"Grean rot and number creaper on the stumps and stannings"
There seems to be no vine or moss whose name sounds like "number." What kind of creeper is it? [EB] Is it a suggestion of encroaching scientificism and the desire to have the measure of everything, of the "clevver" form of knowledge which seeks to control nature and which thus produces the "grean rot"; or of a creeping numbness? [GW] Or even a pun on the Roman numeral IV (ivy)? [CB]
Hoban's explanation, via E-mail: "Just as fireweed grows on burnt ground, number creaper climbs up the ruins where the [number of the] 1 Big 1 has hit." [MB]