(urth) This week in Google Alerts

David Stockhoff dstockhoff at verizon.net
Tue Nov 1 07:04:44 PDT 2011

On 11/1/2011 8:14 AM, Lee Berman wrote:
>> Matt Keeley: The happy reviewer of Shadow states that Urth is "clearly" part of Earth's
>> future. When was this list last so sure of anything about a Wolfe book?
> Hm..I haven't seen anyone debate that the story is set in S. America for a while. That
> had been an early debate here.
> But, didn't we all think Urth was the future of Earth at one time? I think it would be
> difficult to consider that Urth is a parallel and future version of Earth without
> exposure to the debates here and the Wolfe interview quotes.
> (FWIW, I think the S. America conclusion supports the parallel Urth idea. It isn't easy to
> consider a geologic upheaval that could move the Andes from the west side to the east side
> of the continent while leaving Lake Titicaca and its floating islands intact.) 		 	   		

Definitely. It's easier to imagine Earth split like an orange and peeled 
back over either pole so that the continents and their movements are all 
reversed from the beginning, than to imagine them actually reversing 
direction in 20,000 years. If this is actually what Wolfe was thinking, 
it makes Urth a bit less "parallel" to Earth---almost an opposite. But 
it's a parallel Earth that is different in only a single particular that 
is after all very minor, in that it affects characters' actions, 
motivations, and judgement not at all. And it works thematically as 
well, since there are so many opposites already in play.

It would be clever of Wolfe to have invented a world that is totally 
free of Orientalism---not at all common in fantasy---by stripping the 
word "east" of all its usual flavors through such a simple transformation.

Does anyone know offhand the textual proof that the Andes are actually 
in the east? Severian mentions the sun often enough. I just don't know 
exactly what arguments have been made.

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