(urth) The Sorcerer's House Questions (*Major Spoilers*)

Gwern Branwen gwern0 at gmail.com
Mon Mar 29 14:19:40 PDT 2010

On Mon, Mar 29, 2010 at 5:01 PM, Thomas Bitterman <tom at bitterman.net> wrote:

> Nothing else fits the notes.
> - if Wolfe is the Compiler, why would he have to pay one of his own
>   characters for some letters?  why/how would he search out the sword
>   and perform other in-world actions?
> - if it is some other, unknown, in-world character, how did they hear about
>   this obscure, small-town missing-persons case?  how did they know the
>   letters were out of order?  how did they get letters sent to Doris, whom
>   they never spoke to?  or the letters from George to Bax, both dead?

None of these are insurmountable, and all are far more likely than the
framestory in TBOTNS. (Oh, in the incredible vastness of space, the
translator found a tiny object floating around from a previous
universe? Whatever.)

There's somebody interested in anything. The long tail. Maybe the
compiler is a historian from that town. Maybe they are a relative.
Maybe they are a researcher who heard about the Hound of Horror and
investigated. (Remember the backfiles bristling comment; that's the
comment of someone who has went into the stacks.) There are millions
of books published each year; they can't *all* be about major
interesting topics. And the letters are intrinsically interesting.
(Look at us!)

How did they know the letters were out of order? Do you have some
reason to distrust the given explanation?

How do you know the compiler never spoke to Doris? He doesn't mention
her. Not all thanks are exhaustive.

Why couldn't Millie (whom the compiler thanks first and foremost for
access to letters, including letters belonging to George) have
George's letters? If 'George' inherited the mansion, then he also
inherits those letters, which would have been left in the mansion. Why
would 'George' have kept them? Trophies, or just scholarly ratpacking.

None of these answers are particularly odd, none throw any particular
light on anything (and so Wolfe can't be expected to have supplied
them), and importantly, don't force us to doubt each and everything we
are told. Total skepticism is not a good exegetical starting point
with fiction.


More information about the Urth mailing list