(urth) Black hole timing, "punishment" etc
thalassocrat at nym.hush.com
thalassocrat at nym.hush.com
Tue Jun 10 17:39:56 PDT 2008
Looking back through the scenes in UTONS following Sev's return to
Urth from Yesod, I do get a strong impression that the sun has
already been in decline for some time.
As far as I can see, in Typhon's time Sev never comments that the
sun seems brighter than in his time, that he can no longer see the
stars by daylight etc etc etc.
Obviously, things are at least a little warmer: eg there are
orchards in places where fruit couldn't grow in his time. But
overall the "two parts in a thousand" drop seems to have produced a
situation not hugely different to Sev's time in terms of general
"look & feel". And I think it is clear that before the drop, the
situation would still have been pretty unlike ours - this drop in
our sun's output wouldn't be enough to produce stars by daylight
So in terms of Typhon's words quoted by Roy, I go for a reading on
which the astronomers knew that the sun had been in decline for a
more-or-less lengthy period, and were surprised when it suddenly
dropped a notch instead of continuing to decline smoothly &
(I guess that the sudden drop was caused by the Hierogrammates, to
trigger a cisis, and set the stage for the New Sun "religion" and
the establishment of the line of Autarchs. From quotes below, it's
evident that Sev returns to Urth a couple of years after the drop
There's nothing in this to tell us when the black hole came into
being, of course, but it does leave open the possibility that it
was in Apu Panchau's time.
Some of the events upon Sev's return to urth also serve IMO as a
grim satire on the myth that it had anything to do with
"punishment" or was a measure taken to curb violent humanity or
In Typhon's time, the notion that "sky people" have wounded the sun
as a punishment has general currency, at least amongst the
villagers Sev meets when returns to Urth from Yesod (UOTNS XXIX):
Villager: "It snowed before the corn was ripe. This is the second
year .. The sky people are angry with us."
Sev's response: "The sky people - the Hierodules and Hierachs - do
not hate us. It is only that they are remote from us, and they fear
us because of the things we did before, long ago when our race was
A little later, another villager says: "All our lives we have gone
to the high places and sent the smoke of offerings to them, yet the
sky people are angry and send us frost. Men in Nessus say the sun
grows cold - ... We have gone to the high places as our fathers
did. We ... burned our best ram before the frost came..."
Sev "tried to tell them how the Hierodules feared us because we had
spread through the worlds in the ancient times of Urth's glory,
extinguishing many other races and bringing our wars everywhere."
Some of the villagers nod as if they understand ....
Well, maybe, but if Sev hadn't performed a couple of miracles
they'd be shooing him away as a lunatic. The notion of "sky people"
fearing these pre-industrial peasants inhabiting a resource-
depleted world is as absurd as the idea that any kind of justice is
served by their suffering for the alleged crimes of distant
If punishment or restraint were intended, why not *before*,
*during* or *immediately after* the allegedly violent eruption of
I don't think there's a good argument that these peasants are just
enduring the after effects of a punishment/restraint delivered long
before. The old humans were not restrained; they spread through the
worlds, and they're still there.
And the only ones who seem to be suffering or restrained are these
peasants. The simple, consistent, plausible reading is that this is
just what was intended: keep Urth people down, so that when it's
time they will be easy to kill off.
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