(urth) Problematic element in chronology

António Pedro Marques entonio at gmail.com
Wed Jun 1 08:03:50 PDT 2011

Gerry Quinn wrote (01-06-2011 15:49):
> 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
> physics issues.
> 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.

Can the speed of time, if such a thing exists, be slower the more one goes 
from Urth to Blue? (Independently of gravity, of course(?); I'm not talking 
about classical relativity but some workable disuniformity of the speed of 
time across the universe.)

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