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A Thief Of Time

Emma had the brain surgery, but she did not survive it. Joe Leaphorn is grief-stricken; he is on his final leave before quitting the Navajo Tribal Police. BLM agent Thatcher takes him along on a call to talk with a woman accused of stealing Anasazi relics from protected land, a thief of time. Her friends at Chaco National Park called her in as a missing person, and think the officers are there to look for her, finally. Dr. Eleanor Friedman-Bernal is an anthropologist interested in ceramics, who thinks she is close to a major new finding, identifying an individual pot maker by the art on the pots. Leaphorn thinks the anonymous call reporting Dr Friedman-Bernal and her disappearance after a planned weekend away will be connected.

A Thief of Time

A piece of digging equipment is stolen from the tribal motor pool. Chee traces the thieves. One is known to Slick Nakai, the preacher. Leaphorn and Chee separately show up at Nakai's next revival meeting. Leaphorn learns that Nakai sold pots to Eleanor, while Chee learns about the backhoe thief. Leaphorn notices the same Navajo man helping at the revival that he saw working with Maxie Davis at Chaco. Chee seeks the backhoe, finding it with the trailer at the bottom of a canyon. Then he finds two dead men in the moonlight: Joe B. Nails in the truck cab, and Jimmy Etcitty on the ground. Leaphorn visits Maxie and Randall Elliot to gain more information about Eleanor. She took her camping gear; she was likely out checking her latest discoveries. Leaphorn meets Chee at the murder site, where they connect on their two reasons to be there: the missing anthropologist and the missing motor pool equipment. They find no good tracks of the murderer, but Chee counts the bags. Three were removed from the box, yet only two are filled with pots and pieces. The third bag turns up in Elliot's kitchen trash, filled with Anasazi bones, tagged for one of two important sites. They focus their work on finding the anthropologist.

Hillerman's two Navajo Tribal Police heroes--middle-aged Lieut. Joe Leaphorn, young Officer Jim Chee--again share the sleuthing, more or less by accident, in another richly somber blend of mystery, socio-theology, psychology, and (this time) anthropology. Leaphorn, traumatized by his wife's recent death, is on leave and plans to quit the force--but he finds himself caught up nonetheless in a local puzzle: what happened to anthropologist Eleanor Friedman-Bernal, who was collecting and studying ancient (ca. 600-1200 A.D.) ceramic pottery of the vanished Anasazi civilization? She's been missing for a month, was on the verge of some breakthrough, and was last seen setting off for an undisclosed wilderness location. Meanwhile, Chee (still brooding on the departure of girlfriend Mary) investigates the theft of a backhoe--and discovers the corpses of two men, shot to death while in the act of digging up (in an illegal area) the very same sort of artifacts that Friedman-Bernal was obsessed with. Are the cases connected? Of course. So Leaphorn (out of curiosity) and Chee (out of grudging respect for Leaphorn) are soon working in tandem. They talk to other anthropologists working in the region. They trace the route by which pots have been illegally dug up, passed to a middleman (a local Born-Again revivalist), and then sold--either to the anthropologist or a New York dealer. Suspicion falls on a former Utah State Senator and rancher--until the old rascal turns up dead himself. And finally each sleuth independently arrives at the solution--which involves an anthropological discovery, a 20-year-old secret, and a harrowing, cliffside confrontation/finale (complete with critical injuries and two helicopters). Slightly less absorbing than the best Hillermans, but darkly atmospheric and ultimately powerful--with (as usual) effective contrasts among the theological beliefs of rationalist Leaphorn, mystical Chee, and other Navajos.[2]

Thief of Time is the 26th Discworld novel written by Terry Pratchett. The title comes from the traditional saying "Procrastination is the thief of time." However, in a more recent Corgi edition, the title reads "The Thief Of Time" instead of "Thief Of Time"

The Auditors convince a young clock maker, Jeremy Clockson, in Ankh-Morpork to build a perfect glass clock. They do not reveal that this will imprison Time (the anthropomorphic personification) and thereby freeze time (the physical quantity) on the Discworld. By freezing time, the Auditors intend to eliminate the unpredictability that humans cause through their everyday actions. Death discovers their plans, but is unable to act directly because of the Rules of the universe. Death sends his granddaughter Susan to stop them.

