(urth) Urth geochronology

Jeff Wilson jwilson at io.com
Mon Jul 31 20:02:35 PDT 2006

Jeffrey Lefstin wrote:
>>Jeff Wilson wrote:
>>More ambiguous. At one point he says Urth is "perhaps a million years 
>>our future."
> If we were really trying to deduce the age of Urth from the text, it 
> must be older than that.  At several points Severian mentions the lack 
> of volcanic activity on Urth and the solidification of the Urth's 
> interior.  I'm not a geologist, but a few million years, or even a few 
> tens of millions of years, isn't going to cut it if we assume that 
> volcanic activity has ceased due to natural cooling and decay.

We can't assume it's natural because one of the Great Beasts (Erebus) 
lives in/on/as a volcanic mountain itself. They sap energy from Urth the 
same way the black beans/worms sap the old sun. This, combined with the 
19th century refrigeration model gleaned from old books that are the 
source of other similar misteachings, more than explain the apparent 
deviation from 1981 geology.

> But since Wolfe is not a hard SF writer I wouldn't make too much of it.

Gene Wolfe is a very hard SF writer when he wishes to be; in "How I Lost 
the Second World War and Helped Turn Back the German Invasion" , victory 
in a motor race hinges on the quantum mechanical workings of the 

Jeff Wilson - jwilson at io.com
< http://www.io.com/~jwilson >

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