Last Updated: April 29, 2002

Roy C. Lackey's Timeline for Peace.

Foreword by Michael Andre-Driussi

I had seen two timelines for Peace: one by Gregory Feeley, unpublished but widely disseminated in an online forum in 1991/92; and the one by William M. Schuyler, Jr., published in The New York Review of Science fiction in 1996. In gross outline, Feeley's charts AD Weer's life from birth in 1914 to death in 1975, supposes that Weer killed many if not all of the other characters and spent a decade or two in prison for killing his father; Schuyler's has Weer born in 1904 so that his parents are held up in Europe by the sudden outbreak of WWI, and that the date for the coldhouse prank is a lie (either by year or Weer's age) to hide Weer's culpability.

When Doug Eigsti's project came along, it seemed to me that a timeline was in order. So I finally got around to trying my hand at it, and dove into the text for that purpose. For my time-anchor, I chose the appearance of Liberty magazine in Dr. Black's office when Weer was four years old: the only record I could find of a magazine with that name suggested that it first appeared in 1924. If this was the same magazine that was in Dr. Black's office, then Weer was born in 1920. As such, the date of the coldhouse prank was a lie, in agreement with Schuyler. I also used Crazy Pete as a date marker, since his story is fully developed in "The Changeling" (a short story collected in Castle of Days): he is on the island from 1963 onward, and since Weer makes reference to him on the island (p. 46), it seems significant.

When I posted my 1920 timeline on the Wolfe mailing list, Roy C. Lackey began arguing against it. Between us we hammered out the timeline which is printed in Peace Indexicon. Here is Roy's final version, which is somewhat different in finer detail than the one in Peace Indexicon. It offers more citations.

Introduction by Roy C. Lackey

"Here is the timeline. It is what Michael Andre-Driussi calls the 'EZ' timeline, because it is based on accepting at face value the date of 1938 for the coldhouse prank, and that Den was two years out of college, as claimed. Den should be 24 then (not 23), because his birthday was in May and the prank occurred in summer. I have included a few historical dates, just for background. Page numbers are for the Berkley paperback.

"The timeline is not as concise, in places, as I would like it to be because, well, you know why; Wolfe doesn't make things easy! Few dates are given, time periods tend to be expressed in round numbers, and you seldom know what year you're counting from. It's easier to pick apart someone else's timeline--to point out that 'this fact' makes 'that date' wrong--than to defend your own, but I can make my case for any given date, if anyone is interested. The two five-year wimp-out spans are the result of ambiguous, (seemingly) conflicting details. It does not cover all of the convolutions resulting from Den's imaginary visit(s) to Dr. Van Ness, nor Michael's Liberty magazine clue."


[1891 Ambrose Bierce mentions Morryster's Marvells of Science in short story "The Man and the Snake."]

1895 Den's mother born. (This is based on the following: "My mother would have been twenty-five, I six. It was the year after Bobby Black was hurt" [p. 17])

1914 May, Den born. W.W.I begins in Europe.

1918 End of W.W.I.

1919 In May, Den, age 5, pushes Bobby Black down the stairs; the fake deerskin Indian treaty is painted by Olivia's club.

1920 Beginning of Prohibition. In December Den receives the scout knife from his maternal grandfather. The victim of the Coldhouse prank is born, assuming him to be 18 years old at the time of his death.

[1922 Lovecraft first mentions The Necronomicon in short story "The Hound."]

1923 Bobby Black (nephew of Eleanor Bold Porter) dies.

[1924 a magazine named Liberty begins publication (1924-1950), seeming to match the magazine that Den's mother is looking at in Dr. Black's waiting room (p. 153), but this does not match other points of the timeline (Den at age four sees his mother reading the magazine), so perhaps there is another Liberty magazine.]

1925 Olivia marries J. Smart, who moves into her house. Den is still living there since his parents are still overseas.

1926 Ludwig's biography of Napoleon, published 1924, translated into English. This book is mentioned in the text (p. 2).

1927 Den's parents return from Europe; Den moves back into the old house with them, after a separation of four years.

1928 L. Gold leaves Breslau (p.197); Den enters high school.

1929 circa, L. Gold meets Sally. (p.214) [1]

1929 In October the Stock Market crashes, beginning the Great Depression.

1929-1934 circa, Olivia is hit by a car and dies. [1]

1932 (fall) Den enters college.

1933 End of Prohibition.

1934-1935 As a college junior, Den buys his first car (p. 170).

[1935 Lovecraft first mentions Cultes des Goules in short story "The Shadow Out of Time."]

1936 Den graduates from college.

1938 (summer) Coldhouse prank, Den age 24 (p.230).

1939 Frametale-Den's "Chinese garden" dream, of Den at age "twenty-five or so" (p. 64-66).

1939-1945 W.W.II.

1950-1953 Korean War.

1954 O Rare Amanda! The Life of Amanda McKittrick Ros by Jack Loudan, first edition 1954. This is the book Den references at the public library (p. 160).

1954-1959 Time frame for the Lois/Gold affair: Den is age 40-45; Sherry Gold is 16; Lois Arbuthnot is close to 35. Lou Gold has forged copies of The Necronomicon, and Morryster's Marvells of Science, as well as Cultes des Goules, among others.

[1958 Nabokov's Lolita published (should probably come after the Den/Sherry Gold affair).]

1963 circa, Den becomes president of the company at about 49. Crazy Pete on island. Den as president has three visitors: Bill Batton (ad man), Charlie Turner (dog man from Smart's story), and Eleanor Bold Porter (grave-tree lady/aunt of Bobby Black).

1964 Dan French gives Den the box on behalf of the company, Den age 50 (p. 79).

1974-1975 Den's death; Peace published.


[1] There is a problem here. Two events are linked in that they both occurred 25 years before the time of the Lois/Gold affair--Vi's death and Gold meeting Sally--yet other factors seem to separate these two events by several years.

To wit:

Several time spans are mentioned in the text in relation to the Gold Hunt year, which yield different dates when applied to Den's life. Lois told Den that the treaty had been painted 40 years ago. Taken at face value, that would make Den 45, and the year 1959. But Den told Ron that Vi had been dead for 25 years. That would mean she died in 1934. Gold's comment about how good Sally looked 25 years before also points to 1934, yet he left Breslau in 1928. How long before he went to England, and how long was he there before he met Sally?

If Vi died in the spring of 1934, about the time Den turned 20, he should have been nearing the end of his sophomore year of college. Julius wouldn't even speak to him after her funeral, yet he was offered a job in Julius's plant while still in college, and before completing even two years? How likely is that, whatever the nature of Julius's grudge, much less to have offered the job if she died before that date (1929-1934, as I had it)? No, you just don't offer a job to someone you won't even speak to. It makes more sense to me now for Den to have been offered the job in his senior year, and for Vi to have been killed afterwards, perhaps just before graduation in 1936. This has the added benefit of putting Den closer to the age of 25 of the Chinese garden dream, but it plays hell with everything else!

  • 1928 Lou Gold leaves Breslau
  • 1934 Lou Gold meets Sally in England
  • 1936 Den offered job at plant (as Olivia's nephew); Olivia dies
  • 1938 Coldhouse prank
  • 1939 Den's "Chinese garden" dream
And if he really was 25 when she died, and the year was 1939, a year after the prank, well, that's just too late! I just don't see the Gold Hunt taking place in the mid 1960s, or Gold meeting Sally as late as the late 1930s. Too late for Crazy Pete, too.

The difficulty comes from people talking in round numbers, subject to rounding errors.

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