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From: Michael Andre-Driussi <mantis@sirius.com>
Subject: Re: (urth) PEACE: What went wrong?
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2000 21:36:05 

Adam wrote:

>We think of Weer as being like the lich who was raised, but from
>Weer's point of view he is the one practicing necromancy--he tells us
>over and over that all the people he knew are dead.

I agree with this very much--one mode of Den I've been toying with is "King
of the necropolis"; that he is, in some way, at some level, re-animating
the dead around him, to ask them questions, to try and force answers from
them.  (This moves away from solipsism.)

Like those pagan judges in Hades; in the same way, Den became "lord" of the
city, and as such he is lord of the local dead (even though he thinks of
himself as the Last Man/necromancer).

(All very much shades of small scale Severian.)

But to put another twist on it: there's a metafictional thread which some
do not see.  For example, that part where the woman, is it Hannah or the
Old Kate?  Anyway, she's telling the story to little boy Den and she
remarks about the "other" person standing there in the room.  Now I have
always loved that part, because I thought it was the woman seeing =the
reader=; and I've seen comments by others who seem to have thought the same
thing, so I felt that was another given (like "Den is dead").  But then I
found a person or two who believe the "other" in this case is just adult
Den, re-seeing the scene . . . for me, this seems to violate some sort of
rule about one spirit (that is, if Den is there at all he is either the boy
or the adult, not both--it would have come in handy in the interview with
Doctor Black, for instance).

Anyway, part of Gold's talk on books suggests that there is something to be
feared about mass-market editions of THE NECRONOMICON--that enough people
doing this sort of thing could make the world scary.  This is implied
lightly, almost as a joke, iirc, and it offers yet another case of "what
went wrong" in the country beyond Den's memory mansion (Great Cthulhu woke
up, or whatever).

And yet, PEACE contains that bit of necromantic spell; PEACE was
mass-marketed.  And in the end, when Olivia says her famous phrase, it is
=we= who stop reading.

That is to say: we are the archaeologists digging up Den's skull, we are
the necromancers drawing his spirit forth to speak.  The book itself is the
fitting tomb of such a bookish fellow as Den.

(Ah, to compare and contrast PEACE with ENGINE SUMMER, that could be a fine


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