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From: "Mitchell A. Bailey" <MAB@lindau.net>
Subject: Re: (urth) Antechamber, Jonas, navigator
Date: Wed, 09 Jun 1999 16:46:36 

Michael Andre-Driussi wrote:
> Antechamber-as-missile-base: it is possible, and in some ways likely. But
> one of the solid clues we have is that one of the "original" ceilings has a
> painting of clouds and birds on it--while such a room could exist in a
> bunker or anywhere else (the pleasure dome of Dr. Strangelove), still, it
> isn't an icon of "bunker" in the way that, for example, radiation warning
> signs ...

My take has been that the House Absolute was reclaimed as a
residence/command center rather early in the Monarch's Empire, several
millenia earlier; the painted ceiling could date from a time when that
part of the antechamber had been an apartment for the monarch or his
family or an important minister or staffer; the text clearly states that
several rooms were consolidated as the antechamber grew. Wouldn't you
think the monarch's retinue would include a good few Doctor

...(I thought Severian saw these in the tunnels of the Citadel, =not= in
> the House Absolute) and rows of stopped clocks are.

I saw that too. This was after he returned as Autarch. One of the perks
of office is that you get a decent flashlight to take with you down into
the Citadel tunnels. Apprentice Sev was in utter darkness and couldn't
see the signs or anything else. 

It was at the door to Inire's specula chamber in the Second House that
the "crimson teratoid sign" Sev surmised to be of extraterrestrial
origin appeared. That seems to be what we're interpreting as radioactive
or biohazard warning symbols.

> Clouds and birds would be a fine decoration for a spaceport.

Sounds sorta baroque for me, but fashions change. That's really what I
thought of reading that passage: one of those roccoco lavishly
ornamented European drawing rooms of say the eighteenth century, or the
frescoes of ancient Rome. You're assigned a suite in an ancient concrete
bunker, you've got money and slaves, what do you do to make it more

Why is this 'spaceport' underground? Protection against the backblast of
more primitive chemical thrusters? War or military application? (which
leads us back to...)
The spaceport which became the Citadel wasn't essentially underground;
the tunnels beneath it had gone out of use and memory by Sev's time,
probably long before Typhon's reign.

>...we do know
> that there is direct secret access from the Antechamber to the Presence
> Chamber . . . could the antechamber have previously been a waiting room for
> a teleportation station?

Uh, I get the impression that this type teleportation is the exclusive
province of Father Inire and a few of his peers, and was installed by
and for him.

> The Navigator.  ... so KLS was imprisoned for
> trespassing or whatever it was at least 160 years ago (seven generations at
> 20 years plus one more generation).  If there was only one guy from a
> starship, then it seems somewhat more likely that he himself was the
> navigator.  And he was the first prisoner, ...

Can't be; the antechamber/holding cell used as such, by your own
chronology in Lexicon Urthus, has to be over a millenium old since it
seems to predate the autarchs.

>...or at least, the first lifelong
> prisoner, of the antechamber.
> (Still begs the question: what did the navigator do to become arrested?
> The answer is that whatever it was, it was trivial, because we are told
> major cases are/were dispatched quickly.  And yet for some reason it was
> not a simple situation whereby he could be released--in a sense, every time
> he came up for parole, there was some reason to keep him in custody.)

I rather have the idea that the crowded magistrates-court docket and
neglect go back much farther than 160 years.

The pettiest cases are ignored and forgotten, and so the accused wind up
in effect serving a life sentence by default. 
Sort of makes me think of the "Kafkaesque" criminal justice system of
St. Croix in "V.R.T.", where they eventually decide, pretty much by
default, to hold Victor Trenchard alias John Marsch Phd. indefinitely.
Release, over such a petty technicality as innocence of the crime for
which "Marsch" presumably was originally being investigated (the murder
of Maitre, for which Number Five already had been convicted and
sentenced), would constitute an unthinkable admission of error and
fallibility on the part of the Croix secret police.

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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