(urth) Short Sun blog review

Andrew Mason andrew.mason53 at googlemail.com
Wed Sep 22 14:24:12 PDT 2010

Regarding humanity returning to the stars: this theme comes up quite a
lot in the _New Sun_ cycle - sometimes in those very terms, though at
other times people say 'Men of Urth' or the like instead of
'humankind' . Vodalus, at least ostensibly, has it as his ideal. The
Autarch says it can't be achieved until humans change - he has one
idea of how they should change, while the Ascians have another.
Malrubius seems to say that the New Sun marks the beginning of the
process by which humans will return to the stars.

How can we square this with the passages that imply that humans are
already out there among the stars, left over from the first empire?
Perhaps 'returning to the stars' should be taken to mean not just
being on other planets, but actually travelling among the stars (under
their own steam, rather than as crew on ships captained by
Hierodules). It may be that the humans who are out there now are as
isolated as those on Urth. We should also consider Severian's
speculation that the people on other planets will have evolved away
from the form we know; they may not now be what we would immedately
recognise as human.

Typhon: first, can someone point me to the evidence that he was not
born/raised on Urth? I'm not sure what the source for this is.

Typhon says 'I ruled this planet and many more'. Severian''s immediate
thought is that he is lying. I'm not sure if there is anything in _New
Sun_ itself that proves he is telling the truth. When you take _Long
Sun_ into account, he must have had some space-travelling capacity to
be able to launch the Whorl in the first place, but this might be
restricted to the solar system. Even if you take 'many planets'
seriously, I would think, say, twenty would count as many in this
context, so he need only have ruled the solar system and a few
neighbouring ones.

As for the bit about the ships on which he might have left having
gone, this suggests to me not a wide empire, in which ships would
surely be constantly coming and going, but a once-for-all expedition,
that once gone will not return. So it fits in quite well with the
story of the Whorl, though of course the precise form the expedtion
takes isn't made clear here. This may also link up with Valeria's
story - when her family moved into the Citadel they were 'waiting to
leave Urth with the autarch of their time' - again this suggests a
specific expedition.

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