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Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2002 13:26:37 -0700
From: Michael Andre-Driussi 
Subject: (urth) PEACE: ghost of Christmas

Having made my rule about ghosts, then yes, Mr. Tilly was killed by the
ghost of his wife (case solved!), and Santa Claus switched the presents for
Mab and Mrs. Weer (case solved!).

Weer asks his mother if Santa will bring presents for grandpa and she says
"If he's been a good boy"!  And what do you know!

No doubt you think I'm kidding, being frivolously silly.

I am not.

I confess I had never before seen that the Christmas book "from Santa" was
the green book, the one and only book that serves Weer in the same oracular
fashion that the brown book serves Severian in TBOTNS.  Previously I had
thought that "The Princess and Her Three Suitors" and "The Tale of ben
Yahya and the Marid" were inventions by Weer to explain his life after the
fact -- they are not.  They are stories from the green book, which is the
first book that Weer ever possessed, the first book he ever read on his
own.  The book is truly magical and the stories tell about the world around
him: specifically about his aunt Olivia's courtship in the egg hunt and his
own adventure in the gold hunt.

So Weer really did start to read those stories at the age of five, and they
remain unfinished because he stopped reading them.

This makes another echo with the china pillow story: Weer is a man who has
seen his future ("The Tale of ben Yahya and the Marid"), just like the
Chinese hero, yet Weer does not recognize it as his life until it is upon
him, because he has been deluded by his own self-generated dreams of
himself and Margaret Lorn.  That is to say, he has drugged himself with the
vision of the easy life, then the obstacles come up and thrash him around
until he wakes up as a 40-year old man in the "haunted city" of the Marid
story, but since he never finished reading that one, he has to work his way
through it and to the end.  Judging from the outcome, I'd guess that in the
arabesque story the woman he loved (Olivia) whom he thought he had found
again (Lois) turned out to be a treacherous ghula (that "digging up graves"
image is pretty strong in the interplay between Weer and Louis).

While I'm writing about pillow echoes, I will point out that Weer's
"Chinese garden dream," in which Weer (AD 2274) dreams about being 25 again
(AD 1939), has, I believe, image-ties to the china pillow story (the walls
and the plain, especially); furthermore, it is exactly the case of an old
man (well actually he is dead) successfully revisiting that grim and
frightful time when he stood on the cusp of his life's adventure.  He does
this and is not censured for it.


Sirius Fiction
booklets on Gene Wolfe, John Crowley
29 copies of "Snake's-hands" until OP!


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