Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Comparing A Trilogy, A Diptych And A Novel

CS Lewis' trilogy, set on Mars, Venus and Earth, features the creation of a new human race on Venus. SM Stirling's diptych, set on Venus and Mars, is called "The Lords of Creation." These are similarities. However, as I understand it, Stirling's "Lords of Creation" are powerful beings who terraformed Venus and Mars, then populated them with human beings that had already evolved on Earth.

Thus, these Lords did not face the moral question: is it right to create self-conscious beings who can suffer and will die? Was the (presumed) Creator right to create humanity? If we gained that power, would we be right to exercise it? This question was faced by Mary Shelley's Victor Frankenstein and by the post-human inorganic presiding intelligence of Earth in Poul Anderson's Genesis. Thus, Mary Shelley wrote the first science fiction novel and Anderson wrote a culminating sf novel on the Frankenstein theme.

I am still reading Stirling's Island in The Sea Of Time but have been diverted by theological questions raised by his characters. Such questions always invite comparison with answers suggested by other authors.

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