(urth) Thea's Identity

David Stockhoff dstockhoff at verizon.net
Fri Apr 12 06:21:42 PDT 2013

On 4/12/2013 8:30 AM, Lee Berman wrote:
>> 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
> involved.
> 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. 		 	   		
> _______________________________________________

Yep, all that. I can't think exactly what those "hairless, crippled 
animals" could be, but they're up to something biological/reproductive. 
Presumably "true" human birth rates have been declining for millennia, 
leading to all sorts of desperate social/technological responses so 
ingrained that no one sees the need to mention them.

Didn't know the vats were Face Dancers!

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