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From: Michael Andre-Driussi <mantis@sirius.com>
Subject: (urth) PEACE frametale
Date: Fri, 27 Oct 2000 13:57:02 

Roy quoted & wrote:

>mantis wrote:
>>This brings up many good points.  It also seems like an opportunity to
>>raise the "one stroke or two medical emergencies?" tangle.
>Wouldn't you know it; I just happened to have a piece more or less prepared
>on this topic! Unfortunately, it repeats some of the points mentioned by
>mantis, but I'm too lazy to change it.

Ah, didn't mean to get in your way there--and oh, look, you've done me one
better by writing (more or less; or maybe more, actually!) what I was going
to say about the frametale.

So, about the frametale . . what Roy said.

My only additions/quibbles would be about the dead eating and otherwise
acting as if they were alive.  This is the way the dead are portrayed in
classical mythology (remember how the hero has to feed 'em some blood so
they can get enough strength/obligation to talk), and Gene Wolfe has used
exactly this example in many cases (Earth goddess feeding on human
sacrifice in the Soldier book, for example).

So there is precedent for ghosts eating.

I would also like to say that I have some questions about that initial
room, the glassed-in porch with fireplace, brick walls, and flagstones on
the floor.  Is it a normal room or a memory room?  (John Weer's house and
Mr. Eliot's house are wood; Olivia's house is, or has, brick.  The room
almost seems like something from the Lorns' farm.)  It seems like a normal
room, but what sort of a room is it?  It almost seems like a hunting lodge
(which leads into the Den's daddy thicket).  The windows look out onto the
garden, and three doors (opposite the windows?) lead to Dining Room,
Kitchen, and Den

But it is the presence of the axe that rings the bells for me.  The room is
located at the back of the mansion (the foyer based upon a child's-view of
Blaine's foyer is located in the front: the rooms are not chronological in
that regard).  Den is at the outer edge of the mansion, and there's the axe
he keeps talking about, and he spends an amount of time lingering in the
vicinity of the garden and the one room before he starts wandering further

"The House of the Axe" is the literal translation of Labyrinth, iirc.  So
Wolfe is signaling that Den is at the entrance to a maze . . . well,
=obviously= . . . and Wolfe also has a track-record of mixing up Daedelus
(labyrinth maker) with Minotaur (labyrinth monster/inhabitant) with Theseus
(labyrinth visitor).

Roy wrote:
>This scene, I believe, is a reenactment of one which occurred at his real
>office, the day that Dan French told him the Sidhe story and Miss Birkhead
>died. He suffered a stroke/heart attack, which brought him real-life pain.
>He fears Miss Birkhead answering the buzzer instead of Miss Hadow, because
>he had just learned that Miss Birkhead was dead. If she answered--then he
>must be dead, too.

I agree.  The day of reporter/Dan French/Miss Birkhead death is also Den's
last day alive (presumably Den's age 60+); the gap between this day and the
"previous" day (Bill Batton/Eleanor Bold/Charlie Turner; Den's age 49;
which almost seems like the same day) may be as short as a few months (if
the letter is just received that day) or many years (if Den is re-examining
the letter rather than reading it the first time).

Doris Corner:
Since Den was going to show the photo of Doris to Miss Birkhead, we can
assume (?) that she wouldn't recognize Doris (so Doris isn't Birkhead's
baby, for example; nor was Birkhead the fairy godmother who tried to help
Doris).  When things are this muddled, it is nice to check someone off the


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

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