(urth) Short Story 14: Paul's Treehouse

Daniel Petersen danielottojackpetersen at gmail.com
Sat Apr 7 11:06:36 PDT 2012

I didn't get the sense Wolfe identified with the adults or the boy.  He
shows them both fairly disoriented and ill-prepared to cope with the
mysteriously building crisis (even if the boy is more intuitively clued in).

It has always struck me as one of Wolfe's finest short stories just because
of the craftsmanship - it just doesn't falter or flicker to me:  a very
solid piece of writing that exquisitely captures a very tense and fraught
moment of life within a larger scary 'tribulation'.  All the little realist
details about the summer heat and their drinks (I remember it seeming
rather Illinois in setting to me, I myself coming from her neighbour,
Indiana) and so on together with the approach of something
semi-apocalyptic/revolutionary create an unsettling little set piece.  (And
I agree with Marc that it anticipates 'Hour of Trust' - it could almost be
a little companion piece, a little precursor tale.)


On Sat, Apr 7, 2012 at 6:38 PM, Darth Ed <darthed77 at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Apr 6, 2012, at 8:23 PM, Marc Aramini wrote:
> > This was first published in 1968 in Orbit.
> Actually, it was toward the end of 1969.
> http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?57390
> This story has always struck me as Wolfe's commentary on the '60s. There's
> a certain helplessness to it and a lack of understanding of what's going on
> by the adults. It just seems like chaos to them. Only Paul understands
> what's about to happen because he's younger and more in tune with what's
> going on, so he's able to prepare for it. Unfortunately, his preparations
> are ineffective.
> I wouldn't say this is one of my favorite Wolfe stories, mainly because I
> don't see it as being Wolfe at his most insightful. I think Wolfe
> identifies with the adults more than Paul here.
> Later,
> Ed
> My WolfeWiki profile:
> http://www.wolfewiki.com/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=Profiles.DarthEd
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