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From: maa32 <maa32@dana.ucc.nau.edu>
Subject: time travel in Short Sun (and Chenille on Blue)
Date: Tue, 01 Jan 2002 19:20:38 -0700

All right, this will be my last post for tonight.  (I guess I have nothing 
else to do - I keep thinking of new stuff - hopefully someone will find 
SOMETHING worth discussing).
Near the end of the first person narrated sections of Return to the Whorl, the 
narrator says there is "no returning to the past save in dreams."  
The description of Astral Travel that the narrator offers when he first 
discovers its repeatability identifies it as "a dream in [his] sleeping mind".
 Is there any indication that time travel occurs during those "astral travel" 
experiences?  At first, I was sure that Blue and Green were Ushas and Lune 
(albeit a Lune that had been somehow cast from its orbit into a heliocentric 
orbit and in which the green terraforming had gotten out of control, but it is 
still close enough to effect the tides of Blue), but I find that stance 
untenable in light of the accurate pasage of time between the Nessus that 
Rigoglio remembers and the actual progress of the city. (does anybody else 
remember the part in Nightside the Long Sun where Marble's internal clock is 
off by a factor of ten?  That would make the time elapsed in the whorl 3,000 
years rather than 300 or so, but that is an untenable supposition as well, due 
to all sorts of other evidence that the time in the whorl was only a couple 
hundred years.)  All the cities of the neighbors that exist under the water 
(according to Seawrack)would at least seem to indicate that a similar flood 
has occurred on Blue as the one that heralded the birth of Ushas.  Also, why 
does Jahlee make a big point about Merryn having problems with animals, too?  
Are we to buy that the Cummean and Merryn are inhumi, and that they have 
always been with mankind (or, if time travel is possible, always will be?)

Ok.  I kind of like the idea that the astral travel can be time travel, and 
could explain the presence of Silk in Inclito's mother's story.  
But on the other hand, what about the narrator's ability to influence Fava's 
story?  He claims he can change her story and enter it.  Can he exert the same 
influence on the accounts written by his family after he is gone (the even 
chapters of Return to the Whorl), to change things and make it more or less 
reliable according to his whims - steering Hide away from an event which he 
does not want revealed?

One more random thought.  At the end of Chapter 7 in Return to the Whorl, the 
narrator keeps seeing Auk in his chair and he confuses Jahlee for Chenille 
because she fed on a "big woman" who was drunk or on rust outside the bar.  
Could the astral travel that the narrator undertook towards the very end of In 
Green's Jungles, in which he visited his body with his son Sinew and gave him 
the white ring, have included a freeing of Auk and Chenille, and their travel 
to Blue in Horn's Lander?  Could Jahlee have fed on Chenille as she wandered 
around Blue, seeking drink to cope with the probable death of her adopted 
children at the hands of the inhumu?  Perhaps the narrator didn't simply leave 
Auk and Chenille at the mercy of the Triviguantis on Green.

OK, enough for now.  I hope someone will have something to say about some of 
this stuff.
Marc Aramini

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