(urth) The Ship

Jeff Wilson jwilson at clueland.com
Mon Jan 9 20:32:04 PST 2012

On 1/9/2012 11:04 AM, Lee Berman wrote:
>> Jeff Wilson: It is likely to be Tzadkiel's Ship because:
>> * it is big enough.
>> * it is equipped with reflective surfaces to show the off-season constellations.
>> * FB&O are known to ride on it.
>> * Tzadkiel has a favorable personal relationship with Severian.
>> * The event is foreshadowed by Tzadkiel mentioning helping a childhood
>> hero, and by a sailor mentioning the Ship occasionally gets between
>> someone's eyes and some stars.
> Well, there is a significant contingent who think the exclipse was caused
> by Tzadkiel's ship and I acknowledge and respect that. My objection are:
> Until that point, when he is disturbed, Severian's powers are naturalistic
> and drawn from heavenly bodies. If Tzadkiel's ship caused the eclipse it
> means that Severian and his emotions have nothing to do with it, a departure
> from the rest of the story.

The way Sev and his emotions have nothing to do with the flying cathedral?

> Also, Tzadkiel says he was an acolyte of Severian's in (this?) previous iteration.
> Using his/her Ship to provide a "deus ex machina" to provide a fake basis for
> Severian's godhood doesn't seem to fit the acolyte bill for me. I like the idea
> of Apu Punchau really being a sun-controlling god better.

Tzad already gives him legitimate godhood as the New Sun by connecting 
him to the White Fountain. Tzad is also already complicit in at least 
two other flim-flam jobs on Sev and the sailors.

> (plus I think Tzadkiel appears in the story as Severian's acolyte in a different
> guise)
> The Ship may be big enough and all that but it is an unatural and unnecessary
> addition to the story since a large body to block the sun already exists.

Unnecessary? Was he going to take the train to Yesod?

 > When the
> the white fountain arrives, it causes major cataclysms on Urth via "waves of
> gravitation". Adding a moon-sized Ship to Urth's vicinity might cause similar
> problems that locking the existing moon in place for a few extra hours wouldn't.

The moon has about the same surface area as Africa, yet the crew 
mentions it would take days of walking to come together rather than 
months. There's also Severian's ill-advised leap that threatens to leave 
him forever apart from the Ship; it's asteroid-sized at best. The moon 
would also fail to reflect the constellations.

> Further, Wolfe spends an inordinate amount of time adding a story component in
> which Tzadkiel's ship parks outside the solar system and sends in a small tender
> to drop Severian off on Urth. Maybe he/she is just trying to avoid the  ship being
> detected by Typhon but that seems pretty weak to me.

Urth XXVI:
"I meant where the ship is. We're outside the circle of Dis."
I said, "Once I was told by a man who knew much of the future that a 
woman I sought was aboveground. I thought he meant merely that she was 
still alive. The ship's always been outside the circle of Dis."
"Sometimes they bring the big one in a good bit closer than this," the 
hand detailed to guide us confided as we came aboard. "Only they can't 
help getting between somebody's eyes and a few stars when they do. So 
you'll be about a day with us."

If you mean inordinately *small*, then 2 lines of dialogue qualifies, yes.

> As mentioned before, FB&O do
> not appear on Urth at this time. They come later.

If you mean the span of years between the eclipse and the resurrection, 
is that a particular barrier for time-traveling aliens from another 

Jeff Wilson - jwilson at clueland.com
Computational Intelligence Laboratory - Texas A&M Texarkana
< http://www.tamut.edu/CIL >

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