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Date: Wed, 15 May 2002 13:07:38 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jerry Friedman 
Subject: Re: (urth) Base 9 on the Whorl?

--- Robert Borski  wrote:
> Rostrum writing:
>  true.
> Me too. (Sniff.)
> < I really believed it for a minute. It seemed like such a Wolfean idea,
> him
> being an engineer and all, and the idea of it being subtly woven into
> all
> the books as an easter egg is fabulous, and it seems like the sort of
> thing
> Pas would do.
> When I first posted my base 9 supposition, I couldn't remember the other
> passage which I thought supported my theory. Several days later I have.
> It's
> in THE CROW anthology, Wolfe's story being "The Night Chough."
> In an unnamed town on Blue (though the names are Vironese), and after a
> violent thunderstorm (apparently spawned by the looming conjunction with
> Green), the young man known as Starling, accompanied by Oreb, is
> searching
> for the killers of his girlfriend Lily. The following passage then
> occurs
> (p. 68):
> **********************
> "Bad man. Go where? Bad man!"
> "There's one," the young man whispered, pointing. Through the
> twenty-second
> window--or perhaps it was the forty-third--could be seen three men and a
> woman seated around a rough table on which stood three dark bottles and
> five
> cheap wineglasses among scattered playing cards.
> **********************
> Now what struck me as odd here was the either/or specificity of these
> numbers. How could a window be either the 22 or the 43?

One possibility is that Starling can't tell whether adjacent
lights are nearby windows or two panes of a single window.  So if
1L represents the left pane of window 1, here are the two possible
numbering schemes.

1L 1R   2L 2R   3L 3R   4L 4R  ...  22L 22R
1  2    3  4    5  6    7  8   ...  43  44

To convince yourself that I didn't get out of alignment in my
ellipses, note that "nR" is the same as "2n".

Jerry Friedman

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