Thursday, 18 February 2016
The Pathetic Fallacy In FLAG
Sorry, folks. I got into an argument on another blog. And I had to attend the remnant of our sf group, where we mentioned some old Philip Jose Farmer novels while mainly discussing other topics.
Meanwhile, in FLAG, Lissa jumps up angrily:
"'Whoa, there!' Hebo rose too. A cloud passed over the sun, blown from the west. A wild creature screamed." (p. 25)
A cloud obscures the sun just as the characters are, potentially, about to fight. But why should the cloud be blown from the west? The characters are on an extrasolar planet. Thus, east and west can have no symbolic significance, as they do on Earth where both "the West" and "the East" have acquired powerful connotations - and not always what we think. To Chinese Buddhists, their wisdom had come from the West. Thus, there was even a mythical Western Paradise. Returning to the pathetic fallacy on an extrasolar planet, the wild creature simultaneously screaming is very explicit.
Returning to the character interactions in FLAG, how does a "'...free-lance entrepreneur...'" (p. 21) earn a living in a civilization with faster than light interstellar travel? Learning of the discovery of an Earth-like planet, Hebo goes there. Someone wanting to colonize the planet might pay for specific information. In fact, there is a Forerunner artifact on the planet so a news agency or a scientific institution might pay to be told about that.
"'Information's really the one universal currency.'" (p. 26)
- as James Blish's John Amalfi said, although he used the word, "knowledge."
However, Lissa's expedition has arrived and will not oblige Hebo by keeping the existence of the artifact secret. This is one of the things that people might fight about in an interstellar civilization.