(urth) Previous universe, was Re: Increate on trial

Roy C. Lackey rclackey at stic.net
Thu Mar 31 12:37:04 PST 2005

David Kirby quoted and wrote:

>Adam Stephanides wrote:
>> (Incidentally, I don't like the idea that the Sun cycle takes place in a
>> previous universe either -- I'd like to believe that it was something
>> dreamed up after the fact, so I could reject it with a clear
conscience --
>> but since Wolfe did say it, I feel I have to take it into account.)
>I've never understood the fascination with the "previous universe"
>theory, no matter what Wolfe said after writing the books. Surely the
>text of the books trumps post-book statements, and we're all familiar
>with "G.W."'s appendix, "A Note on the Translation," at the end of SHADOW:
>       > To those who have preceded me in the study of the post-
>       > historic world, and particularly to those collectors --
>       > too numerous to name here -- who have permitted me to
>       > examine artifacts surviving so many centuries of futurity,
>       > and most especially to those who have allowed me to visit
>       > and photograph the era's few extant buildings, I am
>       > grateful.
>There is no question that the Urth Cycle, "originally composed in a
>tongue that has not yet achieved existence," chronicles the future.

It's not that clear cut. In URTH Sev says that "in a previous manvantara"
the Hieros shaped the Hierogrammates. (137) But in the chapter "The Key to
the Universe" in CITADEL (too much to quote here; the last few pages), he
says that the Hierogrammates exist in Yesod, outside of Time and the cycle
of expanding and collapsing universes. He also says, in effect, that with
each succeeding cycle an evolution takes place so that "all things advance
by some minute step". That logically implies -- no, compels -- the
advancement to follow whatever went before.

But then, Sev also says: "I was not told what became of the Humanity of that
cycle." and "From that vantage point [Yesod] they [the Hierogrammates] look
both forward and back, and in so looking they have discovered us. Perhaps we
are no more than a race like that who shaped them. Perhaps it was we who
shaped them - or our sons - or our fathers. Malrubius said he did not know,
and I believe he told the truth. However it may be, they shape us now as
they themselves were shaped; it is at once their repayment and their
revenge." (242)  This implies that the Hieros could have come from a past,
present, or future universe -- or so I read it. Ditto for the Urth cycle.


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