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From: Jim Jordan <jbjordan@gnt.net>
Subject: (urth) Location of Commonwealth
Date: Fri, 06 Feb 1998 16:25:50 

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

At 02:24 PM 2/6/98 -0500, you wrote:
>While you are absolutely right that TBOTNS's South America isn't ours, I
>think it's safe to say it fills the role of South America on Urth. 
>Recall that while Severian's universe isn't necessarily (maybe even
>certainly) ours, it is also stated that each successive universe
>resembles all the others, even down to minor details.

	Well, Wolfe has stated that it is South America, so that should settle it.
Alga is right that there are allusions to Byzantium and Alexandria. There
are also allusions to Jerusalem and Israel (cp. the gates of Jerusalem in
the book of Nehemiah; also the fact that God has selected this tiny land to
be the place where the whole future of Urth is determined; etc.). But
geographically, it is S.A.
	But, what S.A.? Well, not ours, as the map in *Plan[e]t Engineering*
reveals. The river flows to the Pacific, not the Atlantic, putting Nessus
in Chile, apparently.
	I have another theory, however. The mountains are not the Andes, of
course, because these mountains have been uplifted in historical times. The
strata of human civilizations are seen in the mountains. How does this
happen? Well, back in the ice age when I was in college, we were taught
that large rivers deposit silt in their deltas for millennia. The delta
becomes bigger and deeper and heavier, and starts to press down into the
mantel. After a while, the mantel pushes back, and the delta is thrust up
as a mountain range.
	Now, take our present SA, and imagine a million years of delta from the
Amazon and Parana (Buenos Aires), then all that area's being thrust up as
mountains, while the land to the west (present SA) sinks into the sea. In
this way, the whole continent would move one step to the east. The location
of Buenos Aires would remain the same, but the continent would now be
eastward of it instead of westward, agreeing with the map in PE. 
	(I'm assuming this map is Gene's. I can't imagine it's being put in a book
to honor him if he did not agree with it.)


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