(urth) Problematic element in chronology
gerryq at indigo.ie
Wed Jun 1 07:49:00 PDT 2011
From: "David Duffy" <davidD at qimr.edu.au>
> On Tue, 31 May 2011, Gerry Quinn wrote:
>> I think there is a fair amount of text suggesting that the journey took
>> in the region of 300 years subjective. I assume the vase was already old
>> when it was brought aboard.
>> Time dilation factor of 2 or 6, I'm not sure it matters all that much.
>> The energy needed is equal to the Whorl's mass multiplied by the time
>> dilation, and in either case is enormous!
> I can't remember what evidence we have that the Whorl travelled at
> relativistic speeds. If not, then a trip of 50-70 light years [rough
> limit of visibility since we don't know the absolute magnitude of the
> dimmed sun] at 0.1 c...
The only evidence that it travelled at relativistic speeds is the seemingly
greater passage of time on Urth since the launch. In BotNS, Severian gives
the impression that Typhon lived at least 1000 years ago (though it's a bit
vague, and people of that era are vague about time anyway). In the Short
Sun trilogy, Rigoglio also gives us the impression that much longer than 350
years has passed at Nessus - it feels like up to 2000 years.
I would argue that one possible reading is indeed that only 350 years passed
on Urth - that is time for a lot of history, and nobody really comes out and
gives an exact time except maybe Cyriaca says 'chiliads' once. But on Urth
maybe they say 'chiliads' like we say 'yonks'. This would solve a couple of
I don't really believe the 350 year reading, though, I think Wolfe winged
the physics and that the red star being visible was a mistake.
I suppose one could even hypothesise that the dream travellers go to the
future and come back, but there's no obvious reason why that should happen.
- Gerry Quinn
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