Monday, 29 May 2017

The Change

If a force or Power can dampen technology, can that same force or Power enhance clairvoyance, thus making Earth more like a fantasy realm? Have the Wiccan Powers somehow been brought into existence?

I prefer Poul Anderson's "change," which enhanced intelligence. Which world would you prefer to live in? You would probably be among the dead in the Emberverse.

Does each generation have an equivalent of the Change, an event after which everything was different?

"Change" Events
World War I.
World War II.
The Holocaust.
The beginning of the nuclear age.
The beginning of the space age.
The invention of the Internet.

It would be trivializing to equate the Internet with the great atrocities of the twentieth century but the purpose is not to equate. It is to identify events after which everything was (seen as) different. Someone suggested that the only "generation gap" in history was between those born before the atom bomb and those born after it. There was a generation that thought, "Why take life seriously if our elders are about to kill us all, including themselves?"

Life is change so fiction about a Change reflects life.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    I continue to totally disbelieve in neo-pagan gods, even in the context of Stirling's Change books. If they are merely powerful beings which had an origin and are somehow "immanent" in the world, then they certainly don't seem much like the Infinitely Transcendent Other Who is the true God.

    While many things certainly "Changed" for the worse because of WW I and II, the Holocaust, etc., I would not put them on the same level as Stirling's Change. IF, in one minute or less, any technology higher than water power, animal and human muscle, simply stopped WORKING, the results would be worse than the disasters you listed. Billions of people would immediately start dying. And I don't think either of us would long survive Stirling's Change.

    We need to get off this rock! Heinlein was right, it's BEYOND foolish to persist in keeping all our eggs in the only basket we have, Earth.


  2. Paul and Sean:
    It only now occurred to me that Fred Saberhagen's *Empire of the East* trilogy also featured a Change. Intended only as a measure to neutralize nuclear weapons, it made magic possible ... and caused "demons" and, later, "gods" to arise. Also, the computer which produced Saberhagen's Change couldn't shut it off for approximately 50,000 years.

    I think it was Larry Niven who said that in his opinion *Empire of the East* was better than *The Lord of the Rings*. I'm not willing to go anywhere near that far — but it IS very, very good.

    "But as things are, it is not the woman, it is something else, something within yourself, you must destroy ere you are ours completely.... You must be for once not brave, but cowardly. Small and mean, as you describe it. It will be difficult only once. You must learn to cause pain, for the sake of nothing but causing pain. Only thus will you be bound to us entirely."
    — *EotE* Book Two, *The Black Mountains*

    "And he wondered, even as the sword came butchering between his ribs, how he had ever thought that the East, whose essence was treachery, could ever stand."
    — *EotE* Book Three, *Changeling Earth*

    1. One more quote I should've remembered to include, this from Book One, *The Broken Lands*:
      "Technology, thought the Satrap, and despite himself he shivered slightly.... It was not easy for one belonging to a world that thought itself sane and modern and stable to accept the reality of such things."

    2. Kaor, DAVID!

      Interesting. I don't think I've even HEARD of Saberhagen's EMPIRE OF THE EAST. I'm mostly familiar with his Berserker stories.

      Hmmm, the Satrap was living in an era where what WE call technology again became practical?


    3. Sean:
      There were some holdover items. The one unnerving the Satrap in that quote was a book (in shockingly good condition, pages still white even after millennia), but he himself makes use of a fire extinguisher later on.

      Quote from Wikipedia:
      "...what is intended to be a temporary modification (later called 'The Change') to the laws of physics to make nuclear explosions impossible. However, the enemy has a similar device, and when the two expanding wavefronts of The Change collide, the effect unexpectedly becomes permanent.
      Following The Change, most technology ceases to function, while magic now works. Magical beings are also created. Demons are born from acts of violence at the time of the change; the most powerful is Orcus, a nuclear bomb caught at the exact moment of exploding."

    4. Kaor, DAVID!

      Ummmm, that book would need to have been made from very DURABLE materials to last that long. Perhaps it was also stored in such a way as to help preserve it?

      I have to say I find the premise of Saberhagen's EMPIRE OF THE EAST less plausible than what Stirling used in his Emberverse series. That is, I don't think simple human beings could somehow nullify natural laws. Bur I can imaging and evil and very hostile supernatural Being being able to do that, at least on Earth. I mean Satan.