This letter was written by John Parry when he was in Fairbanks, Alaska. He wrote this letter to his wife Elaine to inform her of what he was up to.[1]


My darling — the usual mixture of efficiency and chaos — all the stories are here but the physicist, a genial dimwit called Nelson, hasn't made any arrangements for carrying his damn balloons up into the mountains — having to twiddle our thumbs while he scrabbles around for transport. But it means I had a chance to talk to an old boy I met last time, a gold miner called Jake Petersen. Tracked him down to a dingy bar and under the sound of the baseball game on the TV I asked him about the anomaly. He wouldn't talk there — took me back his apartment. With the help of a bottle of Jack Daniel's he talked for a long time — hadn't seen it himself, but he'd met an Eskimo who had, and this chap said it was a doorway into the spirit world. They'd known about it for centuries; part of the initiation of a medicine man involved going through and bringing back a trophy of some kind — though some never came back. However, old Jake did have a map of the area, and he'd marked on it where his pal had told him the thing was. (Just in case: it's at 69°02′11″ N, 157°12′19″ W, on a spur of Lookout Ridge a mile or two north of the Colville River.) We then got on to other Arctic legends — the Norwegian ship that's been drifting unmanned for sixty years, stuff like that. The archaeologists are a decent crew, keen to get to work, containing their impatience with Nelson and his balloons. None of them has ever heard of the anomaly, and believe me I'm going to keep it like that. My fondest love to you both. Johnny.



  1. The Subtle Knife, Chapter 5
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