War Beneath the Tree


Wolfe's comments from the Introduction to Endangered Species

This is simple truth: Tonight you and I, with billions of others, are sitting around the fire we call "the sun," telling stories; and from time to time it has been my turn to entertain. I have occasionally remembered that though you are not a child, there is a child alive in you still, for those in whom the child is dead will not hear stories. Thus I wrote "War Beneath the Tree," and certain others.


On Christmas eve, a boy's new robotic toys wage war against the old ones.


  • The excesses of consumerism and robotic toys are reminiscent of Frederik Pohl's "The Man Who Ate the World" and his other Midas World stories.
  • The old toys fear the new ones just like Robin at the end of the story fears the arrival of a sibling.

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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