(urth) Five Severians - Severian-as-clone

Paul Watson lazarus at lazaruscorporation.co.uk
Fri Dec 20 09:32:08 PST 2013

De-lurking to say that I've been reading this thread and was playing 
around with two other theories about the mausoleum. I don't think 
they're right, but I'll put them out here for what they're worth:

First, it's a family mausoleum, but I can't get that one to fit (too 
many of Severian's relatives still alive during the BotNS to account for 
2 open coffins).

The other theory is that - since mausolea were typically tombs for 
deceased leaders of importance, then the mausoleum is built for the 
bodies of those brave autarchs who chose to face the test on Yesod. Two 
coffins are open and unoccupied (Severian's and the current Autarch) 
because those two are still alive. Ymar was the last autarch before the 
current one to be tested, so his body is in one of the closed coffins, 
leaving two other Autarchs prior to Ymar who were tested and failed in 
the other 2 closed coffins.


On 20/12/13 17:01, Michael Thayer wrote:
> >David Stockhoff:  It's possible that only he can see it, but . . . 
> (b) the wildlife find it easily enough . . .
> My reading is quite the contrary one.  We are told that the 
> wildlife cannot "hear" or "scent" Severian as he watches them through 
> the mausloeum window, though some animals come "two cubits from [his] 
> face."  Shadow, 12.
> >David Stockhoff: Another point that just occurred to me. We do need 
> to follow Occam's Razor. Therefore,
> ---Any theory that proposes something as complicated as, say, a
> laboratory hidden in time that has cloning and mind-control technology
> and that grows and programs cloned puppets to insert them into
> manipulated time streams is just too complicated.
> ---A coffin-corpse mausoleum theory only needs to explain how corpses
> get in. A clone-storage mausoleum theory needs to explain not only how
> they got in, but how they will get out. And besides, any mechanism that
> could do both probably would not need clone storage in the first place.
> I agree with your method.  The only question is whether a hidden clone 
> laboratory dislocated in time is the simplest explanation.  For 
> instance, it would be a mistake to conclude that the Citadel is a 
> traditional citadel rather than a spaceport just because the citadel 
> is the simpler explanation of the two.  In tBotnS, a castle tower is 
> not a castle tower at all, but a space rocket.  A poor traveler is not 
> a poor traveler, but a marooned robot from the distant past with 
> a human face grafted onto his metallic body.  A two-headed demonic 
> monster is not a two-headed demonic monster, but a former 
> intergalactic hegemon who has had his head surgically grafted 
> onto another's body to extend his own biological viability.  Witches 
> (a witch at least, the Cumaen) and sirens (Juturna and the other 
> undines) are not witches and sirens, but space aliens meddling in 
> human affairs.  A divine prophet from the past is not a divine prophet 
> from the past, but a machine-projected time-traveler recently returned 
> from beyond this solar system.  The entire conceit of the novel is 
> that the setting appears to be that of ancient myth and medieval high 
> fantasy, but it is in fact a far future hyper-techno space age.  In 
> light of this, I think we should exercise caution in slicing away, 
> Occam-style, the possibility that a mausoleum is something more than a 
> mausoleum, especially where that mausoleum is imbued with such import 
> and strangeness.
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