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From: "Tony Ellis" <tellis@futurenet.co.uk>
Subject: (urth) Yet more playfulness
Date: 25 Nov 1997 11:17:29 +0100

[Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other works]

 Yet more playfulness

Alga wrote:
>Note that there will be a
>mirror in V, when Odilo, Pega and Thetis take on Meschia, Meschiane and

Hmmm. I can see your point that at the end of Urth of the New Sun the
dead Odilo, Pega and Thetis have been deified as, loosely speaking, 
Earth Father, Earth Mother and Jahi figures. But are you saying that
that Odilo and Pega have actually assumed the Meschia, Meschiane 
roles? In the last minutes of the House Absolute we learn that a naked
man and woman have been spotted in the gardens: surely these are
Meschia and Meschiane?

Possibly I'm taking you too literally, in which case - sorry!

Mantis wrote:
>...If Severian leans too heavily upon the
>play when he is going through the real thing, then he is just a
>puppet of a pre-determined Fate; if he willfully ignores the play as
>he transforms the world, then he is a fool of Free Will.

Agreed. This is why I felt (and still feel) that the play ending with
Severian battling Baldanders with a flaming torch is highly
significant. Although in one sense Severian's success as
bringer of the New Sun is pre-determined (hey, it's been on its
way for the last x thousand years), in another sense it really
is still in doubt. However the play is supposed to end, the fact
that it always breaks off here, at a moment of conflict, reflects
this uncertainty.

>The same thing is going on to a much greater extent in a third text
>which is shrouded in such crafty silence that most readers do not
>know that it was read in the cell by Thecla and Severian: the
>original, "long lost" work (that Dr. Talos has also apparently seen),
>(Canog's) THE BOOK OF THE NEW SUN.  (No, I didn't figure this one
>out, dispite the clues--I only learned it in an essay by Wolfe in

Now this is interesting! Presumably this is the old theory that
one of the unnamed books Severian brings for Thecla is in fact the
Book of the New Sun? I've always thought this was daft: why would
Thecla ask for a "long lost" book from the library? It's like asking a
travel agent for holiday brochures on Atlantis.

Haven't read PLAN[E}T ENGINEERING. Are you saying that in so
many words Wolfe actually says that this is the case? What are
the "clues"? Please elaborate!

> I think both are important--and often times, in
>Wolfe's fiction, things hinted yet =3Dnot=3D said are very important.

Quite right, of course. If I was being over-zealous in championing
the Performed Play, it's because of the importance I think the
battle it ends upon has, as noted above.

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