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From: "Tony Ellis" <tony.ellis@futurenet.co.uk>
Subject: (urth) The mirror crack'd
Date: Fri, 01 Sep 2000 15:06:42 +0100

Nigel Price wrote:

> This is a story that I would like to discuss… The boy in "And when they
> appear" has the chance to escape by hiding in the freezer… but
> fails to do the sensible thing…

Ah, but does he? The sanctuary that House offers the boy has its dark
side. He’s a prisoner. He has no contact with other human beings or with
the outside world. We’re repeatedly that he wants “real things”, and who
can blame him, but all he’s got are holograms. Shadows. Can you say “The
Lady of Shallot?”

House, no doubt with the best motives in the world, doesn’t want its
little boy to grow up and leave home. Doesn’t it strike you as just a
teensy bit suggestive that House wants to ‘save’ the boy in a deep
freeze? With the preserved bodies of his parents?

Suppose he did hide in the freezer. Would he ever have been able to open
that great heavy door again? Wouldn’t he find, if he did, that he was
entombed under the rubble of the collapsed house?

As upsetting as the story’s ending is, at least it ends with the boy
still alive. The hideous Anti-Claus he’s shacked-up with isn’t the sort
of human contact any of us would wish for him, but at least he’s out in
the real world now. He’s escaped one gaoler, he can escape another.

One more thing. I may be reading too much into this, but:

At the start of the story, we’re carefully primed with the information
that Mouse has a small but deadly built-in blade. Background colour, or
Checkov’s Gun? At the end of the story, Mouse is under the boy’s pillow,
the place traditionally reserved for weapons to fend off attacks in the

Tony Ellis
On-line Editor, PC Format magazine
01225 442244 x2349

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

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