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Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2003 21:39:21 -0700
From: maa32 
Subject: (urth) narrative errors and time displacement

Andrew points out that Triskele must have been around for more than a week if 
the time between Dorp and Silk's two visits are contiguous in time.  Of course 
you know my position: this isn't an error at all, but further proof that Silk 
can travel through time (I also argue that him showing up in Inclito's mother 
story with Oreb is another example of this time travel, but that's neither 
here nor there right now)

Everyone seems to have latched onto these small errors in memory, and I agree 
that it makes sense if Severian is trying to reconcile multiple memories 
(after all, the only reason I can think of that he spares Agia is because he 
already knows that she will save him from Vodalus) from interference in his 
time line.  However, these "errors" are as nothing compared to some of the 
most famous works of all time: in Anna Karenina, the text follows two 
different couples - for one couple, one less year passes than for the other 
couple during their period of separation, so that in a true master stroke of 
relativity Tolstoy omitted a year.  Dostoevsky is famous for having changing 
buildings: was that two stories or four in the police station?  Proust has 
THREE major characters die and then show up at the same party that confronts 
their death (of course, the party lasts for hundreds of pages ... ), including 
the influential Bergotte and the very important Dr. Cottard.  Did he forget 
that he killed these major characters off?  No author is perfect; my only 
problem with these errors in Book of the New Sun is that they are not 
egregious enough by themselves to point to anything.  If characters were dying 
and coming back to life like in Proust, there would certainly be more to work 
with ... And isn't Gravity's Rainbow is one huge seething mess of mutually 
exclusive events, but that's because Pynchon must have been stoned out of his 
mind when he wrote it ... and a bit of an ass, eh? (And do I really need to 
read a 900 page book to tell me that everything is relative and that I can't 
trust what I hear?  Thanks, but no thanks!)

Marc Aramini


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