(urth) note Re: Short Sun blog

Lee Berman severiansola at hotmail.com
Mon Sep 27 10:33:47 PDT 2010

>Daniel Petersen- My question is just *how* does he do this in BotNS?  How does
>a non-existent faith (in the world of Urth where 'The Flood and Jesus never
>happened' - assuming this is a correct assumption) 'interact' with a sort of
>alternate 'paganism'?
I find the strongest clues to this in Dr. Talos' play (which I admit I found almost
impenetrable in my earlier readings of this story). It is laced with demons and giants,
Nephilim, Adam and Eve types, hints at human-demon matings, etc. Reading Genesis:6
helped me a lot in understanding this play. From a Bible Answers site:
>The Nephilim (“fallen ones, giants”) were the offspring of sexual relationships between 
>the sons of God and daughters of men in Genesis 6:1-4. There is much debate as to the 
>identity of the “sons of God.” It is our contention that the “sons of God” were fallen 
>angels (demons) who mated with human females and/or possessed human males and then mated 
>with human females. These unions resulted in offspring, the Nephilim, that were “heroes of 
>old, men of renown” 
Greek (and some other) mythology is full of monsters but also pagan gods who sometimes came 
down to earth in human form to mate with real humans. The result of such matings was quite 
often a hero, like Hercules, Theseus and Perseus. Same story as Genesis 6 but from a different 
It was The Flood which rid earth of most of its evil; Nephilim and presumably most of the fallen
angels and their demon offpring. I (and perhaps Gene Wolfe) consider The Flood as allegory for
how Judeo-Christianity swept away the earlier pagan religions.
My interpretation of Gene Wolfe's view is that The Flood was a far more significant event in the 
removal of evil from Earth than the coming of Jesus. Thus Severian's role on Urth is far more about 
being the New Sun and creating Ushas than providing personal salvation. 
The pagan gods/demons of old were far too powerful for human beings to resist if they took a mind 
to possessing, raping and/or corrupting a person. After the Flood it was more of a fair fight and 
the salvation of Jesus is enough to fight off evil, for those who accept it.
In BotNS we have some alien beings who come down to Urth and get directly involved with the people, 
getting mixed up in politics and witchcraft and stirring up wars etc. I suspect some human/alien
matings also, though they are hidden. They get names like Erebus and Abaia and Arioch and perhaps 
those of 14 other megatherians . (Arioch is a fallen angel name, the rest are mythological).
We have other alien beings in BotNS who seem to keep their distance from direct interference with 
human beings working mostly indirectly to provide ways to keep the bossy aliens in check. These guys
get angelic appearances and even angelic names, like Tzadkiel.
After the Flood turns Urth into Ushas, as on Earth, the demons/monsters like Abaia and Erebus have 
apparently been destroyed (this is hard to believe since they live under the ocean but I think the 
allegory is more important than the boring plot details here). A minor demon, Juturna, remains. Perhaps 
Severian's continuing function will be to provide something like personal salvation in the face of the 
surmountable evil she represents.
My interpretation, FWIW.

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