(urth) Tzadkiel/Melek Taus

David Stockhoff dstockhoff at verizon.net
Wed Jul 14 05:28:23 PDT 2010

Good one!

I should say, not just "pulp cliches" but Golden Age of Science Fiction 

I think they are intended to suggest exactly the sense of "boyish" 
wonder that they do in fact inspire---but looking back, not forward.

Gerry Quinn wrote:
> Baldanders has an anti-gravity belt too.
> - Gerry Quinn
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "David Stockhoff" 
> <dstockhoff at verizon.net>
> To: "The Urth Mailing List" <urth at lists.urth.net>
> Sent: Wednesday, July 14, 2010 12:32 PM
> Subject: Re: (urth) Tzadkiel/Melek Taus
>> I always suspected Wolfe of deliberately using pulp cliches in BotNS. 
>> I had no idea he applied the principle so thoroughly. It almost has 
>> the effect of reading about ancient, clever technologies like 
>> ballistae and water clocks.
>> Jeff Wilson wrote:
>>> Typhon responds, "Why should gravity serve Urth, when it can serve 
>>> Typhon?" I interpret this as an adjustable antigravity effect, where 
>>> the sled and Severian's viscera fall freely as the acceleration of 
>>> gravity is reversed, then restored just in time for the sled to 
>>> cease rising at its destination and then lock in place. The flier's 
>>> buoyancy seems to be always present, but uses conventional 
>>> action-reaction propulsion to move, causing the screaming noise that 
>>> accompanies the hasty departure of of Vodalus , and explaining why 
>>> people riding in them don't feel as though they are falling.
>>> Reverse-matter buoyancy has made something of a comeback with Robert 
>>> L. Foreward's notion of "negative mass", but at the time 
>>> gravity-reversal of antimatter was an obsoleted SF device since word 
>>> had gotten around the readership that antimatter was only 
>>> electrically reversed, not gravitationally. Wolfe's deliberate use 
>>> of this outdated concept alongside a similar but distinct outdted 
>>> antigravity concept makes me wonder if the mirror-traveling trick of 
>>> accelerating light and the reflected  objects across or beyond the 
>>> universe was also a plot device previously used band then discarded 
>>> by previous authors.
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