The Ziggurat



A man going through a divorce is visited by his family in a remote mountain cabin during a snowstorm. Time-traveling women attack and abduct one of his step-daughters.


Ending Interpretations --- SPOILERS

  • A "cyanide gun" is a baited trap that shoots a puff of cyanide into a coyote's mouth. Emery blames himself for the coyote's death because his attempts to tame it made it less fearful of Man.
  • "Quod scripsi scripsi" (p. 269) ("What I have written, I have written" in Latin). It's a quotation from Pilate, when asked why he wrote that Jesus was the King of the Jews.
  • Emery has a pro-masculine viewpoint that some would call misogyny. His story of Brooke trying to cross the Atlantic on a Styrofoam dinosaur, and being brought back by a female lifeguard has a moral in his mind. "That was what was happening everywhere, Emery thought -- boys and men were being brought back to shore by women, though for thousands of years their daring had been permitting humanity to survive" (Strange Travelers p. 270). The theme of boys and dinosaurs appears repeatedly in Wolfe stories. The treatment of the boy and his dinosaur in Petting Zoo shows that humanity has lost something vital. In The Man in the Pepper Mill, boy (named for a female science-fiction writer) brings a dinosaur to life in order to bring a man into his mother's life.
  • The black spot on the chair (p. 272) is probably from a laser gun aimed at Emery -- it recalls the Black Spot death warning in Treasure Island.
  • Sources of quotes
  • Meanings of names
  • References to other works
  • Theories about what happens under the surface, what the narrator isn't telling us, who the narrator is and when and why s/he is telling the story, what the whole thing "means," etc.
    If there are multiple or competing theories, each one should be given a name with a three-bang (!!!) header; if the page begins to get out-of-hand from the size of these, as could happen in a few cases, they should be shuffled off to their own page(s).
  • Etc.

Unresolved Questions

  • Was it A or was it B, or was it X or Z?
  • Was it he or was it she, or was it you or me?
  • Who dunnit?
  • Did the Star Child really start WWIII at the end of 2001?

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