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From: Michael Straight <straight@email.unc.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) Free Live Free
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 11:09:46 

On Wed, 26 Jan 2000, Peter Westlake wrote:

> >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.

What I meant was, can we choose one of the seven that names each of the
four's "main" temptation?  I think Stubb is pride, but you could make a
case for anger.   I'm not sure about the witch.

> >The timeline at the end in my edition was a big help, 
> Not fair! Not fair! *My* copy hasn't got a timeline!

Would it be "fair use" for me to post it to the mailing list?  Did we
discuss this before?

> 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.

I don't understand what you mean.  I'm saying that when the 1940s Whitten
goes to the future, 1952, then the 10-years-older 1952 Whitten ought to
disappear (forever? until the 1940s Whitten goes back to his own time?)

> >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. 

I agree that this seems to be how Whitten explains it, but Kip's motive
for shooting Free was that "she must have known she would never get her
father back as long as I--Free--refused to go back" (from Chapter
59).  So she must have expected her father to reappear.

But this would imply that if someone goes back in time, absorbs his former
self, then dies, then the former self would reappear.  X lives? (where X
is the number of times you've re-doubled yourself?)

Also, as I mentioned above, what happens when you go forward in time?  Do
you "absorb" your future self?  Maybe there's only an absorption when an
older self goes back to the time of a younger self.

> >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?

I messed that part up (but not the way you think) here's excerpts from the

Friday, Jan 14, 1983 - Free comes back to his house, Whitten disappears.
Thu, Jan 20, 1983 - Kip kidnaps Free (he didn't escape the demolition via 
the time machine, Kip nabbed him)
Fri, Jan 21, 1983 - Kip and Free search the basement, Kip kills Free, 
Whitten reappears in his office
Sat, Jan 22, 1983 - The man in the duffle coat (Whitten as Kip knows
him) vanishes and the quad talk to Whitten ("Free") in High Country.
Mon, Jan 24, 1983 - the man in the duffle coat deserts, using Free's
hidden device 

So the younger Whitten, Kip's dad "deserts", not the older version we meet
in High Country.  But does Kip's dad go to 1803?  The older version in
High Country says of his still older, future self, "I think he must have
gone to some other time, although I have no idea what that time might
be.  To the Lewis and Clark expedition, I hope." (end of ch. 59).  So
where/when does Kip's dad go?

> 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?

My take on this scene is that, after they talk to Free in the cockpit,
Stubb, Candy, and Serpentina immediately go back in time via the High
Country's device.  Stubb decides to go back down in the shuttle airplane,
gets his son, then takes him to Free's house to use that device to go back
in time to whatever point the other three have gone back to.  Evidence:
the other three all immediately say yes to Free's offer, but Stubb says
"Swee'pea--" (Popeye's little kid).

So presumably, they go back and fold in to their earlier selves, and the
original lives they lived (everything we read) are gone except in their
own memories.


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

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