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From: Michael Andre-Driussi <mantis@siriusfiction.com>
Subject: (whorl) Starship travel in URTH
Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2002 17:26:55 -0800

Andy R wrote:

>It would be a parallel with Severian's time-warping experiences on The
>Ship -
>Wolfe obviously understands enough relativity to know that FTL travel and
>time travel are the same thing.     The Ship, leaving this space-time
>continuum for a higher one, returns to this one at an earlier time.

Well . . . in general, maybe; in specifics, not exactly.

That is to say, the example we have in the text (URTH), is that the Ship
sails out of the Briah universe and into the (presumably tachyonic)
universe of Yesod. Then Severian gets =off= the ship, spends a short amount
of time (a local day or so, iirc) on the world/ship Yesod, and then, from
=within= the world/ship Yesod (which might be another universe alltogether,
i.e., "Abaddon") Severian is teleported (simultaneity) to Briatic space,
near enough to the Ship to be drawn onboard with a life saver.

He did not get back onboard the Ship in Yesod space.

The 1000+ years of time reversal thus happened during Severian's stay on
Yesod world/ship (perhaps time flows backwards in Yesod space; or maybe
time flows backwards only within the world/ship Yesod).

We don't really know what the experience on the Ship travelling from Yesod
to Briah is like.  If it is a mirror image of the trip from Briah to Yesod,
then perhaps it sails to the beginning of Briah, which would be something
like the Big Bang. (The big problem is that time dilation is a one-way
street: Ship is still moving into the future only, unless Yesod space has
some sort of reverse-time aspect.)

But Severian has to get to Urth within a very narrow timeframe.  The Old
Autarch, who failed the test quickly, seems not to have gone into the
interior of world/ship Yesod.  He presumably departed on the Ship and
arrived back on Urth within a few months or maybe a year after his
departure (again, time dilation is a one-way street).

Not so for Severian.  He is cast into Briah space at a point 1000 years
before his own time, and picked up by a Ship that had not met him yet.

In short: teleportation again complicates the picture. <g>

(Ossipago, Barbatus, and Famulimus use a time saucer, so time-machines are


Sirius Fiction
booklets on Gene Wolfe, John Crowley

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