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From: "Alice K. Turner" 
Subject: Re: (urth) Whorl <> Second Empire
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 20:38:46 -0400

mantis said:
> I also think that Typhon is offering Severian Urth, not the entire solar
> system.  Implying that there will be an autarch of Verthandi and an
> of Skuld, etc.  Which brings us to the question: how many of the several
> worlds he claims to have controlled were located in the solar system
> itself, and how much interstellar reach did he ever have, anyway?

Agreed, and I'm sure Nutria does too; it's a clear New Testament echo. And I
don't think he had any interstellar reach whatsoever; there's no proof that
hierodules were visiting in his time even if "living backward."

> As for the scope of the First Empire, there is talk in the text, iirc, of
> the humans leaping from galaxy to galaxy. So if we take this for truth,
> then it is an intergalactic empire.
> There does seem to be FTL travel, but in that can of worms it seems to me
> that one must establish a model of how it works, because it does not seem
> to be as simple as a Star Trek warp drive.  I sense that the space ships
> (the tenders) are as innocent of acceleration as Le Guin's starships:
> theirs are reactionless drives that go from the ground to the sky in the
> twinkle of an eye, without crushing the human passengers into goo or
> leaving a radioactive crater.  And yet, for all of that, the starship
> (which seems to operate under similar if not the same rules) still takes
> months of travel before it crosses over into hyperspace.
> When they sail out of Briah, is that literally the Grand Gnab they are
> seeing, or is it just a visual effect?  If it is real then the ship is
> something like a quasar that avoids the monobloc, and travel back to
> at any point in its timeline, becomes problematic.  Or so it seems to me.
> A detail which causes no end of arguments is the nature of timeflow in
> hyperspace.  I think it flows in a direction opposite to that in Briah, so
> that rather than "instantaneous" interstellar travel one gets something
> more like "retrogressive" interstellar travel -- you arrive long before
> ever left.  (Some trips could be made to seem Star Trek warp-like by
> juggling the ride up to Yesod and the ride down from Yesod: these periods
> of pseudoacceleration will always be in Briah (i.e., positive) time, so
> months of the ride up will be mirrored by the months of pseudodeceleration
> -- added to the timeflow perceived by the crew, of course, but possibly
> close to instantaneous to a viewer outside of the Ship.)  A side effect of
> this would mean that the galaxy becomes populated by Earth in the
> increasingly deep past, and far travelers who return to Earth will find
> themselves in the far past.  But this on the surface contradicts what we
> think we know about Jonas, who is presented as a sailor from the past,
> washed up on Urth's shores by relativistic effects (yet as I say, these
> effects will come into play as the Ship is riding down from Yesod).
> I have said too much.

No, you haven't. It'a just a consequence of GW's having tried to cobble
several sf traditions together that sensibly shouldn't be cobbled. NS not
only has FtL effects, but the ship, through some post-Einsteinian doodah
that makes my head spin can get there before it started. LS has tradional
(in sf) generational travel, and seems pretty well thought out. SS has
instantaneous magic flights to other planets that hark back to Burroughs.
What's not to be confused about? Sometimes I think you guys spend a lot more
time than the author did trying to make sense of all this.

Matthew Malthouse, that was a nice post about Hindustani, Hindi and Urdu.
I've tried to explain this myself (lived in India for a while) but never so

Marc, I love the last volume of Proust's RoTP--just about makes it worth
slogging through the rest .



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