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The Cat Who Walks Through Walls - derivation 
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Heinlein Nexus
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Post The Cat Who Walks Through Walls - derivation
A very minor point but Google suggests that it has not been hitherto noted.

On browsing some Kipling recently I noted that there is a Just So story called "The Cat that Walked by Himself." I submit that this is the obvious inspiration for the title of TCWWTW.


Mon Aug 25, 2008 5:44 pm
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Post Re: The Cat Who Walks Through Walls - derivation
Peter, you naughty boy! I didn't know you kippled!

(Enough Mauve Decade jokes for one night...)

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Mon Aug 25, 2008 5:58 pm
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Post Re: The Cat Who Walks Through Walls - derivation
Hi, Peter.

Peter Scott wrote:
On browsing some Kipling recently I noted that there is a Just So story called
"The Cat that Walked by Himself." I submit that this is the obvious inspiration
for the title of TCWWTW.

I don't think so... No similarity whatsoever between the two stories, and it is obvious
to me that TCWWTW is a double quantum reference, to Schrödinger's cat obvioulsy
(this one is even explicit in the novel), and to the so-called "tunnel effect", which allow
a particle to pass through a quantum "wall".

Quantum science is all over the World as a myth novels — from The Number of the
Beast
, which (among other themes obvioulsy) deals with the problem of the observer
(who is it in Literature ? the point-of-view character ? the reader ? the author ?)
to The Cat Who Walks Through Wall, which is all about indetermination...


Tue Aug 26, 2008 1:20 am
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Post Re: The Cat Who Walks Through Walls - derivation
Eric Picholle wrote:
I don't think so... No similarity whatsoever between the two stories, and it is obvious
to me that TCWWTW is a double quantum reference, to Schrödinger's cat obvioulsy
(this one is even explicit in the novel), and to the so-called "tunnel effect", which allow
a particle to pass through a quantum "wall".


I'm talking about the title, not the content. Heinlein was a huge Kipling fan. He could have chosen all kinds of quantum/many worlds references but picked one very similar to a Kipling title.


Tue Aug 26, 2008 5:00 am
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Post Re: The Cat Who Walks Through Walls - derivation
I don't know if this will be helpful, but --

The original title of the book was The World Snake, but the editors didn't like a title with "snake" in it. So it became "The Reluctant Knight" (Heinlein typed the new title on a 3x4" label and pasted it over the title page; over the years the gum dried up and the label fell off). At some point Ginny suggested "He Walks Through Walls." Heinlein said something like "That's not quite right, but you've got something there" and came up with the title. Ginny's only objection was that Pixel not being a human, it should be the Cat That Walks. Nonsense, R said.

Given that the title came from Ginny, it might well have a remote root in the Kipling story title -- though, as Eric points out, there is no resemblance of the stories. And though Heinlein was less a fan of Kipling's stories than of his poetry, it's entirely possible that his reworking of the title was equally inspired by the Kipling title.

I rate this a good conjecture.


Tue Aug 26, 2008 6:07 am
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