The opening discussion regarding the existence of anything but the present has been a popular Pratchett theme. The philosophical arguments of whether or not one exists are based on the works of Rene Descartes and his famous line, "I think, therefore I am". Pratchett says, "for something to exist it has to be observed. For something to exist, it has to have a position in time and space. Pratchett often plays with the idea of "if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it exist (see the opening of the (Fifth Elephant). Ultimately some existential philosophers argue that the only thing that can be proven to exist is the narrator or observer's mind since anything else could simply be synapses creating a stimulus of an object or event within that observer's mind.

Xeno's Paradoxes are mentioned in Pyramids and are a reference to Zeno's paradoxes in ancient Greek philosophy. The arrow paradox is significant in The Thief of Time because it states: "for motion to occur, an object must change the position which it occupies." Zeno gives an example of an arrow in flight and states that in any one (duration-less) instant of time, the arrow is neither moving to where it is, nor to where it is not. It cannot move to where it is not, because no time elapses for it to move there; it cannot move to where it is, because it is already there. In other words, at every instant of time there is no motion occurring. If everything is motionless at every instant, and time is entirely composed of instants, then motion is impossible. This paradox hints at Pratchett's theme of stopping time. Later in the novel, Pratchett describes an arrow stopped in the middle of the air when time has stopped, a reference to this paradox.

Pratchett expands on his satire of martial arts movies and eastern mysticism further with his description of the poses the martial arts students perform in the dojo - poses that in the Round World are typically named after animals - "hands held to form the Combat of the Hake....hands now held in the Advancement of the Snake" which present a bewildering image of what the martial arts pose could possibly be since fish and snakes have no hands. Later he says, 'Soto said he saw him perform the Stance of the Coyote!' a reference with more in common to the 'stance' of Wile E. Coyote's from the Roadrunner cartoons-- suspended in mid-air for seconds before dropping into the ravine -- than with any stance the real animal would do. Similarly, during the showdown scene in the dojo, this confrontation involves one side backing down, a discussion of the quality of the Ais and Hai-eees the parties have used and other "martial arts gibberish" instead of the great fight scene depicted in all martial arts epics in the Bruce Lee style. Later in the novel Lobsang Ludd, questions his teacher Lu-Tze about an assortment of martial arts with ridiculous names such as okidoki (okey dokey), Shititake (shitake is a mushroom), Upsidasi (Ups a daisy), No-Kando (no can do - not possible), Tung-pi [tongue tie(d)] and finally Deja-fu (deja vu- using time as a weapon).

Susan's response to the world being about to end is "What has this got to do with me?" a sentiment expressed by many young people (as well as old) when faced with seemingly insurmountable world issues - global warming, world peace, acid rain, etc. Death's reply, "I WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THE END OF THE WORLD IS EVERYONE'S RESPONSIBILITY." is typical of those morally holier than thou types who love to fight for every cause - in this instance true however.

Jeremy says, "Did you know that copper octirate vibrates exactly 2,4000,078 times per second?" This name of this compound is likely a play on copper citrate (octi simply meaning 8). Pratchett is using the concept of vibration at a constant rate as is used in atomic clocks as his means of gaining the precision necessary to stop time. Since 1967, the official definition of a second is 9,192,631,770 cycles of the radiation that gets an atom of the element called cesium to vibrate between two energy states.

"The abbot had never mastered the art of circular ageing." which forces him to regularly reincarnate. Circular breathing is the technique of breathing in through the nose while simultaneously breathing out through the mouth which allows musicians playing a wind instrument to hold a single note for minutes at a time, if necessary.

The room with the Procrastinators has many similarities to Death's room with the hour glasses of time left in a person's life - row on row on shelves, etc. It also has similarities to a spinning factory with the various colours of thread - appropriate given the Round World concepts of spinning time, the fabric of time, weaving time and the threads of time.

Lu-Tse suggests dumping the spare time in the ocean because no one would notice "Oh, maybe fishermen would start to dredge up strange whiskery fish that they'd only ever seen before as fossils, but who cared what happened to a bunch of codfish." The strange whiskery fish is a reference to the discovery in 1928 of the oldest living fish, the Coelacanth, off the east coast of South Africa. Until then, these animals were considered to have gone extinct at the end of the Cretaceous era. As for the codfish, we all know how cod stocks crashed from overfishing both off Iceland (which led to the cod war between Iceland and Britain) and off the Grand Banks, (between Canada, the USA and various foreign fishing fleets claiming the tail of the Grand Banks was international waters). 041b061a72


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