(urth) Urth Digest, Vol 73, Issue 45

DAVID STOCKHOFF dstockhoff at verizon.net
Thu Sep 23 14:01:49 PDT 2010

Exactly. I see Typhon as far from a galactic conqueror, that he ruled a handful of star systems. I see him as a minor despot who is a towering figure only because the true emperors are gone.
Nor do I imagine starliners ever going back and forth between worlds, like trains. But that's just a suspicion, and it's based on Severian's world. Maybe the robot-culture empire was indeed more familiar to us than his viewpoint makes it; maybe Typhon was more like the Mule than I think. 
Anyway, even if he created his empire I'd apply the same logic, because it would be natural for an Urthian to make Urth his capital. 
Another assumption I admit to is that I don't see Typhon's empire as created from scratch---I see him as going out and roping together a number of planets like ancient city-states that were once united. They were colonized long ago, in other words, and at the time rivaled Urth. 
I get no sense from Typhon that any world in his empire lorded it over any other. Rather, he owned, possessed, and ruled them all. If Urth were still the mother planet, she would be the metropole and would suck up all the others' resources, which would almost demand Typhon's identification with the mother world's elite and thus his location of his capital there. But again, he seems to have chosen Urth deliberately for personal and political reasons, which suggests Urth was not the center of the human universe at the time. 
If so, another world may have been greater than Urth ever was, which again provides an explanation for whatever technology (if that's what it is) produced him. Possibly his planet's elite practiced genetic modification on themselves, just as Urth's did, but discovered how to produce greater mental powers, as they did not. Perhaps the mandragora came from there.
So as to the "monster" question, Typhon would then have been created from human stock. Baldanders created himself. I can see both as Monsters.
--- On Thu, 9/23/10, Andrew Mason <andrew.mason53 at googlemail.com> wrote:

From: Andrew Mason <andrew.mason53 at googlemail.com>
Subject: Re: (urth) Urth Digest, Vol 73, Issue 45
To: urth at lists.urth.net
Date: Thursday, September 23, 2010, 4:00 PM

> First, if you are born in the capital, you could not choose to make it your capital---it would already be the capital. You could only "choose" to make?another planet?your capital, anywhere there is a capital there are entrenched power structures.?
> Granted, we don't even know there was already a capital or already an empire. Typhon may have created the empire rather than inheriting or even seizing it.

I has assumed that Typhon created the Empire - that seems to be
Cyriaca's view (or that he tried to); that the ruler she's talking
about is Typhon is supported by his bringing the books to the Citadel,
which is explicitly ascribed to Typhon in _Urth_.

> Third, I don't see why an origin in the stars would be inconsistent with a desire to return humanity to the stars. It strikes me as much more sensibly consistent than an origin on Urth, where by Severian's time no one cares about them but Vodalus, Inire, Baldanders, and the Autarch.

And the Ascians. And Vodalus seems to think it will get him support.

But actually I agree with you; if it's just Typhon by himself,
arriving from the stars and trying to stir up Urthians to an interest
in them, there's no inconsistency. What worried me is the image some
people have, I think, of Typhon as ruler of a galactic empire, with
people coming and going all the time, which would leave it very
puzzling what point there would be be in sending out a Whorl. Whereas
I would argue that though _New Sun_  clearly says nothing about actual
Whorls, it does paint a picture of Typhon as trying to recapture the
long-lost stars, and sending out a once-for-all expedition to them.

> By the way, I like your translation of "Bird in the Wood." Nice work!

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