Tuesday, 26 July 2016

One Mad Pastor And Two Wise Priests

SM Stirling, Island In The Sea Of Time (New York, 1998).

Does Pastor Deubel, like Poul Anderson's Time Patrol, want to prevent any historical change? No. He only wants to preserve the Crucifixion. He does not mind if European explorers of North America find a burned village on the island of Nantucket... This guy might have risen to the status of on-going villain but maybe it is better for story purposes that he hanged himself.

By contrast, the Catholic priest, Father Gomez, is the kind of Christian minister that we can do business with:

recognizing the limits of his and our understanding;
able to discuss, instead of dogmatizing about, the theological implications of multiple worlds.

When time travelers arrive with twentieth century equipment, a local shaman might regard them as threatening his social/spiritual status. We remember that Time Patrol agents exploring Beringia had to avoid offending a shaman. In Island...:

"'...what powers did they have?' the Wise Man asked, leaning forward. His seamed face was calm, but his eyes glittered with interest." (p. 122)

However, when he has learned more and is asked his opinion:

"'I sense no great evil here,' he said. 'The Powers are at work, yes, but as likely to bless as to curse. Best I go to my tent, and ask of...others.'" (p. 123)

This man and Father Gomez might be able to communicate.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Fear not! You will soon "meet" character in ISLAND who, along with his henchperson, will be MAJOR ongoing villains!

I agree with what you said about Fr. Gomez. In fact, I wonder if I should reread ISLAND after I finish Anderson/Broxon's THE DEMON OF SCATTERY.

Also, the mere fact the shaman we see in Anderson's THE SHIELD OF TIME was willing to hear out what the Time Patrol agents and then go home to think over (and, in effect, pray over what he had heard) makes me think he and Fr. Gomez could at least communicate with each other.