(urth) Lake of Birds

David Stockhoff dstockhoff at verizon.net
Sun May 20 12:35:54 PDT 2012

On 5/20/2012 3:22 PM, Gerry Quinn wrote:
> > "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).

Naturally none of these things are "the same." But it is possible in SF 
to "transmute" one thing into another, from historical to fictional. If 
the universe were science fiction, the Cumaean would be a non-human. And 
the fact that she disappeared from Italy is just to awesome to ignore.

Note that the Cumaean lived about as long as Inire has been calculated 
to have lived---a thousand years.

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