Friday, 19 August 2016

Supernatural Beings And Other Worlds

One premise for sf is that there are powerful beings that have been regarded as supernatural whereas fantasy assumes the supernatural. Fantasy premises include:

that supernatural beings were active on Earth in the past but have withdrawn;
that they are still present but concealed;
that mythological beings do exist but on other Earths in parallel universes;
either that each mythology has its own Earth or that there is an Earth where they all coexist.

In Poul Anderson's The Broken Sword, supernatural beings from every mythology coexisted on Earth in the historical past whereas, in his Operation Luna, there is a "goetic" universe where all such beings can be contacted although sometimes by traveling to yet another universe.

On the goetic Earth, the National Astral Spellcraft Association test flies spacecraft in New Mexico but encounters problems, e.g., moths eat a flying carpet. Consulting local medicine men, NASA learns that Coyote resents their invasion of his territory and their spectacular stunts. However, when the President of the United States ensures that the Indians get a better deal, the priests invoke the gods and kachinas to protect NASA. This is only to be expected. We all know that it is a tough job to be President of the United States!


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

As a Catholic I simply can't and don't believe other gods EXIST either in our universe or in alternate universes. But I can see how using "gods" makes for interesting stories.

And it was amusing having the President of the US being forced to placate Coyote in order for NASA to work unhindered!


David Birr said...

But suppose we consider the "gods" as alien beings who, as Clarke put it, have "sufficiently advanced technology" that is "indistinguishable from magic" (or divine powers). If they visit our world at a primitive enough time, they get regarded as gods. It may go to their heads so they actually start regarding themselves as divine, or they may simply adopt the word "god," not FULLY realizing that to us it means something more than "alien with strange powers."

That's the attitude Marvel Comics has long taken to those of its stories involving gods such as Thor and other pantheons.

Incidentally, a piece of humor about the Marvel movie *The Avengers* portrays Captain America saying, "Met two gods. Still a Christian." Iron Man says, "Met two gods. Still an atheist." The Hulk growls, "Met two gods. Beat the crap out of both."

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, David!

Commenting on your first paragraph. Yes, I can see aliens visiting our Earth with hugely advanced technology could be regarded by primitive humans thousands of years ago as "gods." That idea I can agree with. And vainity, egotism, and/or cynicism COULD also make other aliens accept being worshiped as gods.

Amusing, what you wrote in your last paragraph! I esp. liked what the Hulk said!