(urth) Abaia & co.

Roy C. Lackey rclackey at stic.net
Thu May 18 23:43:23 PDT 2006

mourning's glory quoted Dan'l and wrote:

>> > I do wonder about this. Is there any specific (textual) reason to
>> > suppose that the Megatherians, at least some of them, _don't_
>> > survive the coming of the White Fountain? Thematically it makes
>> > some sense, but it also makes thematic sense that at least some
>> > _do_ survive --
>Survive, yes; thrive, no. "Their power surpasses understanding, and I know
>now that they could crush us in a day if it were not that they count only
>enslavement, and not annihilation, as victory." So if a flood wiped out all
>of their current slaves (the Ascians), as well as most of their potential
>future ones (everyone else), they probably wouldn't even stay -- certainly,
>unless they were irretrievably stranded, they would have little reason to
>prolong their mission.

This is one of those areas where Wolfe strains my credulity a tad thin. I
mean, Abaia & co. are reputed to be literally as big as mountains. Even
Jonas affirmed that improbable size. I don't know if the upheaval of
continents occasioned by the passage of the white fountain would harm a
"mountain" or not, but if they did survive and wanted to leave Ushas, how
could something(s) that big ever get off the planet? If they did die with
Urth, there must have been a monumental stench in the early days of Ushas.

Typhon said something that implied that they had not been on Urth in his
era. "But I have lived almost a day [since Severian revived him] and have
sent my thought into far places. There are powers in the seas now who would
rule. They will become our slaves, and the hordes of the north are theirs."
(SWORD. chapter XXVI) That "now" suggests to me that they were something new
to him.

The undines as "brides" of Abaia strikes me as ludicrous unless bride is
meant metaphorically, in the sense that nuns are said to be brides of
Christ. Juturna was big -- about sixty feet tall at the Cephissus -- but
still quite small in comparison to a mountain. Undines as sexual playthings?
On the last day of Urth, Baldanders had grown to about twelve feet tall, and
the rest of his body seemed to be in proportion to his height. His eardrums
had grown so thick he was almost deaf. Even so, as a sexual partner for
Juturna, I don't think he would measure up.

As for Severian and Juturna; perhaps I lack sufficient imagination, but I
just don't see him as being of much use to that scarlet-eyed hussy. <g>


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