(urth) Urth vs. Earth

b sharp bsharporflat at hotmail.com
Wed Jun 18 07:37:19 PDT 2008

Duncan says:

>I don't know about you lot, but the word "Isangoma" is a totally
>everyday word to me that means shaman/witch doctor
>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sangoma). It's not a Wolfe word, it's a
>real life word from now. Wolfe must have intended this scene to be in
>our past (early/mid 1900s, if I recall the air/aeroplane correctly). I
>think Isangoma is too specific to not mean what I think it means.

I believe almost all the vocabulary in this series are "real life words" 
which have meaning in our world. Yes, the Jungle Hut scene surely 
took place a few decades in our past. Borsky contends that Isangoma
is really Father Inire and I tend to agree. Not such a stretch to think
Father Inire could fit in as a witch doctor in early 20th centuray Africa.
And he is the source of much of the Earth material and legend which can
be found on Urth.

Regarding debate over whether the events on Urth represent events in
our Earth's future or a previous universal iteration I'll offer some Gene
Wolfe quotes from the James Jordan interview, for those interested in 
the author's intention: 

>JJ: This universe that you set in Briah, or part of it--is that our universe? 

>GW: No. I thought of it as a long past universe. Something that we are 
>repeating rather than something that we are......(snip).....I was looking at 
>what past universes might have been like really and that is how...I began 
>with the idea of what is going to happen to us if we just keep going the way 
>we are going and continue to live on the continent of Earth without ever 
>really going into the sea or going into space and we just wait for the money 
>to run out. The do nothing future and thinking about what that would be. And 
>then I got into the idea of universal cycles. And decided that I would show 
>that this might be a past cycle.

For those interested, I think this interview shows Wolfe at his most open
and revealing mood on a number of topics. The Lawrence Person interview is
comparable in that Wolfe spills the beans on 5HoC.

The i’m Talkathon starts 6/24/08.  For now, give amongst yourselves.

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