Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Concepts And Associations

I read a few pages of a previously unfamiliar text, currently A Meeting At Corvallis by SM Stirling, and am astonished at the number of concepts and associations that emerge:

comparisons with several very different works by Poul Anderson;
theology and philosophy all the way back to Genesis;
but also current and perennial political issues;
HG Wells is always relevant.

To readers of Anderson and Stirling, I say: enjoy the action, speculation, imagination, extrapolation, prose and characters and think about the issues. Stirling's characters include Catholics and Wiccans. What are the implications of these theologies? Note that Catholics can be as different as Anderson's Nicholas van Rijn and Fr Axor, Stirling's anti-Pope Leo and his warrior Benedictines. Don't think they're all the same. If you do not share their beliefs, what do you believe and why? Not everyone speaks of "belief" - that is a Western Christian way of putting it - but everyone does have some kind of world-view even if unexamined. The texts not only present credible Catholic characters but also ask moral and philosophical questions. Thus, discussion of these questions can be part of our appreciation of the texts. I want to know who wins the Protector's War but also to think about how many gods there are.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Very nice blog piece. Not really much I can say or add except that I agree we should both enjoy the works of Anderson and Stirling (and whatever other SF writers we favor) and THINK about the ideas and issues found in their works.

    No one else seems to have thought of it, but HOW could Norman Arminger's puppet anti-Pope "Leo XIV" even THINK he was pope? After all, current conclave law mandates that to be validly elected, a pope needs to get two thirds of the cardinals votes at a conclave. We see nothing about on what GROUNDS "Leo XIV" claimed to be pope.


    1. Sean,
      As the abbot says, the most charitable interpretation is that Leo's post-Change experiences had driven him mad, mad enough to think that the Church had survived nowhere else and also that God wanted him to re-establish a medieval Church to fit Arminger's fantasies.

    2. Kaor, Paul!

      Yes, I should have remembered that, as being the simplest explanation for Leo's behavior. Quite simply, the shock and horror of the Change drove him CLINICALLY mad. The anti-pope would have been deserving of compassion if he was not being so cynically used by the Protector.