Before anything else, I must say thank you to Jopari for his help with this story and especially for lending me that miserable old grump Arthur Shire and Sarastus (Oh, and Harry too). One or two minor plot points wouldn't have worked without them…
This story fits chronologically between Jopari's stories An Ever-Rolling Stream and His Day's Work. If you want to learn Harry's surname, and the name of his daemon, you'll have to read Jopari's Arthur and Maggie. How did Arthur Shire and Lyra Belacqua come to know each other? You'll have to ask Jopari – I don't know the answer to that one.
Fans of the much-missed Douglas Adams will know what the IID was. Peter never found out. In fact, he never even thought about it.
I did not invent the Zanzibar Fallacy myself, but I'm not sure who did. Can anybody help me?
Of course, all Philip Pullman's and Jopari's characters and situations belong to them. Everyone and everything else is mine and copyright © Ceres Wunderkind 2002.
In case you're wondering how it was that Peter had heard of a play about two people called Romulo and Gianetta but nevertheless was unfamiliar with the works of William Shakespeare, I'll remind you that WS did not himself invent the story of Romeo and Juliet, but adapted many existing texts, including Arthur Brooke's poem The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet (1562). What will happen when Peter (or, more likely, Jim) publishes the Collected Works that John Parry gave him? That'll shake up the hidebound Scholars of Jordan College!
Why was Peter disturbed by Harry's same-sex daemon when the gyptians and the people of Jordan College weren't worried about it? I'd suggest that Brytish society is just as heterogeneous as ours, and that different social groups have different attitudes. A ready tolerance of difference is more likely to exist in the liberal atmosphere of an Oxford college, where eccentricity is the norm, or among the gyptians, who are outsiders. Jopari says that Harry was bullied at his school, to the extent that he was forced to run away.
Why bring Arthur back from the dead? There are two answers to that – choose the one you prefer. The first is the mechanistic one; that I borrowed him from Jopari and promised to hand him back in good condition. He's needed, you see, for the story His Day's Work. The second is that, as he said, death was not ready for him.
You've probably realised that Will's world is running on what's called a "hydrogen economy". Now that electricity is effectively free (due to a paradigm shift in physics resulting from the Subtle Knife's destruction making hot-fusion reactors safe, cheap and easy to run), fossil fuel consumption has effectively fallen to zero. Oil is only used for lubrication and as a raw material for plastics, not as a fuel. Hydrocarbon pollution has been drastically reduced and CO2 emissions have fallen. Many of the scarcity-driven causes of war have disappeared.
So why isn't everybody happy?
What a shame there was no room for the Ci'gazzeans in this story! I'd love to find out how Giovanni, Giancarlo and Guilietta Bellini have been getting on. With Mr Greaves sliced in half and Miss Morley reduced to ashes there aren't many of the bad guys left. Hooray for our side! There's still the Chief Gobbler, though. She's been keeping out of sight all this time…
Thank you for reading this far. The story continues in The Queen of the Night. Due to a regrettable change in policy by FF.NET which has banned NC-17 material, this story is no longer available here. Instead, you can find it on my own site which is at www.cereswunderkind.net, or you can follow the link on my bio page. Sorry about the inconvenience which is due to factors beyond my control. I should warn you that I did not without justification rate TQotN so highly.
Ceres Wunderkind, June 2002