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From: David_Lebling@avid.com
Subject: (urth) Geography of Urth; GW's Author list; Disclave
Date: Thu, 5 Feb 98 21:21:51 

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

Tony Ellis:

I can do the C word! In _Citadel_, ch. 37, Severian sees for the first
time a river or stream flowing north and east.  "All streams, in my
previous experience, ran south or southwest..."  I recall something more
explicit, but can't find it right now.  In any case it is clear that the
continental divide runs from northwest to southeast, not north-south
right at the coast as it does in our South America.

On the question of whether evolution stops when civilization is
achieved; I doubt it. If you buy into "puntuated equilibrium," you will
see that species go through long periods with nothing much happening,
then a rapid burst of evolution, and so on.  Taking care of the sick and
weak may effect somewhat the distribution of certain genes, but others
can spread through humanity in a surprisingly short time.  Evolution
requires differential reproductive rates for different genetic makeups;
the fallacy that that means the sick and weak have to die off is just
that, a fallacy.

The polychrome sand isn't where you suggested (I just looked), but it's
somewhere, because I remember it distinctly, too...


I've read _The Deep_, which I found very enigmatic at the time.  A
rereading might shed more light.  I think _Engine Summer_ is the most
Wolfean and (dare I say it?) accessible of Crowley's books.

Vance has had plenty of airing here, so I don't think there's much need
to discuss him.  Powers is one of my favorites, too.  His most recent,
_Earthquake Weather_, is the culmination of a (fairly loose) trilogy.  I
personally like _The Stress of Her Regard_ and _The Anubis Gates_ best,
although _Last Call_ (book one of the recent trilogy) is pretty good,

Powers has been compared to Leiber, and there's some justice in that. I
was about to say his books are darker, but they aren't (only the Fafhrd
and Gray Mouser stuff of Leiber's is really light in tone).  He does
pretty creepy contempory and semi-contemporary fantasy better than
anyone. The legend of the Fisher King is a recurring theme.

The only Park I've read is _Celestis_, and I couldn't get beyond the
"call a rabbit a smerp" aspect of it as a post-colonial novel.  Maybe
I'll try some of his other stuff.

Terry Bisson also wrote _Pirates of the Universe_, which was recently
issued as a trade pb.  It's great; funny, touching, beautifully written.
I liked it much better than "Bears Discover Fire."  On the other hand,
_St. Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman_ is, I think, only for those who
loved _Canticle for Leibowitz_ (which I did); it's very slow going. I
don't know how much of it is Bisson's and how much is Miller's.  The
intent is the same, in that both are about individuals finding their
faith, but while this is only part of _Canticle_, it is almost all of
_St. Leibowitz_.


Disclave: Wow, what a great idea.  I don't know if I have any chance of
making it, but if I don't I'd love to read the transcript!


New Sun:  It's worse than that, because it's also stated that other
autarchs than Ymar and Appian(?) considered taking the test, but feared
that the Ascians would benefit more from a New Sun than the
Commonwealth, and hence demurred.  But then, stating that the
Conciliator will rise again as the New Sun doesn't necessarily imply
that someone else can't have a hand in bringing it.


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