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Location of the New Sun books: a theory

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message 1: by Patricio (new)

Patricio | 1 comments As a great admirer of Borges, an argentine writer, to the point that one chapter is dedicated to him ( Ultan , the archivist of the Citadel,is based on him, who was also blind ), The book of the New Sun, I think is located in Argentina,very far in the future, but with some recognizable places and customes.

For example, the Gyol river finished in a delta. Upstream the river there was a big fall. This is the same as Parana river.

The jungles in the book may be the Amazons.

And some of the characters drinks "mate" a typical infussion from Argentina.


message 2: by Ryan (new)

Ryan (tidfisk) | 3 comments Nice analysis. I think many would agree. The GURPS RPG System had a source book made up so people could play in the New Sun setting. South America was also the speculated location.

http://www.goodreads.com/search?query...


message 3: by Palmyrah (last edited May 21, 2012 05:13AM) (new)

Palmyrah | 39 comments Congratulations, Patricio, you are right!

‘If you read the book carefully, it's clear that the action is taking place in South America and that the invading Ascians are actually North Americans. What I didn't anticipate was that nine tenths of my readers and reviewers would look at the word "Ascian" and say, "Oh, these guys are Asians!"’
– Gene Wolfe

http://www.depauw.edu/sfs/interviews/...

Sadly, there is no prize.


message 4: by Scott (new)

Scott | 2 comments Yeah, I remember there being some little context clues buried within the text - things such as the sun's position in the sky and others could lead a reader to figure that it was definitely in the Southern Hemisphere. There were a few others that has me thinking it was S. America, but I can't call them to mind (haven't read them in several years).

This is, of course, one of the things I love about reading Wolfe. His first-person narrators never spell it all out for you. I know this drives some readers crazy, but I actually enjoy the mental exercise of trying to get into the characters' heads, see things how they see them, and then try to grasp them in my own terms. This seems to be what creates the divide between those who love Gene Wolfe and those who get frustrated with him.


message 5: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Palmer (stephenpalmersf) | 8 comments Authors who make their readers work - an endangered species, alas - do have a hard time of it.


message 6: by Lynn (new)

Lynn Tao (peachtly) | 7 comments Palmyrah wrote: "Congratulations, Patricio, you are right!

‘If you read the book carefully, it's clear that the action is taking place in South America and that the invading Ascians are actually North Americans. W..."


thanks for the link!
so helpful!


message 7: by Daniel (new)

Daniel (zlogdan) | 15 comments Wolfe made several references on the North being "colder" and the large usage of Latin rooted words might be also a hint. I am reading the "tetralogy", half on Book2 now, for the first time and I have made me the same question. Thanks.


message 8: by Robert (new)

Robert Defrank | 82 comments Scott wrote: "Yeah, I remember there being some little context clues buried within the text - things such as the sun's position in the sky and others could lead a reader to figure that it was definitely in the S..."

The trick is to listen to the audiobooks. A lot of them have really good readers who imbue emotions into the narrative, making it easier to get inside their heads. The New Sun books for example are excellent when they're listened to and you can feel the poetry of the world. I wonder if Wolfe himself has any input on the audio production process.


message 9: by Daniel (new)

Daniel (zlogdan) | 15 comments There are some mentions to sugar cane plantations which are not as abundant in Argentina so I believe Severian reaches in his journey the Brazilian border or goes inside Brazilian territory.


message 10: by Daniel (last edited May 09, 2017 09:09AM) (new)

Daniel (zlogdan) | 15 comments Comparing the Latin America's map against BoTN maps shown at "Lexicon Urthus" I believe that Nessus is located near the border of Argentina and Chile. House Absolute seems to be placed in Bolivia.

Orithyia is likely in Peru or Colombia. The huge lake close to Baldanders castle is probably Titicaca in Bolivia.


message 11: by Palmyrah (new)

Palmyrah | 39 comments But wouldn't the geography of Urth have changed in all those future aeons?


message 12: by Daniel (new)

Daniel (zlogdan) | 15 comments Palmyrah wrote: "But wouldn't the geography of Urth have changed in all those future aeons?"

Probably, but the maps seem to resemble the LA current maps. Still, climate and vegetation seem to have changed somehow. I think, not sure of course, that Wolfe thought meant that Nexus should be the Buenos Aires in this far future.

The huge lake close to Baldanders castle standing at high altitude makes me think of the Lake Titicaca, which stays between Peru and Bolivia's border.


message 13: by Palmyrah (last edited Jun 25, 2019 12:38AM) (new)

Palmyrah | 39 comments “Probably, but the maps seem to... ”

As much as can be interpreted from the text, yes, indeed. This illustrates an interesting problem confronting the author.

Wolfe was an unusually intelligent and extremely well-informed man, so he cannot have been ignorant that an interval of even a thousand years (a span orders of magnitude less than that which lies between our own day and Severian’s) would be enough to alter the shapes of river valleys and other topographical features beyond recognition, even without the help of human busybodies going about reconfiguring mountains in the shape of human heads, etc.

However, he wanted to set his action in what is presently South America, so he left these little clues, which depict not the distant future but the present. I suppose he gambled that the majority his readers would be more ignorant than he, and made a decision on the basis of reader comprehension rather than scientific reality.

Or else he genuinely didn’t know.

Are you the Daniel who was a frequent contributor to the Urth List?


message 14: by Daniel (new)

Daniel (zlogdan) | 15 comments Palmyrah wrote: "“Probably, but the maps seem to... ”

As much as can be interpreted from the text, yes, indeed. This illustrates an interesting problem confronting the author.

Wolfe was an unusually intelligent a..."


I am sure I am not that Daniel because I have started reading Wolfe in 2016 for my own shame of course since I am 46 now.
This talking has reminded me of something that happened to me when I was 17 or 18 and I was reading Alan Moore's Swamp Thing and at this issue specifically, the events happen in Patagonia and Moore describes it there as "wet, humid and warm". My first thought was "the man is wrong", then how come, Alan Moore, Alan Moore, would make such a mistake. From that day forward my impression of Patagonia has changed even though I know for certain that the place has more in common to Alaska than the Amazon. :-)

I live in Brazil, Sao Paulo. There is a chapter on Book of The New Sun, I think at "The Citadel Of The Autarch" that Severian goes near the today border between Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay since he mentions sugar plane plantations and I told myself I know this place probably hahaha.

But I agree with you about the locations. I have never been to Buenos Aires but that is for certain the most literate city in Latin America and definitely the coolest capital in South America.


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