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Date: Tue, 22 Oct 2002 08:09:43 -0700
From: Michael Andre-Driussi 
Subject: Re: (urth) PEACE: ghost of Christmas

Roy wrote:
>Whoa, now! Since when did Santa Claus get to be a ghost?!

Santa Claus is something of a chimerical creature -- part saint (Saint
Nicholas), part elf, part burglar .  While he does not appear as himself
in "A Christmas Carol" as one of the ghosts of Christmas, he seems rather
close to at least one of them.  What category of being is he, then?
"Imaginary being, seasonal"?

In the present example [heh], I'm thinking of him as being a ghost, albeit
of a higher order than most, and entirely benign.  That is, his name was
voiced and so he was summoned (this really is a critical key of PEACE), he
did his magic without being heard or detected, he vanished.

>I posted about the switch two years ago. Teenage Den was right about who
>switched the gifts--it was his grandfather, for sexual favors anticipated
>and received that night. The old man was _not_ a good boy. The proof is the
>layout of the house. There were two upstairs bedrooms. When Bella and Della
>were girls, one room had been theirs; the other had belonged to their
>grandmother. (22) Mab now slept in the old grandmother's room. Den and his
>mother slept in the girls' old room. Mr. Elliot's bedroom was on the first
>floor. (27) Grandpa Elliot told Den: "I just come down myself to have a look
>at these here candles before I puts them out and goes up to bed." Note the
>coming down and going up. Christmas morning he "came down and shaved". (25)
>Elliot spent that cold night with Mab, who couldn't put her present under
>the tree.

Which is great for determining the switch of the water for the pearls!  But
it cannot explain the switch of the book (which presumably was a mundane
book bought by one of the adults).  The obvious switch of water for pearls
is the cover for the more important switch; in a similar way the obsessive
importance of the Christmas knife that Weer searches for is a cover for the
magical origin and magical nature of the book.

Wolfe did a trick like this in TBOTNS.  Thecla has a number of books
brought to her, and we know that one of them, the brown book, becomes this
highly important item for Severian.  We see it throughout the four volumes,
etc.  But in fact, one of the unnamed volumes that Thecla got from the
library was [Canog's] THE BOOK OF THE NEW SUN.  In this way, the brown
book, while as oracular as Weer's green book, acts in TBOTNS as the
Christmas knife does in PEACE, to hide or obscure the presence of another

I would also like to point out that the green book itself is congruent with
the (green) china pillow, because Weer reads the green book before nodding
off to sleep.  (Perhaps its hidden title is "The Book of Dreams"?)  But
mainly it shows him his future just as the pillow showed the hero his

The green book tells the future and Gold's forgeries warp the past; in this
sense, then, Lou Gold is, er, the anti-Claus, in that he is the author of
lies based on the past.

(If grampa did do the switch, then it was clearly not premeditated, since
he showed young Weer the situation at that time.  Risky, if not stupid, of
grampa to make the switch after showing Weer, since as a little kid he is
very likely to blurt out what he knows, causing all sorts of trouble.  From
this standpoint it makes more sense for Della to make the switch, she not
knowing that Weer and grampa had met in secret at around midnight.)



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