(urth) Lake of Birds

Gerry Quinn gerry at bindweed.com
Sun May 20 12:22:18 PDT 2012

From: Bruno de Albuquerque Furtado 

> That is certainly true, but it could also be that Severian and the others 
> cannot see the Romans for the same reason that the missionaries in the 
> Jungle Garden couldn't really see Severian and Agia. Or maybe Severian
> could see Roman citizens, just didn't tell us about them. 

I think the Romans would have noticed if the lake was plagued with weeds as noxious as the avern!

> "The pipe still has to have a purpose. Surely Wolfe did not include it 
> simply because he was worried his readers would complain if he didn't 
> explain the lake, nor to demonstrate the builders' skill in hydrology."

> As little as I know about Wolfe, I feel you must be right. But maybe the
>  pipe's purpose is only to give Juturna a way into the Lake, although I 
> think it would be very much like Wolfe to give us such an early clue 
> about the workings of time in Briah. It is obvious that he went to great
>  lengths to make his readers identify this part of the Botanic Gardens 
> with Lake Avernus.

I think it’s possible to read too much into such identifications; Wolfe references entities such as the Lake and builds in connections to other entities that have classical resonances with it such as the Cumaean.  But at the same time, it is not the same lake (there was no Gyoll equivalent near the original Lake Avernas), and the Cumaean is not the classical Cumaean (or she could have raised Apu Punchau without assistance from her acquaintance in Fomalhaut). 

- Gerry Quinn
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