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From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" 
Subject: RE: (urth) contra Summa contra Marcus
Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2002 09:33:56 -0800

Hartshorn wrote (very cut):

> Hethor's monsters are far more alien to Urth than are any
> of the entities on Green or Blue.

True; but my point was simply that the alien creatures in tBotNS
seem to be Urth-compatible enough to live and feed there. Indeed,
the degree of compatibility of the alzabo with Urthly life is so
complete and complex as to suggest a strong tendency, in the 
Lupiverse, for all life (or "all life evolved on worlds with free
oxygen and temprature-pressure ranges that permit lots of liquid
water and reasonably Urthlike gravity") to be biochemically 

Which is, after all, pretty much another convention of SF (or
at least pulp-descended SF).

> Yes, but this means very little unless Green has world-oceans
> like Blue. It doesn't (it has a world-forest instead, that is
> why it is Green).  Tidal effects depend on the size of the
> body of water.

Ummmm.... three points here.

First, it's hard to believe that Urth-like life will work on a
world without large bodies of open water. You need a certain basic
size of water reserve to keep it all from disappearing into the
atmosphere -- and the hotter the world, the more likely this is to
be true, and lower gravity will make the problem worse as more 
of the stuff escapes into space. (Lower gravity also therefore 
makes the problem of anything as _different_ as the inhumi having
the time to evolve on a terraformed Lune that much tougher.)

(OTOH, I have in fairness to point out that there's no particular 
reason to assume that Green is actually hotter than Blue -- Horn 
experiences a relatively small geographical area of Green; it 
could easily all be equatorial.)

Second, if Green is a terraformed Lune, in order for it to be as
moist as we're shown, one of two things must be true: either there
_are_ large bodies of open water, filling the large craters and so
on; or else the people who terraformed it didn't just give it water
and air, but ran an iron over the whole thing so that there are no
low spots where water will gather.

Third, and to my mind most significant, in Wolfe's other major
green/blue system, the green planet most definitely _does_ have

So then I read this:

> My own beliefs on the Green/Blue   Lune/Ushas conundrum are complex.   
> It is a beautiful idea, but I suspect that if it were true we would
> be seeing many more direct signifiers.   There is no *compelling* 
> reason to believe it.

Which, really, is my main point. There is no compelling reason -- 
no real textual evidence -- beyond it being a "beautiful idea." 
Marc has been fighting for it, primarly because it _does_ offer
resolution to a number of questions, but there's no significant
textual evidence _for_ it. It's a huge hypothetical, that requires
a number of other totally unsubstantiated hypotheticals (like the
retrovirus I flippantly tossed off and you accepted so blandly) 
to make it work. Given that, I can't accept it short of a 
"smoking gun" bit of textual evidence or a clear statement from

> What really runs behind it is the Blue World/Green World
> thematic duality that seems to be a near constant of Wolfe's
> planetary fiction.  And it is possible that Wolfe has no 
> clear idea himself, or is leaving his options open.

One thing behind it, of course, is that Wolfe likes to create
systems with two planets that he can set in contrast, and this
is the most plausible pair of "themes" for worlds where humans
can reasonably live.

But I agree that there's also something more going on in the
back of Wolfe's mind, probably where he himself can't see it.
This is a problem for the sort of critic who likes to apply
psychoanalytic methods and other such mumbojumbo; I will leave
it to them.



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