(urth) The Ship

Gerry Quinn gerry at bindweed.com
Wed Jan 11 03:25:36 PST 2012

From: Lee Berman 

> > Gerry Quinn: think about the power needed to stop and restart the Moon in its orbit.

> Yep, a lot of energy. But not unimaginable to me, if you have the entirety of
> planet Urth to draw upon. 

What do you mean by that, exactly?  

In fact, we do have some idea of the power needed to perform a resurrection insofar as it is denumerable in units of watt-seconds or whatever.  It is about equal to the energy stored in one of the batteries used by the Ship for internal life support.  That won’t come close to stopping the Moon in its orbit.

> Consciously or not, isn't Severian a god? (actually 
> he calls himself a "godling" at the end of the story). 

Godlings in Return to the Whorl are quite limited in their power.  Of course we don’t know exactly what Severian means by the word.

> How much energy is needed to launch 
> a human body to time travel? I'm no Einsteinian mathematician, but 
> converting and reconverting that much mass to tachyons and back
> seems like it would require one heck of a lot of energy.    

Time travel is described in the story, and it doesn’t involve conversion to tachyons.  It is suggested that characters capable of time travel can perceive more than three dimensions of space and run down certain corridors in space time that are invisible and inaccessible to most of us.  (These corridors appear to be a good deal more accommodating and persistent than current physics would suggest.)  No particularly great expenditure of energy is implied.

The Ship does travel faster than light, but no particle conversion is indicated.  Tachyons, if they existed, could not support chemistry compatible with a biology even of tachyon-creatures.  It is hard to see how even a tachyonic atom could be stable.

- Gerry Quinn
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