Many subjects (very long)

Rowland, Jennifer A B jennifer.rowland at
Mon Jul 24 07:01:54 EDT 2000

>> And even now I read while walking places (if you've never barked
>> your shins on a fire hydrant and then apologized to it for running
>> into it you're missing out on valuable reading time!)
>We don't have fire hydrants here. :)
>Actually, I don't read while walking so much any more. I think I've
>decided that the quality of the reading time isn't good enough,
>because I have to keep dipping in and out.

There are too damn many people in London, and they tend to resent it when
you bump into them. I have to think as I walk now, which is terrible. (It
tends to be "now if I ruled the world, commuters would be issued cattle
prods to use on tourists who stand in the middle of the pavement in the rush
hour to look at their maps upside down"). Maybe I should get a walkman to
listen to books instead.

>> Time City:
>> And to be an opinionated minority, I now want to loudly declare that
>> I *loved* A Tale of Time City and I thought the world there was just
>> wonderful.  ;)
>> It's like that horrible "trial" at the end where Vivian was to be
>> exiled for something outside her control because it would be
>> inconvenient to have her in Time City or in History (which they
>> thought they needed to maintain control of).

>And now I shall insert a SPOILER WARNING.

Is it possible that FJ and the TL *want* the Sempitern etc to react as they
do, ie to accept change? After all, the TL does seem to be trying to change
time city, bringing in children etc. (does anyone else think this is quite
cruel? Actual evacuees often ended up somewhat traumatised, even if they got
back their parents in the end. Vivian will have her parents but these other
children have just been totally separated from *absolutely everything they
know*, forever. And it isn't commented on at all. Maybe dwj being evacuated
herself is operating here.) Anyway, for my original point, FJ isn't upset
about Vivian staying, he just says "see you for tutoring as usual" or
I agree with Courtney's arguments below, I just think it might be that dwj
is sneakily playing with the Time City people's heads via FJ and the TL.
Although the fact that they're adamant that Sam and Jonathan will also stand
trial later on might be against this- unless it's going to be sort of "show
trials". ("You messed with history." "But we meant well." "Oh, all right.")
It's just that they're supposed to be wise, would they really blame three
children for trying to save their city? Or are they blinkered by
Time-City-centrism like the others? 
I'm arguing two points of view at once here, time to stop.

>It took me a little while to come to this conclusion, but I believe one
>is not supposed to agree with Faber John's and the Time Lady's reasons
>for exiling Vivian.  (Note: my copy of the book is lost, though I've just
>ordered a new one, so I'm doing this from memory that's several years

>I believe I remember Vivian yelling at Jonathan and Sam for abstracting
>away the people who lived in History and caring more about the
>maintanence of History the way it was rather than caring about the good
>of the people involved.  She accused Time City people in general of not
>treating people from History as, well, people.  Certainly her presence in
>Time City and the things she and Jonathan and Sam do go against many of
>the ingrained attitudes of the residents of Time City- and here we have
>again the DWJ theme of children seeing through and around accepted truths
>and attitudes to what is "real" or "good".  The fact that Vivian comes
>from a interdicted Century and the middle of a war ensures that she
>doesn't have a smug and complacent attitude like the Time City people or
>the people from the Centuries they communicate with.  If I were to speak
>of her as a plot device, I would say that this was for the purpose of
>shaking up Time City.
>As people have commented before, DWJ is very much about not taking things
at face
>value or judging by appearances or stereotypes, and it seems to me that
>this was another instance of Vivian's presence forcing other characters
>to break the habits of bigotry that they had been in for so long.  I
>wouldn't actually go so far as to maintain that DWJ was moralizing in
>this book, since I think that would be a rude accusation to make :), but
>I do think it would be un-DWJ-like to expect the reader to sit back
>calmly and watch Vivian be exiled.  Of couse, if other people don't agree
>I'd love to hear why.
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