(urth) Thea's Identity

Lee Berman severiansola at hotmail.com
Fri Apr 12 05:30:33 PDT 2013

>David Stockhoff: The Ottoman seraglio had a political, legal, and physical
>purpose---they were hostages who could be killed if their parents got out 
>of line. And the sultans pumped them full of, er, genetic material to produce 
>heirs AND give the nobles a *positive *incentive to send their daughters to 
>him. So ...

I was aware that Wolfe had borrowed from the Byzantine empire to create The 
Commonwealth and its government but I didn't know Thecla and her fellow 
autarchial concubines had been drawn so directly from the Ottoman aristocracy.
I appreciate being made aware of it. 

I definitely agree that there are elements of both sexual and reproductive
slavery being presented in the Commonwealth arrangement (with reproduction not 
necessarily a product of sex, as has been discussed). I really think witches are 
involved. What were those "hairless, crippled animals" Severian sees in a glass table
being supervised by the Cumaean in the Witches Tower? Given his role as the source of
some of the man-animal people-creatures we encounter, Father Inire is also likely 

It reminds me of the Dune series and how through most of the story we are told 
how the Face Dancer species used their vats to produce customized clones and 
ton-lots of the precious chemical spice that drives that universe. Only later
do we learn, with horror, that all along the "vats" were really female Face Dancers.

Also in parallel to Wolfe's work, Herbert has some of the Face Dancers, who 
are mimics, eventually being able to copy human beings so perfectly that they end 
up leapfrogging and becoming superhuman, benign, god-like beings. 		 	   		  

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