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From: Jim Jordan <jbjordan@gnt.net>
Subject: Re: (urth) Strange Travelers again. Sorry.
Date: Fri, 07 Apr 2000 13:11:28 

Don't apologize, especially if you have such interesting things to post.
Got any more insights?


At 04:31 PM 4/7/00 +0100, you wrote:
>Do I win a prize for being Last Person To Read Strange Travelers? My
>copy arrived 2 days ago. Apologies for discussing stuff everyone else
>got bored of months ago.
>I've got as far as 1-2-3 For Me. I'd just like to say that I agree 101%
>with William H. Ansley's view that this is a ghost story, pure and
>simple. In particular it's an M.R. Jamesian ghost story, and I was a
>little surprised to see no one else suggest this connection. For me
>there's a definite sly wink in the direction of James's classic "Oh
>Whistle, and I'll Come To You, My Lad!" Especially when you compare the
>two titles: Wolfe's reads like a deliberately cheeky, modernistic
>response to the Master. Why whistle, when you can tone-dial?
>In Jame's story it's an ancient whistle that's dug up, and out of an old
>Templar's chapel rather than a post-future city. Rather than numbers the
>whistle has a Latin inscription, but blowing it summons a Something,
>just as surely as dialing that old mobile phone does.
>Now, before everyone jumps on me, I'm well aware that the old
>artifact-that-summons-a-nasty plot has been used in a thousand ghost
>stories other than James's, but I also think it's fair to say that this
>is a device James pretty much made his own. More importantly, the Pusher
>that the phone summons is absolutely an M.R. James ghost. One of the
>more disturbing aspects of the old boy's stories is the sheer
>unpleasantness of his ghosts. They're not ethereal, wispy things:
>they're corporeal, skeletal, fleetingly glimpsed, and often hairy.
>Horribly hairy.
>Why did the mobile phone turn up in Jak's backpack when he thought he'd
>got rid of it? Because that's what cursed items do, folks. It's in the
>Various conspiracy theories involving bots and loss of cultural symbols
>seem to have been spun out of this one, but I don't think this story has
>particularly more to say about societal collapse than any other which
>uses a Fallen Civilisation backdrop. Vanity of vanities, saith the
>Preacher; vanity of vanities, all is vanity. What profit hath man of all
>his labor wherein he laboreth under the sun? One generation goeth, and
>another generation cometh; but the earth abideth for ever.
>*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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

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