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From: raster@highfiber.com (Charles Dye)
Subject: (urth) Re: Digest urth.v007.n002
Date: Sat, 7 Feb 1998 15:17:45 

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

Jason Voegele mentions:

>I think this crops up when Severian comes to Typhon's little home in the
>mountains.  I've heard two theories.  One, Urth's magnetic poles have
>flip-flopped, thus North and South have taken on the opposite meaning
>that we are accustomed to.  Two, Severian has some sort of
>depth-perception problem (sorry, can't recall the technical term) which
>causes him Somehow to confuse left/right/east/west etc.

You know, that's rather eerie, because I've played around with the same
idea myself.  Severian may well be spacially dyslexic.  Take another look
at the Typhon sequence.  Severian, looking out the left eye of west-facing
Mount Typhon, sees a battle ... to the northeast?

Another supporting detail:  how many times is Severian given precise
directions to reach some place, but gets lost anyhow?  For most people,
we could just chalk it up to imperfect memory.

(BTW, how's this for a Vancian chapter title:  "The Eyes of the World"
(could also be called "The Eyes of the Overlord!"))

David_Lebling@avid.com goes for the Gould:

>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.

Punctuated Equilibrium, as I understand it, requires that a small subset
of a larger population be reproductively isolated.  The guardians of the
Autarch's mines would certainly qualify!


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