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From: "Tony Ellis" <tony.ellis@futurenet.co.uk>
Subject: (urth) Re: 3 Tiered Universes
Date: 18 Feb 1998 12:58:21 +0100

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

 RE>3 Tiered Universes

Mantis, I envy you your clear vision of the relationship in time and
space between Yesod and Briah! Personally, I have always found
this perhaps the single most confusing and opaque area in all the
five books. Here are some of the problems I have:

You say that the White Fountain can't come from Yesod, citing
Baldanders' explanation in V, Ch 42 that the white fountain is
the irruption of energy from a lower universe (ie not Yesod) into
our own. But in Ch 23 we actually get to see creation of 
Severian's White Fountain. He's in Yesod, and it's a black hole.
He passes through it into our universe, and it's a white fountain.
Later, in Ch 25, Severian himself wonders how he could have 
looked back and seen Apheta's face leaning out of it, and 
concludes "May it not be that the White Fountain is a window
to Yesod after all?"

How, then, do we explain Baldanders' explanation? Can Yesod
be simultaneously higher than our universe and lower? Perhaps:
like Blake, Wolfe loves to show us that two opposing views of a
fact can be equally valid. Baldanders puts his faith in cold science,
and doesn't believe in the Claw: to some extent he is Severian's 
antithesis - perhaps for him the world of Yesod IS lower than
ours; he sees a hell where we see a heaven. Severian tells the
prophetess "'He has told the truth, as well as you.'"

I mistrust your 3-tiered universe idea. I'm not aware of anything
in the novels that suggests universes come in packs of three.

Your idea that Yesod is "hyperspace" I like a lot more. It's
one explanation of how Yesod can be a "higher" universe than
our own: Severian tells us that Briah is one of an endless series
of dying and re-blossoming universes, and I've always assumed
that "higher" meant that Yesod must be the universe to suceed 
ours. Now I have better mental picture: an endless, linear series
of Briahtic universes, all existing within the outer, meta-universe
of Yesod.

I don't think that Yesod dies with the Grand Gnab, however. To
my new way of thinking, Yesod exists outside of ordinary
time\space - destruction and rebirth is just something that 
happens to other universes. <g>

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