(urth) miles, jonas, and that sailor guy, and sea/interplanetary vessels

Lee Berman severiansola at hotmail.com
Wed Feb 9 10:21:29 PST 2011

>Marc Aramini: I've never been really sold on the idea that the soldier Miles or whatever 
>is really a returned Jonas
Well, I think it is assumed that the soldier was dead, but Severian reanimated him, in part
with his memory of his friend Jonas, whom he missed. Sorta like the reanimating Thecla in his own
mind. Miles was never a sailor; he only talks that way because of Jonas inside him. And Jonas is
motivated because he thinks he might have a shot at Jolenta in this handsome, blond guy he 
now inhabits. Jonas departs when Severian tells him that Jolenta is dead.
>Sev's failure to distinguish between sailing vessels and actual interplanetary vessels
Well, for a cloistered torturer, the Xanthic lands are approximately the same distance as a
planet orbiting Fomalhaut. Plus Wolfe suggests that the skills of a sailor on a wind-powered 
ship on Urth would be of similar value on a spaceship with solar-wind blown mirror sails. So
there was free substitution between people doing these two jobs. So ocean and space sailors
all talk the same way.
(The Spring Wind story takes place "beyond the shores of Urth")
>.....the description of the masculine voice and the feminine voices under the water by the sailor 
>who used Jonas' Wellerisms.. 
>I guess the weird ship of pandours the guy ran into was from the moon or something. Sev asks if they 
>are starved looking or big eyed. ? I dunno ?
I'm pretty sure Severian asks about "starved-looking" etc. because he is wondering if there were Ascians
on that ship. He asks because Ascians are supposed to be the slaves of Erebus and Abaia and the male
and female voices below the water are meant to represent Abaia and undines.
The ship itself probably represent Erebus, like the Naviscaput (I'm not so sure Abaia and Erebus are
entirely separate beings). Erebus has an abode in the Antarctic and has "pale, cold warriors" at
his command. The pandours on the ship would seem to represent these.

Undines seem to have access to multi-dimensional space-time and I think the same must be true for 
Erebus and Abaia. Thus the old sailor's sense that the river was going up to the sky or underground.
The old sailor (Maxellindis' uncle, iirc) seems to have a bit of extra-sharp perception in regard to
space travel and alien beings etc. He is probably the sailor who was around when Severian almost drowns
in the first couple chapters and probably part of the knowledgable cadre of characters that Severian
keeps bumping into during his travels (watchers/guides I think).
We get a more biological, less metaphoric look at such ocean-bound creatures in Short Sun, with The Mother 
and Great Scylla. 		 	   		  

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