why he wants a
whole-head transplant rather than a brain transplant); when we
find that he has designated this body, Silk's, for his own use,
I think we're supposed to conclude that it has his face. Silk's
"mutant" leadership abilities may be precisely the "face of
command" that Typhon is so worried about. (The "true parents" of
Silk's vision while buried dead-alive could, as has been pointed
out, easily be Typhon's parents...)
     The Outsider intervenes, in various ways, in everyone's life;
or they would have no life, no hope. It has been suggested that
Long/Short tells, as an underlying or hidden story, of the Outsider's
plan for the salvation of Typhon/Pas ... If Severian is not "really"
Christ, but someone (unknowingly) living out an imitatio Christi,
then Typhon is not really Satan: and therefore not beyond at least
the possibility of redemption.
     ... well, wait: the Typhon on Urth probably is; he explicitly
rejects, not once but several times, the Conciliator. But Pas is
another question entirely ... we don't know when Typhon was scanned,
whether it was before or after he encountered Severian for the first
time (on his timeline), do we?


Typhon had to have been scanned and the _Whorl_ launched _before_ his first
encounter with Sev. Typhon was already besieged on his mountain at that
point and had no ship available to get him off the planet; there were many
such ships aboard the _Whorl_. As Sev was able to prophesy to his guards, in
URTH, judging from the progress of the work left to do on the mountain,
Typhon would die behind his curtain not too long after that encounter.

It's unclear from the text whether it was Typhon or agents of the Increate
who caused the wounding of the sun. What is clear, in LICTOR, is that before
Typhon's reign there was no need of a New Sun. Typhon was no Savior, and the
_Whorl_ was not launched to make things right with the Increate. He was part
of the Problem, not the Solution. His was the evil personality scanned into
Mainframe. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, in LS/SS to indicate that
Typhon/Pas "got religion" or otherwise underwent some sort of miraculous
transformation from sinner to saint. Garbage in; garbage out.

Whatever plans Typhon may have had for any hypothetical clone/enhanced
embryo, there is no mechanism in the text(s) that will allow me to believe
that he planned to leave that ship otherwise than as the same megalomaniac
who launched it. That Pas _seems_ to be a much more benign figure than
Typhon, I won't argue with; but how did he get that way, if he is? To say
that the Outsider reformed his scanned personality is a copout; the Outsider
might as well have done it back on Urth and avoided the whole ugly mess and
the destruction of thousands of lives lost to Typhon's machinations.

But I'm straying from the subject.



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