(urth) This week in Google Alerts

David Stockhoff dstockhoff at verizon.net
Wed Nov 2 07:07:18 PDT 2011

On 11/2/2011 9:09 AM, Gerry Quinn wrote:
> *From:* David Stockhoff <mailto:dstockhoff at verizon.net>
> > > 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.
> Wolfe’s quotes are certainly a major element, but the cyclic universe 
> is described in a chapter of Citadel called ‘The Key to the Universe’. 
> That Urth is the far future of an Earth rather similar to ours is 
> obvious. My opinion is that we are not intended to know whether it 
> exists in a past cycle, a future cycle, or in our own (in which case 
> Urth is a future Earth).

Except that (a) it's not going to be THAT similar, if the Andes are 
indeed in the east and (b) Wolfe said it's in the "past," whatever that 
might exactly mean.
> > > (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,
> I find it hard to believe that Severian’s descriptions of geography 
> are detailed enough to be identifiable with confidence as a particular 
> distorted version of Earth’s geography.

Yes, that's why I asked for any information about the evidence for it. 
Mantis has the mountains in the east. If the Commonwealth is based on 
Argentina, then those mountains are the Andes and the continent is 
reversed. That would require that all the continents are reversed, 
because tectonic motion created the Andes where South America pushed 
into the Pacific.
> As for the time, we don’t know it, though 20000 years seems a bit 
> short to me, not so much in terms of theoretical history, but in terms 
> of literary style. Of course such information as we get about the age 
> of Urth is filled with contradictions anyway.

I believe the 20,000-year figure is from Wolfe. Since no major changes 
could have occurred from "now" to Severian's time anyway, the 
significant changes are cultural, not geographic. Yet European languages 
are still spoken on the Whorl; even if they had to be revived for 
Typhon's purposes, they still survived that long.

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