(urth) Questions . . .

thalassocrat at nym.hush.com thalassocrat at nym.hush.com
Tue Nov 27 04:27:36 PST 2007

On Tue, 27 Nov 2007 11:42:17 +1100 Eric Ortlund 
<eortlund at briercrest.ca> wrote:
>Dear Friends,
>Forgive me again if I'm repeating old questions, but perhaps some 
>of you
>can help with the following . . .
>1) What is the larger significance of the story Sev reads to Jonas 

>the man fleshed from dreams?  I get that it's a re-working of the
>Theseus and Minotaur story, but is it anything more than an 
>interlude?  Is it some kind of commentary on the surrounding 
>narrative -
>or Jonas' story?  Severian finishes the story with a dismissive 
>about it being an idle tale, but I'm suspicious something more is 
>on here.

I think this fable might be partly a conflation of the Theseus myth 
with a story which is in fact Jonas' own. 

Something like this: The enclave of magicians is a research 
institute; the magical son is a robot; the story is perhaps a dim 
remembrance of a time when Abaia or his ilk began to oppress or 
threaten Urth, and humanity launched missions into space against 
them, crewed by robots. Jonas' voyage was one of those missions. 

The rather abrupt return-to-Athens-ending is perhaps a hint that, 
in fact, none of these missions ever returned, or not for aeons - 
the "Fortunate Cloud" was lost in the Coal Sack or whatever, and 
the story of the "victory" is really just a piece of wish 

I imagine it would have been quite poignant for Jonas, hearing his 
story conflated with a (to him) ancient myth - his past lost in 
deep time etc etc. 

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