Friday, 19 August 2016

Operation Luna, Chapter 1 of 49

Years ago, our Lancaster comic book seller of the time suddenly turned out to have a sister living nearby. I remarked, "That is a change of continuity. Les never had a sister before." In a sequel, the author can add any new biographical details about a character provided that they do not contradict earlier details. (He can also revise an earlier text so that it now does include details not mentioned in the first edition.)

Operation Luna reveals that:

Virginia Matuchek, originally introduced in Operation Chaos, has an older brother called Will;
they were orphaned when he was twenty-one and she was nine;
Will has revealed mysteries on the Moon, is partly responsible for the start of the space program and recently has been preoccupied and unwell.

We want to know what the mysteries are and instantly realize that Will's preoccupation and poor health will be significant.

The goetic space vehicle is some kind of "...beast..." (p. 6) and therefore has not a launch pad but a "...launch paddock..." (ibid.) Crowds come to watch the launch from:

the pueblos, including Acoma Pueblo;
Santa Fe.

Goetic practitioners use languages other than their own as "...exotic languages..." (p. 2) for magical purposes. For example, Ginny (Virginia) knows Zuni. I am now trying to find a list of exotic languages that I remember reading in Operation Chaos. Any language can become exotic to those who are unfamiliar with it. The Bible was written in Hebrew and Greek, not in either Latin or King James English. However, through ancient usage, the Vulgate and the Authorized Version have acquired their respective mystiques. The author of the Fourth Gospel did not write, in Latin:

"In principio erat Verbum..." (John 1.1)

- but that is how I remember it. Poul and Karen Anderson enabled me to speak Latin at a Pagan handfast ceremony:

"Tene Mithra, etiam miles, fidos nostris votis nos." (See here.)

Although the space vehicle is a "beast," there is a reference to its "...VAB..." (p. 6) Anti-space program demonstrators include:

ideologues opposed to "...Tower-of-Babel technoarrogance..." (p. 4);
demagogues opposed to miss-spending of public money;
intellectuals "...superior to everything less than the critical deconstruction of James Joyce's Odysseus." (ibid.)

It is logical that some dissidents on the goetic Earth would compare space exploration to the Tower of Babel. In CS Lewis' That Hideous Strength, a plan to reorganize society through science is sabotaged when Lewis' versions of good guys (King Arthur's successor as Pendragon of Logres, the resuscitated Merlinus Ambrosius and several planetary angels) inflict the Curse of Babel.

Odysseus in Homer's Odyssey and Ulysses in Virgil's Aeneid are the same guy. Having Joyce write Odysseus instead of Ulysses is a shorthand way of informing readers that this novel is set in an alternative timeline as when Philip Pullman, by referring to Pope Luther, informs us that his text is set in an alternative history where there was no Reformation.

Do such intellectuals demonstrate against a space program or just ignore it?

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Commenting on your last sentence. Yes, there are so called intellectuals who are opposed to a REAL space program of the kind I so long for. See Poul Anderson's "Commentary" in SPACE FOLK to see him mentioning the fools who advocate limits to growth and cessation of any effort to get OFF this rock.