Wednesday, 28 June 2017

O Jerusalem!

OK. Today we imagine the destruction of a place that had been a centre of religious life. We have two examples from Poul Anderson and one each from James Blish and SM Stirling.

(i) "Where the Shrine had been, the road, the onsars, her companions: snow filled the vale, nearly as high as she was. A mist of crystals swallowed vision within fifty meters..."
-Poul Anderson, A Stone In Heaven, I, p. 11, IN Anderson, Flandry's Legacy (Riverdale, NY, 2012).

"'Avalanche. Wiped out Yewwl's whole family...and, oh, God, the Shrine, the heart of her clan's history - like wiping out Jerusalem -'" (p. 13)

(ii) "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem!"
-Poul Anderson, After Doomsday (Frogmore, St Albans, Herts, 1975), Chapter Seven, p. 77.

I misquoted this passage here.

(iii) In James Blish's The Day After Judgement, Rome has been nuked in World War III, which was part of Armageddon, so the Cardinals meet in Venice to elect a demon Pope.

(iv) Pilgrims to Mecca after the Change find "...nothing left in the Holy City except dry gnawed bones."
-SM Stirling, The Sword Of The Lady (New York, 2009), Chapter Eighteen, p. 559.

Thus:

a Ramnuan Shrine;
Jerusalem, and indeed Earth;
Rome;
Mecca.

As HG Wells proved in The War Of The Worlds, sf authors sure know how to wreck places - but, if we imagine destruction, then maybe we can prevent it.

2 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    And Rome and Jerusalem, of course, suffered the same fate as all other post-Change cities. Immediate collapse and mass starvation! The John Paul II of that timeline refused to leave Rome, instead ordering his cardinals and as many others as possible to flee. It was in the 1998 of that timeline that Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope as Benedict XVI after JP II's death. Even as late as the post-Change AD 2021-22, Rome was apparently still thought uninhabitable.

    Sean

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  2. Kaor, Paul!

    Commenting on your last sentence: I fear many of us, myself included, find it rather FUN to destroy things! I remember making toy forts from "Lincoln Logs" as a boy and then BOMBARDING them. So, I can easily imagine SF authors like Wells, Anderson, Stirling, Pournelle/Niven, etc., doing so on a far vaster scale!

    Sean

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