(urth) This Week in Google Alerts: _Home Fires_, 1982 roundtable

Marc Aramini marcaramini at yahoo.com
Fri Jun 7 09:06:06 PDT 2013

thanks Stephen.  Right now I am simply not sure if the body Vanessa possesses should be counted as a person (Edith Eckhart?) in that scene.  since she Vanessa is dead already, " Tante Elise" calls Vanessa and requires no money to speak to her, getting her to walk through the gate.
1. Tante Elise
2.  Chelle
3. Jane Sims
4. Achille
5. Vanessa
6. Skip
7. (Edith Eckhardt?  the dead man who will soon show up? something in Skip?)
I think the guns Tante Elise offers (of which there would have been six) are also related to the people there.  One has a pearl and a dark wood handle on opposite sides that would cost too much to repair- Chelle rejects it (Skip, with his light and dark sides?) the other is a worn six shooter, then an officer's fancy new gun, the one Chelle chooses (is this Chelle?).  
We don't get to see the second three options.
I no longer think Skip has another "person" inside him - he is just not entirely who he believes himself to be.  That dead shadowy figure halting Achille is interesting in light of two mysterious disappearances by Achille - once when Skip goes down to negotiate, and again when Skip confronts Rick, Susan, and Blue in "Jerry's Room" when Chelle is a hostage.
Twice Achille simply vanishes during the action and then reappears when needed later.
I don't have a problem with the Sharia law or the cell phone issue somebody else brought up - it's pretty clear the future is poor and it states in the text the government wasn't going to do anything about the situation anyway. Skip does get out a mobile call, but is shut down by the those who control the coast guard for assistance. Even the NAU doesn't really care in light of all the other problems it faces.  Who can you call when no one cares?

--- On Fri, 6/7/13, Stephen Hoy <stephenhoy at yahoo.com> wrote:

From: Stephen Hoy <stephenhoy at yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: (urth) This Week in Google Alerts: _Home Fires_, 1982 roundtable
To: "The Urth Mailing List" <urth at lists.urth.net>
Date: Friday, June 7, 2013, 8:27 AM

Marc: Thanks for sharing your ideas that relate the six/seven Caribbean island characters to other characters in the book. I imagined the interlude was a bit like Wolfe's dream sequences in other works, but hadn't looked much beyond Vodoo's obvious parallel to mind overlays. The sequence can be read as an instance of Wolfe blending myth/legend with speculative science, providing credibility to each. Relating shadowed characters to revealed characters adds a layer of storytelling that I missed until you pointed it out.

A few months ago, someone on list wondered why Wolfe had to bring Sharia law into _Home Fires_, Sharia law provides a plausible basis for a handless character like Achille. Without this backdrop, a reader might be inclined to come up with a different reason for his handlessness. Then we might not have the great scene which recalls Aesop's fable of the mouse and lion.
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