(urth) 5HOC - no. 5, Marsch, Eastwind and Sandwalker

Tony Ellis tonyellis69 at btopenworld.com
Wed May 9 13:48:10 PDT 2007

Adam Stephanides wrote:
>Rereading this passage, I noticed something odd... <snip>

I take your point that the April 23 entry reads a lot like a normal
Marsch entry. But the idea that the reader is supposed to infer VRT
copied out an entry in someone else's bad handwriting in his *own* bad
handwriting is a step too far for me - especially as it also requires
us to infer that he cut out the original entry when Wolfe gives us no
indication of any such mutilation to the journal. (And that's another
thing: the officer notices when pages have been removed expertly, but
not when it's done by hamfisted VRT?)

Perhaps the cat bit Marsch and Wolfe doesn't think it's such a big
coincidence that his altered handwriting looks like VRT's. After all,
VRT's handwriting is what writing looks like when you hold the pen
wrongly, and that's what Marsch would be doing.

But I don't think so. For me, it's simply too much to swallow that
just before Marsch's handwriting changes because he's been replaced by
an alien that can't write properly, it changes *anyway* because he was
bitten by a cat. I suppose it's just down to personal taste.

Coming back to the April 23 journal entry... on balance I think VRT
wrote it. The curious business of preceding the entry with an
out-of-sequence note seems to indicate that something is up. And more
importantly *why does Marsch wait until he has killed the ghoul-bear
to tell us he killed the tire-tiger the day before?* The man loves
shooting wildlife, and is hugely proud of his kills. If he was so
excited about killing the tiger, as the entry says he was, why didn't
he excitedly write about it in his journal at the time? His cat bite
certainly wasn't a handicap.

Also: "The boy had enticed [the cat] into his lap and was sitting - as
he always used to when he wasn't cooking - with his back to the

Why "as he always used to"? Why write as if that's something that used
to happen, but doesn't now? Because the writer is VRT, and the
expedition ended a month ago? That would be my guess.

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