"The most common explanation is the passage of a human foot."
That's one that never occured to me!
My first association on reading the Carpet People and the description of Fray was to think "Ah. Somebody's Hoovering the carpet". A vacuum cleaner would be responsible for the changes in air pressure that make the lead character suffer from headaches; its passage would create what feel like hurricane-force winds; lesser and more instinctive animals would know what's coming and strive to get away from it; and it would have the power and the force to do things like dislodge the great city built on the Grit. (titanic earthquake). However, most carpet vacuums do not appear to be able to suck up lost bronze coins or move them very far, if at all, so the civilisation based on bronze-mining in al ong-lost penny would be unscathed.
Then again, the relative scales beggar comprehension. If, as we're told, the great city of Ware is the size of a ., then relatively speaking, the passage of a single human foot above or near it might well have all these localised effects. In which case, the Coming Of The Great Dyson might be the death of all civilisation in the Carpet?
But then, the hairs and fibres of the Carpet, stretching to an unguessable distance Above, are seen to bow and bend and indirectly cushion what lies underneath from the power of Fray, so perhaps the microscopic smallness of Carpet life acts as a saving grace here? (In which case, is there a sequel to be written: The Inside Of The Vacuum Cleaner Dustbag People"?) --AgProv 15:40, 11 March 2008 (CET)
A vacuum cleaner was my impression, but that would lower the air pressure (to a carpet-person.) I didn't notice that point. --Old Dickens 18:11, 11 March 2008 (CET)
Good point. I have a suspicion that it might be best not to analyze Carpet life too deeply, otherwise madness may ensue. What is the lifespan of a Carpet-person, for instance, and given their submicroscopic size, would it have any meaning in human terms? The book mentions the passage of nights and days in the Carpet, but what governs this? What are the sun/moon analogues? What is the length of a Carpet day and what causes it to go dark at "night"? Day-length cannnt be regular if it depends on the switching on and off of a very distant light bulb (and what if the room where the Carpet is has more than one light source, ie just as this room has a ceiling light above and an IKEA standard light behind me...) And Carpet people surely cannot share our time-perception exactly? In a different work, TP makes it explicitly clear that Nomes, being so much smaller than us, live far faster lives and rarely see their eleventh birthday... how much faster, relatively speaking, must Carpet life be?
Help, I'm going mad...--AgProv 23:59, 12 March 2008 (CET)
Glad you could join us, Havelock. I'm Havelock Vetinari. That's the Patrician, and this is Lord Vetinari. Sherry? --Old Dickens 02:42, 13 March 2008 (CET)