(urth) Short Sun blog

David Stockhoff dstockhoff at verizon.net
Fri Sep 24 06:27:32 PDT 2010

  I like the theory that Typhon's powers are largely machine-based. It 
fits with what we know: machines' ability to create aquastors, the 
Autarchs' words of power (which could be mental as much as audible) that 
let them control at least some machines while preventing others from 
doing so, and Cyriaca's tale of robotic star empires.

It also fits with Typhon's access to plainly advanced 
mechanical/electronic/robotic technology as found in the Whorl. His 
technology isn't bio-psionic, though it is genetic as well.

Most of all, it fits with the fact that Wolfe gives us no hints 
whatsoever about the source of any mental powers Typhon might have---he 
doesn't need to, because Typhon doesn't particularly have any. But we 
know that mental powers are possible (Mucor, the Mandragora), so his use 
and control of machines is easily explained.

That's also one less reason to think Typhon is not from Urth, though I 
still think so.

On 9/24/2010 12:01 AM, Jeff Wilson wrote:
> I don't see a lot of textev for this; if Typhon's mental mojo is all 
> that, why does he bother to physically drag Severian up to the 
> observation windows to tempt him with a vision of the world's powers, 
> thrones, and dominions? I see that he has some kind of compelling 
> power of suggestion, but his repeated attempts to get Sev to swear on 
> the Claw suggest to me that his psionic transmissions are *not*  
> complex mental conversations but more like some narrow geas to comply 
> with the command of the moment that has to build on some volition of 
> the subject to commit to service to be truly effective.
> Typhon's assertion that he has sent his thought into far places, 
> still-functional machinery at the site, his knowledge of the state of 
> current monstrous affairs, and Severian's overhearing him moving about 
> but not speaking  suggests to me that he can mentally assert control 
> over machines in his presence as well, and gathers this intelligence 
> from the remaining communications gear at the mountain fortress and 
> such distant mechanized stations as still operate after centuries of 
> neglect, like the voices in the uppermost floor or the Matachine tower.
> Perhaps both abilities are the same ability, coercing electrical 
> impulses in circuitry as well as in grey matter.

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