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From: "Nigel Price" 
Subject: (urth) Well use a thaddle, thilly!
Date: Tue, 13 May 2003 13:37:33 +0100

I thought that the "The Tree is my Hat" barrel was empty, but it turns out
that there are just a few more last dry scrapings to be got out. Here goes.

The shark is a hammer-head. In some mythologies, for example Norse, the
thunder god makes thunder by hitting an anvil with a hammer. At the end of
Wolfe's story, the shark disappears into a thunder-head. This juxtaposition
of hammer and thunder made me listen again to see if any of the significant
meetings between Baden and Hanga take place on a Thursday ("Thor's Day"),
but although we get dates from Baden's journal, we don't get days. Without
knowing the year in which the story is set, this doesn't get us anywhere.
I'm not sure what it would add, anyway, but it was an interesting detail...

Thanks to Josha and Mournings Glory for further particulars on the medicinal
use of arsenic.

It did occur to me when I was transcribing the end of the story last night
that Wolfe's interest in the dramatic use of the last words of people on
aircraft before they crash might well have been prompted by Patrick
O'Leary's references to the subject in both his short story "23 Skidoo" and
his wonderful novel _The Impossible Bird_. In both instances, Patrick has
someone play the tape from an aircraft's "black box" flight recorder which
records the crew's last words before a crash. It's interesting to compare
Patrick's dialogue with Wolfe's monologue. Here's the end of the "recording"
used in "23 Skidoo":

>>A pause)"
>>A whisper. "Mom, I love you."

OK, not an exact match, but some slight similarities? Remember that Wolfe
contributed an introduction to _Other Voices, Other Doors_, the anthology in
which "23 Skidoo" appears, and has certainly read and referred to _The
Impossible Bird_.


One of my many old started-then-abandoned messages to the list collated
previous references on the list to TTimH. I found the message lying
abandoned in my Drafts folder and had another look at it. As well as
quotations from John Barach (Thu, 21 Mar 2002 15:12:58 -0700), Michael
Andre-Driussi (Thu, 16 Sep 1999 13:42:48), and the already quoted comments
from Robert Borski (Sun, 28 Apr 2002 13:52:15 -0500), there was also this
contribution from Roy C. Lackey (Mon, 27 Sep 1999 21:17:11)...

>>>From a local reviewer--Michael Barrett--
>>of the anthology _999_ in the _San Antonio
>>Express-News_, Sunday, September 26, 1999:

>>'"The Tree Is My Hat" by Gene Wolfe, better
>>known as a science fiction writer -- A vivid
>>Polynesian island tale about a man with a
>>debilitating disease and the ghost or dwarf or
>>something-or-other who befriends him as a blood
>>brother. Full of strange, unexplained details
>>that one feels must mean more than Wolfe is
>>telling us.'
>>Yeah, sounds like Wolfe.

I should have left it at that, shouldn't I?

I think that that really is it. All that remains now is to see whether I can
drag myself through finishing my uncompleted essays on "The Death of Doctor
Island" and "Tracking Song"...not to mention my paper on TBotNS for


PS A while back, Jonathan Laidlow wrote...

>>While currently in my "I have no brain and I must
>>scream" phase I would just like level the charges at
>>Price: folky *and* hippy!

Guilty as charged, M'lud.

(Did you see that brilliant documentary about Richard Thompson on BBC 4
recently? I've just been watching a tape someone lent me. Was that just a
drop-D tuning on "Vincent Black Lightning 1953" or was he using DAGDAD?
Ooops, sorry, Ranjit! Forgot myself there for a moment.)

>>How can we let him continue in this list?

By an appeal to grace rather than law, I suspect.

>>Alright alright, we contain multitudes and all that,
>>I'll go back to the (for shame!) Star Wars novel I'm
>>currently reading, and we'll forget I ever edited a GW
>>website.... Do I get expelled for enjoying reading
>>pulp fiction?

What about *writing* it??? I've recently discovered that there are
contributors to the Urth list who are official published *writers* of Star
Wars stories. Compared with that, merely reading the stuff seems a pretty
mild offence...


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