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From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" 
Subject: (urth) Irritating Loonies and Planet of the Grapes
Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2002 14:59:28 -0800

Jeff Wilson, come on down! 

You wrote...

> Rudesind and others of his society can't be expected to be cognizant of
> what else besides mere irrigation would be required to cover the moon
> with forest. 

I'm not at all sure that this is true. (Well, it might be true of 
Rudesind specifically, but I'm speaking of "others of his society"),
for (at least) two reasons:

First, while there is obviously a serioius loss of technology among the 
commonality of Urth-humans, resulting in the "medieval"-level technology, 
it's not at all clear (at least to me) that this comes from ignorance; 
it seems equally likely that it comes from lack of resources (which we 
know to be a serious problem in the time of the Autarchs, viz., "ages" 
defined as "the depletion of some resource," etc.), possibly/probably 
including the resource of energy (solar power isn't much of an option 
here...). But things Severian and others say lead me to think that they
have _not_ fallen into ignorance; while an early comment (a blurb?) 
described the society of tBotNS as "having forgotten what spaceships
are for," it's quite clear that he _does_ know what the Towers of the
Citadel are and can do (or could if they weren't fallen into disrepair).
This is a society where people don't see the Sun rise, they see the
horizon fall away from it. It seems fairly clear that they have more
scientific and technical knowledge than they can actually make use of.

Second, while Rudesind himself probably isn't a techie, "his society"
includes the population of the House Absolute - in other words, the
parts of Urth society still more-or-less at the Urth level of technology. 

> Have you not read _Planet Of The Apes_ or seen the original film? 
> The Whorl doesn't need any special qualities to travel through a warp in
> space and time any more than anyone visiting the Botanical Gardens do.

This is absolutely true - but I should hasten to add that passing 
through a spacetime warp (whatever _that_ is) and winding up back at 
the Ushas-Lune system  years later, doesn't do a thing for 
the Red Sun being visible in the Bluvian sky. And, no, I'm sorry,
that one isn't going to go away because of spacewarps, curved space,
or any other explanation short of "the author waved his magic wand
and made it happen" - which is the act of an incompetent author, _not_
Gene Wolfe.


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