(urth) short sun article repost part 2

Dan Harris yoje110 at gmail.com
Wed Feb 12 13:07:20 PST 2014

Hey, thanks for reposting all of this.  Some of this I had stumbled on
outside of this essay in other forms (the Lianas being Inhumi and such),
but it's good to have it in total.  Reading through it, I find a lot that
aligns with my own thoughts, though some of the details I'm not wholly
convinced on (which isn't to say that I have better explanations; just that
evidence is stronger with some points than others).

I'd made the connection that the Corn was analogous for a human breeding
project (in that the Whorl was the "pure strain" kept separate to breed
into the next generation), though the trees specifically being the Vanished
Gods, consuming and being the vehicle for hybridization I'm still not
wholly convinced on in total.  It's certainly more plausible than any
explanation that I could put forward on my first reading, but it just
doesn't feel as solid as some of the things that really clicked into place
for me (Green as Urth, Liana as Inhumi and such).  Certainly the trees are
an important piece, and are somehow involved in consciousness transfer at
the very least, and you may even be right on the details, but it feels like
there are pieces of that puzzle that still need to be fit into place before
the picture is clear.  Are we to assume that this is all part of
Typhon/Pas's plan for the Whorl, or were his aims lower, simply keeping a
pure strain of human life, as a kind of pure-species hubris?  Also, it
seems to me that the Whorl isn't the first cyclical colony ship to return
to Urth/Earth.  We know that the towers of the Citadel are ships, and they
are specifically what Silk refers to as "Landers."  It is plausible that
"Lander" is the only word he knows for spacecraft, but the fact that the
resemblance is close enough that he readily makes that association makes me
think that they are of a very similar make.  Beyond that though, early in
Book of the New Sun, there is a segment where Severian looks at a Pillar,
and sees at its top what he describes as "the faces of sleepers."  It would
seem to me that the Whorl isn't the first ship to have recolonized Urth.

Horn transferring into Babbie was one of those things that I'd assumed was
obvious, but I guess a lot of people are unconvinced on that, as well.  The
moment I started recognizing Odyssey parallels, and a seemingly intelligent
boar creature showed up, I started trying to figure out who it was
(assuming it to be a transformed character, since many of Odysseus'
companions are turned into pigs), thinking for a time that perhaps it was
Silk himself (who, incidentally, does wind up in a different Pig).  It was
early on in IGJ that I figured it out--that Horn "becomes" Babbie by
transferring into him.  The narrative tone and voice just changed so
completely at the end of On Blue's Waters, right around the time that it
becomes clear that the narrator is Silk, not just in body but also at least
in some degree in mind.  That change in voice indicated to me that Horn was
no longer narrating, and I immediately started trying to figure out where
he went, and when.  Took no time at all to figure it out with that as a
starting point.  The "riding" a three-horned beast prophecy, the Odyssey
parallel, and the change in voice right as Horn has an odd experience of
someone calling him Babbie (along with the Goodbyes) just added up to an
obvious piece of the narrative to me.

I'm still trying to find a more concrete explanation for Blue, though.
Certainly it's possible enough that the New Sun just altered the solar
system enough for it to show up with no other explanation, but that seems
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