(urth) started my second read of New Sun

John Watkins john.watkins04 at gmail.com
Fri May 14 11:41:59 PDT 2010

Re: Anathem.

I'm not sure that the metaphor is actually that different--Stephenson has
just cloaked his religious allusion in one more degree of obscurity.
"Backward" is still "backward toward" something, a world that various
characters do call "higher."

On Fri, May 14, 2010 at 2:32 PM, Lane Haygood <lhaygood at gmail.com> wrote:

> > Time travel. Once causality begins to loop back, there are no
> coincidences,
> > no probability in the chain of events. What determines the chain of
> events
> > is that it requires the least intervention by the time travellers.
> >
> > And time travel happens because it is an allegory for G-d's eternal
> nature
> > outside of Creation, even though G-d himself also appears in the story to
> > remind us that the instruments of that intervention are flawed but their
> > employer is not.
> It would still be more efficient for Tzadkiel/Hierogrammates/whomever
> to send the White Fountain without the need for the test or
> maneuvering Severian on the throne.  While we might argue that God (or
> other such omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent being) must work
> through intermediaries because his nature prevents direct
> intervention, Tzadkiel and the Hieros have no such restrictions.  Or
> do they just mirror their reflections in the universe above Yesod and
> act by circumspect means because in their image are they created?
> (Aside, and literary connection, complete with spoilers for those who
> have not read _Anathem_:  this is somewhat akin to Neal Stephenson's
> faux-Platonic idea of "propagation along the wick," where the Daban
> Urnood travels through successive iterations of Earth _backwards_
> along a chain of ever-worsening reflections of the Platonic ideal
> Earth.  Although it is interesting to note that Man of Science
> Stephenson sees traveling toward "more perfect" universes as moving
> backward, while for Man of Faith Wolfe doing so is traveling
> "upward.")
> Anyway, I'm overstressed at work and probably seeing things and
> connections where none should be.  Have a wonderful Friday everyone!
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