Friday, October 4, 2013

October 4: A Night in the Lonesome October-fest

October 4 opens with Snuff doing his rounds and bantering with the Things. Zelazny wrote fairly few works that I would characterize as straight-comedy, but most of his books have lighter moments, and I do like his sly sense of humor, which is very much evidence here. I've always thought the most important element to writing comedy is moderation. End the joke before the audience gets sick of it. Zelazny is great with that. A little bit here, a little bit there, enough to provide seasoning, but not so much as to overwhelm the flavor of the book.

     Rainy day.  Windy, too.  I made my rounds.

     The usual.  Everything seemed in order.

     "How's about a collie?  You like redheads?"

     "You still haven't got it right.  S'long."

     "Son of a bitch!"

After that, he discovers a single large paw-print and in the course of investigating it, discovers another Player and Companion, Owen the squirrel and Cheeter the squirrel. 

     "Call me Cheeter," it replied.  "Yes, I suppose we are.  Last minute thing, rush, rush."

     "Opener or closer?"

     "Impolite!  Impolite to ask!  You know that!"

     "Just thought I'd try.  You could be novices."

     "Not new enough to be giving anything away.  Leave it at that."

     "I will."

     "Stay.  Is there a black snake in it?"

     "You ask me to give something away.  But yes, there is: Quicklime.  Beware.  His master is mad."

     "Aren't they all?"

     We chuckled and I faded away.

Later on, Jack collects another item he needs for the Game, and as he does: 

...somewhere in the distance a howling rose up.  No one I knew.  I wasn't even sure it was a dog.  It said a single word in the language of my kind, a long, drawn-out "Lost!"  My hackles rose at the sound of it.

     "Why are you growling, friend?" Jack asked.

     I shook my head.  I was not sure.

This bit is nice. I would assume that the night of the full moon is 28 days before the next full moon, which was October 31st. 31 - 28 gives us October 3rd. I'm not convinced this is an oversight on Zelazny's part, because the formula might include the day of the full moon or some other oddity. 

I wanted to check NASA's full moon calculator, but the site is off line due to the government shutdown. Boo! 

All right, so either I'm overlooking something, Zelazny miscalculated the date of the first full moon of the month , or this is a reference to moon waning, and perhaps a werewolf is offering commentary on this fact.

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