(urth) Home Fires and calendar reform **SPOILERS**

Darth Ed darthed77 at gmail.com
Tue Feb 1 21:21:53 PST 2011

Dave Tallman wrote:
> I found another clue -- Chelle's arrival day is specified as Day 180.
> This suggests all days in the year are simply numbered from 1 to 400.
> There is no need for hundred-day period names, because they can easily
> be worked out from the top digit.
> It's clear that there's no synchronization with the seasons. Day 180
> is clearly in winter, and for us it would be around the end of June.
> Probably years are measured in cycles of 400 days, so all ages should
> be inflated by a factor of about 13/12. The system is absolutely,
> chillingly logical and human-centric, completely cut off from nature.

Hi, Dave. While I agree that the 100-day billing period for rent is
suggestive, I think it's a bit of a stretch to make the leap to 400-day
years. It just doesn't seem very pragmatic. And, if humanity were going to
deviate from a solar-based calendar system, why choose 400? Why not 1000?
10 periods of 100 days each. Probably have 10 days in a "week" with 10 of
those per 100-day period. I.e., the metric calendar system. That seems just
as likely.

Anyway, I have another theory regarding the _Home Fires_ calendar, one that
isn't wholly incompatible with yours, I think. As I was re-reading chapter
1, the opening scene got me thinking. It's snowing outside, and, when Skip
wakes up, there's a gift of sorts waiting for him. Could this be

Later that morning, the waitress says that Chelle will be returning "this
coming Saturday" on day 180. Common usage of the phrase "this coming
Saturday" leads me to believe that the book opens on day 175 +/- 1 day.
(Most people would not use "this coming" to specify a day unless it was 4-6
days way.) So, if Christmas is day 175, then that would mean day 1 is the
Fourth of July, which would make sense for a North American Union dominated
by the former USA. The "NAU" name is probably just window dressing for the
United States essentially occupying the other North American regions
anyway. (David Foster Wallace does something similar in _Infinite Jest_.)
Perhaps 1776 is also year 1 in this Gregorian-derived calendar system. All
of this could be seen as evidence of secularization and extreme nationalism
in this future society.

Where my theory possibly breaks down is that the rest of the world surely
wouldn't adopt such a calendar system and it doesn't seem likely there
wouldn't be a commonly accepted calendar system used by the whole world.

Darth Ed

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