(urth) Lives of the Great Beasts

Milton Jackson miltonwjackson at gmail.com
Sat Jul 3 17:23:58 PDT 2010

I''ve always wondered. Do you guys think Erebus and Abaia actually exist, or
are they perhaps some kind of boogeymen like the Green Knight dreamed up to
instill fear in the land dwellers? They never actually come into the story,
and the logistics of something of their size existing on Earth are rather
hard to grasp. Even living entirely in water, they would be subject to the
laws of gravity as we know them. Gravity on Earth would greatly restrict
their movements and cause the blood pressure needed to keep all their cells
nourished with necessary oxygen
to be astronomical. For these reasons, I've always wondered if Wolfe ever
intended them to be legitimate characters in the story at all.
On Sat, Jul 3, 2010 at 7:31 PM, Jack Smith <jack.smith.1946 at gmail.com>wrote:

> When I first read *Shadow*, it seemed obvious to me that Jonas's tale of
> the beans referred to the origins of Abaia and the other monsters in the
> sea:  "she displayed the beans to the lords of men, and told them that
> unless she were obeyed she would cast them into the sea and so put an end to
> the world."  (Shadow, ch. XXXV)
> However, others readers don't see this and so it must not be so obvious.
>  On Sat, Jul 3, 2010 at 3:51 PM, Gerry Quinn <gerryq at indigo.ie> wrote:
>> From: "Lee Berman" <severiansola at hotmail.com>
>>  Jonas tells Severian that they were brought to Earth, possibly in the
>>>> zoetic tower, to replace the extinct fauna.
>>> I don't remember this. Is it in reference to megatherians? My vague
>>> memory
>>> is that might refer to creatures like the alzabo; but that could surely
>>> be
>>> faulty.
>> I don't think so eitrher.  The alzabo was brought to Urth "as many other
>> things,for the use and benefit of Man" [quoting from memory]. All I know of
>> the undersea monsters, if they are indeed the Megatherians, of which I am
>> not certain, is the story of the beans.
>> I assume this beans story to have some basis in truth, but it may be
>> historically twisted or even metaphorical.  Hmm... could Erebus/Abaia be
>> some kind of feminist revenge on the race of Men, as the story might
>> suggest?  Their only acolyhes we meet are female, and we are not really told
>> the gender of the giant monsters, even if we tend to assume them male.  [Nor
>> are any serious hints given about their sexual proclivities, but after the
>> Wizard Knight, I am inclined to feel that this may be for the best.]
>> - Gerry Quinn
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> --
> Best wishes,
> Jack
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