(urth) fifth head owlet- wolf

Gerry Quinn gerry at bindweed.com
Thu Apr 11 03:50:56 PDT 2013

> From: Gerry Quinn <gerry at bindweed.com>

"What's gone with that boy,  I wonder? You TOM!"
No answer.
The old lady pulled her spectacles down and looked over them about the
room; then she put them up and looked out under them. She seldom or
never looked _through_ them for so small a thing as a boy; they were
her state pair, the pride of her heart, and were built for "style," not
service--she could have seen through a pair of stove-lids just as well.
She looked perplexed for a moment, and then said, not fiercely, but
still loud enough for the furniture to hear:

> > If I were to grab at any conceivable literal or metaphoric 
> > interpretation, I could
> > conclude that Tom is a cat, that Aunt Polly has X-Ray eyes, and that 
> > that the
> > furniture is sentient.  And that's just the first paragraph of Tom 
> > Sawyer, which
> > I selected at random.

> Plainly Aunt Polly is a robot.

I only remember Tom Sawyer vaguely, but one abiding memory is that of Injun 
Joe who was trapped in a collapsed mine and survived for a time eating 

Obviously Twain is cleverly letting the careless reader imagine that 'Injun' 
stands for 'Indian' when in fact the character is really 'Engine' Joe.  In 
the mine he discovers he can continue to operate on any hydrocarbon fuel.

I would guess that Twain planned a sequel in which Joe bursts forth from the 
earth, takes Polly as his chem bride, and initiates an era of mechanical 
rule.  Sadly his publisher must have nixed this ground-breaking steampunk 
concept, and Twain was forced to change direction.  All we see in 
Huckleberry Finn is an escaped slave named Jim standing in as a thin 
metaphor for the oppressed Mechanoids of the previous book.

Ah, the power of an organising principle ;-)

- Gerry Quinn

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