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Subject: Re: (urth) (TBOTN) Utter speculation
From: matthew.malthouse@guardian.co.uk
Date: Fri, 20 Jun 2003 08:33:30 +0100

On 19/06/2003 18:47:44 Craig Brewer wrote:

>I've been thinking about the Wall of Nessus and
>Baldander's assertion (ch. 35 of Shadow) that the open
>space inside the walls wasn't for Nessus' expansion.
>But something about the sheer size and height of the
>walls made me wonder how far off it would be to
>suggest that Nessus wasn't always a city but that it
>was initially (possibly) one huge space pad. Assuming
>that the walls are circular, then would it be possible
>that what we have is some kind of base for a huge
>cylinder, like...the Whorl?

I can think of two mundane reasons for the space inside the wall.

First to enclose farming land or other resources.  That actually doesn't 
stand up very well because a technology that could build the wall is 
unlikely to be menaced by a purely ground based attack to the concept of 
"wall" is redundant unless there was more too it (speculations about 
forcefield domes have been made here in the past).

The second, and I think more logical potential reason is that the open 
space within the wall is a killing ground - a space left bare to provide 
the forces within the wall an unobstructed field of fire.

Such can be seen around fortifications built in our history but usually 
outside the walls so why a killing ground _inside_ the walls of Nessus.

Nessus - or rather the Citadel - is a space port; we might infer an 
important one.  If it's the point of entry for cacogens or humans 
returning from the empire it's an obvious danger zone and one might well 
want to keep affective guns trained on it.  Thus Nessus isn't "within" the 
wall but "outside it, the wall enclosing the rest of the world.

There's nothing I can recall to directly support this but consider that 
Nessus once much smaller; had the space port / Citadel to it's north while 
now the Citadel is in the southern inhabited reaches of the city.  My 
impression was always that the circle formed by the wall was centered on 
the Citadel - again, no recalled evidence - and that the presence of 
Nessus, the city, was actually unrelated to the existence of the wall.

If that's credible then one should ask why the prohibition remains long 
after it ceased to be meaningful.  One reason is the inertia such things 
have, law become custom and the Commonwealth seems riddled with such. 
Another is that as Nessus grew from a seaport to a great metropolis, the 
largest concentration of people and thus trouble in the realm, subsequent 
Autarchs might have appreciated the wisdom of not having the rabble wash 
up right to the foot of the fortifications.

Oh, and as for the Whorl I'm fairly sure Marble describes being ferried up 
to it with an implication that it was constructed in orbit.



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