(urth) Borski and cacogens (Long)

b sharp bsharporflat at hotmail.com
Mon May 22 11:50:16 PDT 2006

>Thanks for your patience if you have read to the end
>of this.


Macronaut you DO pose a large number of questions which I appreciate!  I did 
have the patience to read through them all, though I'm not sure anyone else 
will want to ;-).  I think I can answer most of them, though some I may have 
to defer to a new, separate post. I think you answer some yourself though.

>What makes us think Father Inire and the Cumean have the ability to 
>shapeshift? And what makes >us think that FI and the C aren't wearing 

As you note, the Cumaean, when seen in 4 dimensions by Severian, really has 
the form of a headless (or endlessly long) snake with many faces on her 
back. I don't think any mask would make THAT look like an old woman.  
Regarding Father Inirie,  Borski identifies him as making many secret 
appearances.  In the two most obvious (servitor guides Severian to Green 
Room; guide with monkeyhead pole in the jungle) he is wearing a hood.  I 
think he makes some other appearances that Borski misses in which his face 
(shapeshifted) is showing.  As The Cumaean is snake-like, so I think Inire 
is monkey-like.  Note in the Jungle room of the Botanical Garden both a 
snake and a monkey are encountered.  But more on that in later posts.

On the Cumaean and Inire focused more on traversing distance than time:  
This was an off the cuff thought which may not be defendable.  But we are 
told explicitly that F, B and O travel in time we don't know this to be true 
of Inire and The Cumaean.  But they seem to have ways to suddenly appear 
here and there and tools to allow others to do so, also.

>And I don't think it's correct to say that the cacogens stay separate from 
>humanity -- on the
>contrary they seem to be regular visitors at the House Absolute>

F, B and O make a rare appearance at the House Absolute to see a very 
special performance by their favorite person, in his earlier years.  
Otherwise they keep completely separate from humanity. In Baldanders' 
castle, they make it clear the Lake people cannot enter until they leave.  
They show similar avoidance of humans on Ship Tzadkiel and in the ancient 
Stone Town of Apu Punchau.

On their lifespans: It is Baldanders who says F, B and O have a 20 year 
lifespan (like dogs, lol).  Later Severian comments on how much longer 
Father Inire has lived than the lifespan of his shortlived species.  How 
might he be prolonging his life?  Consider the Cumaean's namesake in 
Greek/Roman mythology. She was:  (a sybil, connection to Long Sun surely 

>the prophetic old women of Greek mythology; she guided Aeneas through Hades 
>in the Aeneid. >She had been granted immortality by Apollo, but because she 
>forgot to ask for perpetual youth, >she shrank into withered old age and 
>her authority 

On F, B and O's time sense:  I think it has previously been successfully 
argued that they only travel backward in time. They can't perceive time 
backward or they couldn't even have a conversation. To them the previous 
sentence would appear as:  .noitaservnoc a evah neve t'ndluoc yeht ro 
drawkcab emit eviecrep t'nac yehT.  But they do travel always backward in 
time while there is no evidence I know of that Inire and The Cumaean do.

Regarding Severian's choice of pathway to the stars:
>As for why Sev takes the ship, I think it has less to
do with the symbolism of this being an angelic form of
transport and much more to do with the fact that his
passage on the ship gives him the opportunity to prove
to Tzadkiel that Urth should be redeemed.  Tzadkiel
uses the voyage to familiarize herself with Sev and
his morals by appearing to him on the ship in various
forms (apport, Zak the crewman, the false epitome of
Urth, etc.).>

Exactly! If Severian had taken the mirrors he would have missed all that.  
Imagine Appian taking the mirrors, sitting down at a celestial table to do a 
few multiple choice and T/F questions.  In Foila's story she asks which path 
to take, the shortest or the best?  Choose the angel's path over the 
beasties, because they are closer to God.

Next question is a good one-
>What is the Cumean doing for humanity?

I think I know but would like to answer that in another (but soon 
forthcoming) post.


>Wolfe at one point suggests that the Commonwealth
>trades in human slaves in exchange for the
>Stellar-level technology they receive.  What do the
>cacogens do with those humans they take?>

I have not seen or noted this suggestion.  Now Typhon makes it clear he 
would do interstallar trade  in slaves but I assume that's not what you 
mean. Could you point me to the reference? It's possible I have an 

Okay, I think that addresses everything. How did I do????


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