FIND in
<--prev V205 next-->
Date: Mon, 6 May 2002 16:37:24 -0700
From: Michael Andre-Driussi 
Subject: (urth) brown book stories, their relevance

Josh Geller quoted blattid and wrote:

>>                                                            ... It's
>> pretty clear why the story of Dr. Death is present in "The Island of
>> Doctor Death and Other Stories"; it's a little less clear why the
>> "brown book" stories are present in tBotNS, but there's no doubt in
>> anyone's mind that they're fiction and that they're there for a good
>> and sufficient reason.
>They are not just fiction: they are myth. They express patterns of history
>in easily understood and transmissible terms.
>'The Story Of The Student And His Son' is (among many other things) the
>story of the Monitor and the Virginia (the Merrimac: from the US civil
>conflict of the 1860's) overlaid upon the story of Theseus.
>The one about the wolves and 'Fish and Frog' is (again, among many other
>things) an interplanetary war overlaid on the founding myth of Rome.

I wrote "A Closer Look at the Brown Book" (New York Review of Science
Fiction #54, Feb. 1993).  I remain quite interested.

To blattid: I think there are strong parallels between the stories and
Severian's story: clearly they are oracular to Severian's situation, but I
wanted to trace them down and find what patterns I could.  Patterns they
share with each other, patterns they share with the Urth Cycle. They seem
to impart a sense of the vast sweep of posthistory, giving a historical
feeling.  The shortest answer might be to say that they are hologramic
fragments of the entire Urth Cycle.

To Josh Geller: But I don't recall an interplanetary war in "The Tale of a
Boy Called Frog."  The childhood and youth of the person who would
eventually become the first galactic Emperor, yes, I can see that--but
interplanetary war within the tale, that escapes me.  Please tell me more!


booklets on Gene Wolfe, John Crowley
Lexicon Urthus out of print!


<--prev V205 next-->