(urth) Severians Later Appearance (Spoilers)

brunians at brunians.org brunians at brunians.org
Mon Jan 18 23:28:23 PST 2010

BTW, James, you are exactly right that Wolfe said something indeterminate
and that I assumed some on top of that. I still *think* I am correct in
thinking that Hyacinth is genetically female, but I no longer believe that
Wolfe confirmed that.

Should I meet him again I shall ask him in more detail.


>> Not to bring up the old "authorial fallacy" here, but if he wrote
>>the books in such a way that they support the "male chem/once
>>male" possibility in a way that doesn't contradict it and in fact
>>makes it a compelling possibility, it doesn't matter what he said
>>after the fact.
> Yeah, but (for me) puzzling over Wolfe's stories is interesting because I
> believe there is a "right" answer. I don't think it matters to the basic
> plot of the story whether Hyacinth is a male chem or not (my old theory,
> not
> yours). Nor whether Incus is a woman or Tussah and Horn are a clones of
> Typhon.  These details only matter because we think they mattered to the
> author. When I decided that I would never be able to prove important
> details
> about An Evil Guest to *my own* satisfaction, I lost interesting in trying
> to find the answers. But I still like the universe Wolfe imagined.
> However, I suppose it is cheating to for Josh to declare the
> "transgendered"
> theory is dead because of a reaction that he *inferred* from Wolfe's
> response. Especially since his reaction was to *my* theory about Hy being
> a
> male chem (my attempt to pull all of --what I understood to be-- the loose
> threads together into one neat little explanation). I mean, the problem as
> I
> see it is that Josh doesn't need to counter with any evidence. He just
> says,
> "I heard Wolfe say something indeterminant and I divined this and that."
> It reminds me of *some* of the resistance I faced on this list when I
> posited the "male chem" theory. One person said that Wolfe would never
> have
> a "moral exemplar" character involved in a homosexual relationship...even
> though a relationship with a transgendered male chem would not be
> homosexual
> or heterosexual since their sexes are strictly formal (or at least I
> thought
> so at the time). Nor would a man having sex with a "female" robot be any
> more or less perverse than doing it with a so-called "male" robot. And
> Wolfe
> did have a character have sex with a robot in "Counting Cats In Zanzibar".
> Anyway, it's frustrating to face that kind of resistance. At least, Josh's
> response was better than that. He made a serious attempt to check it out.
> Still, "Hy is a transgendered male chem" is a pretty wild theory. But I
> didn't walked away from it because of Josh's report.  I continued to roll
> it
> around in my mind with other theories for a long time like Captain Queeg
> and
> his ball bearings (it was fun) until I decided I had latched onto one that
> was solid enough to make all the others irrelevant.  The thing is, I know
> that Gene misdirects about his stories all the time. He seems to enjoy
> dropping hints that don't mean what we often think they do. I remember
> when
> Marc Aramini reported that Wolfe had told him [in response to his "Blue
> Ushas" theory] "No, Urth is Green!". Then a short time later, Wolfe
> reportedly just sighed and said "I should just keep my mouth shut". Some
> people still like the Blue Ushas theory, even though Marc (last I heard)
> had
> discarded it because of what Wolfe told him. I don't think Urth is Green
> nor
> that the Short Sun is Sol even though I toyed for a good while after that
> with Blue being Verthandi (I even scoured a map of Mars looking for a
> mountain range that might qualify as Lizard Island).
>> I mean,
>> any book that requires the author to explain it or to
>>verify things beyond the covers of the book seems
>>like a failed book.
> I would be the one most likely to agree with this in most cases, yet I
> don't
> in the case of Wolfe's novels. For example, consider Auk kidnapping
> Hyacinth. There's no way we would know emphatically why he had done that
> and
> why he let her go if Wolfe had not explained it. I had four or five
> possible
> explanations in mind for Tussah's prediction "The son not of my body shall
> be Calde after me." But it took an answer to a question posed to Wolfe for
> me to settle on one. Still, I find this 7 volume novel to be one of
> Wolfe's
> most satisfying.  If Wolfe had not confirmed that Dorcas was Severian's
> grandmother, it would still be a highly controversial theory. Does that
> make
> The Book of the New Sun a failed work?
> And in many cases the questions thought to be unresolvable merely haven't
> been considered with enough intensity. Many people seem to find the basic
> plot of "Peace" (How did everyone die? What's the deal with the guy
> slamming
> oranges against the big metal doors? etc?) to be inscrutable. But it was
> clear to me, the first time I read it--after I thought about it a few
> days.
> Regards,
> James,
> The Absolute Lord of Unpopular Theories
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