(urth) The mystery of the image of an astronaut cleaned byRudesind

brunians at brunians.org brunians at brunians.org
Wed Jul 7 23:38:53 PDT 2010

For what it's worth, I have only minor and equivocal disagreements with Ryan.


> David,
> I want to add that my experience with BotNS is that the whole journey is
> caught in a time loop of sorts. Not exactly, but what we are witnessing is
> the journey of Severian, but it is not his first pass through this
> journey. It is a refined pass, however, and the one that inevitably leads
> him to success (to becoming the New Sun).
> Here are two passages which prove the loop, to me, and suggest that
> Severian and Inire, cronies by the time of the manuscript's writing, are
> walkers of the corridors of time, and shaping Severian's (the apprentice
> and onward) journey from hilt to tip...
> . .
> "Rudesind, we already know the answers to the question you think we are
> going to ask. We know your master is what the people call a cacogen, and
> that for whatever reason, he is one of those few who have chosen to cast
> their lots entirely with humanity, remaining on Urth as a human being. The
> Cumaean is another such, though perhaps you did not know that. We even
> know that your master was with us in the jungles of the north, where he
> tried until it was too late to rescue my predecessor. We only want to say
> that if a young man with an errand comes past again while you are on your
> ladder, you are to send him to Master Ultan. That is our order."
> . .
> "I am not the first Severian. Those who walk the corridors of Time saw him
> gain the Phoenix Throne, and thus it was that the Autarch, having been
> told of me, smiled in the House Azure, and the undine thrust me up when it
> seemed I must drown. (Yet surely the first Severian did not; something had
> already begun to reshape my life.)"
> . .
> 1. "There is really no describing the sensation of being watched. I have
> heard it called a prickling at the back of the neck, and even a
> consciousness of eyes that seem to float in darkness, but it is neither -
> at least, not for me. It is something akin to a sourceless embarrassment,
> coupled with the feeling that I must not turn around, because to turn will
> be to appear a fool, answering the promptings of baseless intuition.
> Eventually, of course, one does. I turned with the vague impression that
> someone had followed me through the hole at the base of the dial."
> 2. "I crossed to the door and tapped on it. The timorous old woman who had
> served us appeared, and I, stepping into that musty room in which I had
> warmed myself before, told her to bring Valeria to me."
> . .
> Okay, so the final one seems to be the young Severian sensing Severian the
> Lame entering that Atrium, right? And he is not the first Severian. And he
> admits something had begun to reshape his life. And we now know that Inire
> (Rudesind's master) was with Severian in the jungles, trying to rescue
> Appian. And Severian gives an order to direct his younger iteration to
> Ultan, though he doesn't say by which means.
> So... in as far as I can see. Any sightings of Inire along Severian's
> journey are not mission critical. But they DO reenforce what is revealed
> at the end. That Inire (and probably Severian shows up) are active
> participants in the reshaping of the journey of "Severian Who Succeeds".
> Their entire mission is to get the damn sun back, and Severian turns
> himself into a puppet with Inire's time traveling help. That, to me, is
> the shell of the nut that we are trying to crack.
> Yay? Nay?
> ...ryan
> On Jul 7, 2010, at 11:24 PM, David Stockhoff wrote:
>> There needs to be a principle of, I don't know, conservation of
>> explanation or something. And we need to call each other on it.
>> For example, if a mysterious figure gains powers (expert acting,
>> sharpshooting, shapeshifting, timetripping) to explain specific textual
>> features, that in other contexts begin to overlap and become redundant
>> (i.e., a feature can be explained by any of these powers), then we have
>> a condition of overexplanation. There are more explanations than there
>> are problems and they contradict one another. Why would the burglar use
>> his powers of disguise if he could simply go back in time to when the
>> apartment was empty? And so on. Wolfe's characters often address this
>> issue directly.
>> Overexplanation is a violation of form. Sometimes the most mundane
>> explanations are best, because they require the least effort and never
>> lead to redundancy. One asks questions not to challenge but to test.
>> I'm afraid I'm not expressing myself well, but does this make sense?
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