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From: "Roy C. Lackey" 
Subject: Re: (urth) Free Live Free Revisited
Date: Sun, 10 Nov 2002 01:35:04 -0600

John Barach wrote:
>I noticed in the archives that there was some question about the location
>the gizmo, which is said to be "in a wall" and (I think, though I can't
>the reference now) "under a sign."  At the very least, a sign is mentioned
>connection with it.  Barnes recognizes it on the last page of the book.
>gizmo is a wall, all right.  It's the door and the sign connected to it
>FREE LIVE FREE.  At least, that's how I understood it.

Correct, the gizmo was built into the back (kitchen) door of his house. Note
the morning glories visible outside that door when he swept the kitchen
floor near the beginning of chapter 6. The sign reference is at the end of
chapter 7. Since the sign read FREE LIVE FREE, which was the bold print in
the newspaper ad, I don't think those words were put on that sign until
*after* the old man was murdered. That is, an earlier, younger iteration of
Free, the general, "deserted" and went to the frontier of the early 19th
century, three days after the murder. The sign was weatherworn when Barnes
saw it because it had been painted some years before he saw it, by the
general, when he put the gizmo in the wall when he left the frontier for
good in 1819. The reason old Free told Barnes he wasn't sure if Barnes would
ever see that sign is because the 'trials' the four boarders would be
subjected to wouldn't take place until after he (Free) was dead. He couldn't
be sure of the outcome, even though his younger self had set up those
trials, because they hadn't happened yet, and the sign wasn't on the back
door when the boarders were living there, either, because the general
wouldn't desert for the frontier until a week after they moved in, using the
gizmo in the back door, which wouldn't be there until he put it there when
he left the frontier, about twenty years older than when he arrived. That's
all clear enough, isn't it? 

Even with the aid of the chronology at the end of my edition, the time
travel stuff is riddled with paradox.



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