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From: "Tony Ellis" <tony.ellis@futurenet.co.uk>
Subject: (urth) Death's Sentence
Date: Thu, 20 Apr 2000 16:13:00 +0100

Rostrum wrote:

> But then Dr. Death's statement makes no sense.  No matter how many times
> we read the story, Tackman will never be a minute older than he was at the
> end of Death's sentence (heh, accidental double entendre there).
<g> but...
...you're assuming Tackman has no life outside the story on the page.
I'm not sure that GW does. As I've said, this is a story about stories:
Wolfe's written a few of those, and most of them include the idea that,
at some level, stories have a life of their own.

Personally I don't see how Dr. Death's statement makes any sense
-except- the way I've always interpreted it. Apart from anything else,
it's the custom to end short stories with something of a twist or a
shock - which we get by this sudden shift in perspective. All this time
we've been treating poor Tackman as "real" in the sense in which we see
all fictional protagonists as real, temporarily suspending our
disbelief. Now we realise that he's ultimately no more "real" than the
characters in the pulp novel.

I suspect that this is the significance of Tackman writing his name in
the sand at the start of the story, too.

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

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