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From: Jim Jordan <jbjordan@gnt.net>
Subject: Re: (whorl) Vodalus sez Urth flipt?
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 1997 19:33:06 

[Posted from Whorl, the mailing list for Gene Wolfe's Book of the Long Sun]

At 12:01 AM 3/18/97 GMT, Mantis wrote:
>I'm curious as to the text wherein Vodalus said that the Urth has
>flipped on its axis--where would that be located?

	Aw, man! I don't know! Gimmeabreak!
	I've read the Urth novels thrice, but I did not take notes. I dimly recall
it from the alzabo feast when Severian eats Thecla and brings her back to
life inside of himself -- but that might not be the place. Maybe someone
else can remember. Or maybe I'm offbase.

>Re: Cordwainer Smith and Wolfe, well sure, the similarities come down
>mainly to the coincidences of: 1) a fairy-tale style over a science fictional
>core; 2) some beastmen appropriated from H.G. Wells (who in turn took them
>from animal fables via FRANKENSTEIN); 3) a sense of Big History, lifted from
>Stapledon, or Toynbee, et al.; 4) a sense of Religion as a positive
>force; 5) a use of pagan elements to explore the mysteries of
>Religion (for example: the axis mundi part of Smith's QUEST OF THREE
>WORLDS is remarkably similar to what Severian sees on Yesod).

	There's a bit more. Fifth Head explores what it means to be human, and
that is a large part of Smith's work also. I started with Fifth Head, and
that is why I thought there was a good deal of Smith influence. Moving to
the Severian books, I saw the same kind of sacramental/symbolic concerns
that also run through Smith. Also, both have a real interest in
psychoanalysis (as in the stories in Island of Dr Death &c.). These, to me,
were more striking than the things you mention. At any rate, the
coincidences seem to arise from similar religious beliefs, and some similar
interests (religion, sacrament, political theory, war, human psychology).
	Curiously, there are lots of coincidences between Smith's Norstrilia and
Herbert's Dune, but both were written at the same time, so they are just

>Which I guess is a round about way of saying that there is more than
>one way to make banana nut bread, but certain key elements will
>distinguish said loaf from zuccini bread or pound cake.
>Questions or problems to whorl-owner@lists.best.com

Questions or problems to whorl-owner@lists.best.com

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