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From: Michael Andre-Driussi <mantis@sirius.com>
Subject: (urth) PEACE: 1920 timeline, last time
Date: Wed, 8 Nov 2000 09:08:39 

One last neat thing about the timeline that sets Den's birth-year at 1920
(and thus validates the "Liberty" magazine in Dr. B's office): it makes the
Year of the Egg take place in 1929, riding exhilaratingly close to the
market crash.

I like this, because it makes the "high stakes" and lunacy of the whole Egg
Mania (and the lifestyles of all those we see) rather like a micro-view of
the entire country on the very verge of economic collapse and Great
Depression.  It also lends a great deal of urgent energy to Ricepie's
hand-wringing about the bank, and Blaine's hamfisting about the same.

These trace-but-delightful details are lost if the Year of the Egg is 1925.

Well, five years of difference, what does it matter?  Can't we keep 1920
and have everything else work out along the EZ timeline? (Aside from 1938
being a few years younger for Den, that is.)

The answer is no.

 4   sees Dr. Black; "Liberty" magazine
10   Olivia marries Julius Smart (should be "THE CHEMICAL WEDDING"?)
13   Den's parents return from Europe
17?  Den tells Margaret tale of Tilly
20   College junior; buys first car; Olivia dies?
22   employed at factory as engineer
24   cold house prank
25   Chinese Garden dream (Olivia dies? Peacock dies?)
~50   rich man; GOLDEN YEAR
~60   dead man <g>
360   author <G>

The answer is "no" because we want "GOLD HUNT = 1954; Den = 40"; this
requires Den's birth year be moved back to 1914.

Adam, you wrote about Den's career and his sense of chance.  Right, there's
that; but there's also the stuff he is ignoring, like the cold house prank.
He is responsible (although the "whys" get more tricky, imho, if he is a 24
year old engineer rather than an 18 year old summer worker), he should be
fired, but he's Julius's nephew, so he isn't fired; he should advance
through his years at the plant, but there's that black mark, so he doesn't
advance; he is frozen (just like the fellow who died).

The prank was more than a stupid mistake. It was murderous, and Den had
plenty of time to fix it (i.e., unlock door, run like hell), but he didn't.

More about the prank: a prank among equals is one thing, a prank from an
engineer to a laborer seems more abusive to me.  I can see how an engineer
would spend some time in the cold house, doing one thing or another; how he
might become acquainted with workers there, with friendship growing to the
point where pranks can happen.  Maybe I'm imagining too much distance
between entry-level engineer and cold house worker in a new-ish factory in
the late '30s.

Was the victim just an unknown, or was he somehow somebody that Den wanted
revenge upon?  Even in the sense that Den pushed Bobby to protect Joe.

Why the prank, anyway?  Emotional tangle around that age: Olivia died; Den
didn't marry Margaret . . .

(The Chinese Garden dream is clearly founded upon Olivia's death, and
metaphorically speaking, it takes place inside her head--that is, Den is
walking in there.  He says he is 25 years old, which makes it seem as
though Olivia dies when Den is 25.  Then again, it is more about Den coming
to terms with her death, completing the process of mourning . . . so maybe
the Chinese Garden dream has to do with the death of Peacock, killer of
Olivia: this allows Den to finally accept Olivia's death, find peace with
it . . . or maybe it was just five years of less dramatic mourning that
finally did it . . .)


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

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