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From: Peter Westlake <peter@harlequin.co.uk>
Subject: Re: (urth) Free Live Free
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 10:16:34 +0000

At 22:57 2000-01-25 -0500, Michael wrote:
>I just read this book again, and once again enjoyed it.  I think it's one
>of Wolfe's most fun books.
>I was wondering if the Quadrumvirate's temptations can be mapped to the
>seven deadly sins.

Nice idea, but there are only four of them, and most temptations
are covered by the seven.

>I counted four mentions of The Wizard of Oz - Two by Candy, and two that
>actually mention the musical The Wiz.
>The timeline at the end in my edition was a big help, 

Not fair! Not fair! *My* copy hasn't got a timeline!

but I'm still left
>trying to puzzle out Whitten/Free's timeline from his own perspective.  
>Can anyone fill in the stuff I haven't figured out?

I was going to ask the same myself. You're ahead of me, though:

>Whitten joins the Army
>May 1942 Whitten briefly disappears when his future self comes back early.
>Aug 1942 Whitten goes to High Country and goes to the future 1952
> (preumably the 1952 Whitten disappears when this happens? Is this
> ever mentioned?)

No, but he makes several trips into the future, so it would
be easy for him to be away over that period.

>Whitten returns to May 42, waits til Aug to make his report
>Whitten makes a few more trips into the future
>[is it at this point he goes back to 1803?]

I don't think so; see below.

>1982 Whitten buys the Magic Carpet (has he been living all that time
> or did he jump to 1982?)
>1983 Whitten disappears when Free appears, and reappears after Kip 
> kills Free.

Now this is the bit I didn't understand. How does he reappear?
He would have to, really, in order to do all the stuff below.
But I thought Wolfean time travel involved a kind of "short
circuit", a folding back, with the combined traveller being
the only one left. You go back in time, "absorb" your former
self, and carry on from there. It never occurred to me that
reappearing was allowed. So, do the four also reappear? The
big jet that they all hear during their temptations is, I always
assumed, their ride home, though I don't see why such a big plane
would be needed or even sensible. They don't disappear then,
so either this isn't them landing, or it's different because we
are still on the "first" iteration round the timelines.

>1983 Whitten kidnaps the quadrumvirate
>Whitten briefly disappears while the quad are talking to Free
> in the cockpit of High Country
>Whitten reappears and uses Ben Free's device to "desert" 
> (is this where he goes to 1803?)

Isn't it *after* he talks to them?

>An older Whitten comes back to 1983 and talks to the quad. in the 
> cockpit of High Country (and then he goes where/when?)

I think this is where he goes back to 1803, though I didn't
notice the date - where was that mentioned? He stays there
a long time, and grows old. Is that what he meant by it
being too late to return?
>Whitten reappars a few days earlier as Ben Free and lives with 
> the quad in his house until it is torn down.
>Free disappears (goes somewhere in the device? Where/When?)
>Free comes back a day later, and is killed by Kip.

And another question: at the end, Ozzie and Little Ozzie arrive
at the house (from where? did Ozzie land, go and find Little Ozzie,
and come back? It sounded as though he had been away for longer
when the witch greeted him, though I could be wrong) and go in
through the back door. This is the other gizmo, of course, and
evidently it is still working, just as it was when Free swept a
load of rubbish into an un-wintry garden; the house is ruined
and empty, but they go in to find everyone there and the kitchen
usable. So, to what time do they travel, and with what effect?

SBear, who has reason to believe that there is an imported copy of
_On Blue's Waters_ wrapped in birthday paper somewhere in his house
:-) :-)

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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