Thursday, 20 July 2017

Literary Sequels

Virgil's Aeneid is a sequel to Homer's Iliad and Odyssey.

Poul Anderson's The Broken Sword is a sequel to an Edda and a saga.

Anderson's A Midsummer Tempest is a sequel to A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest, the two plays that Shakespeare wrote for Neil Gaiman's Morpheus.

CS Lewis' Ransom Trilogy is a sequel to the Bible and the Arthurian cycle (the temptation of Eve, the curse of Babel, Maleldil wept when he saw death, Merlinus returns.)

Is SM Stirling's Emberverse a sequel to Tolkien's Middle Earth History?

"...the children...had both read the Histories, though they'd thought them mere tales."
-SM Stirling, The High King Of Montival (New York, 2011), Chapter Eighteen, pp. 393-394.

Does Ritva believe that the Histories are more than mere tales?
Does she tell two children that?
Is the Emberverse a sequel to the Histories if some of its characters believe that it is?
Are we readers meant to believe that it is? (No!)


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Interesting, the suggestion that Stirling's Emberverse books could be called a successor or sequel to Tolkien's Middle Earth mythos. And Astrid Larsson certainly believed in Tolkien's THE SILMARILLION and THE LORD OF THE RINGS as actual history!

Yes, I agree, Stirling does not intend US to actually believe Tolkien's works were literal histories.


S.M. Stirling said...

Mary and Ritva regard the "histories" more or less as a not particularly devout Anglican would the Bible.

And of course they live in a world where things like magic swords and possession by evil entities definitely exist -- they're not common, but they're demonstrably real and they're important.

Materialism in our sense is philosophically difficult in the Changed world.

Paul Shackley said...

Mr Stirling,
However, we are told that Mind originated in an uncreated universe and that later it was said, "NOW there is a God." That is materialist.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Dear Mr. Stirling,

And, as a Catholic, I would disagree with that seemingly dismissive view taken of the Bible by such Anglicans.

While I found your "Sword of the Lady" difficult to "swallow," I did not feel the same way about how certain characters were possessed by evil entities. After all, again as a Catholic, I do believe in the possibility of some persons being tragically possessed by fallen angels.

What you said about materialism reminded me of how many characters in the Emberverse books were so badly shaken by the Change that they could no longer disbelieve in or deny the supernatural. Some became Christians, others, Wiccans (absurd as that religion is).

I not only disbelieve in materialism, I simply don't think it even holds up, philosophically speaking. John C. Wright, a philosopher who writes SF, has argued extensively against materialism at his blog. And I found his arguments convincing.


Paul Shackley said...

To refute materialism, theists like Lewis and Wright describe mechanistic states of matter, then rightly argue that such states differ qualitatively from conscious states. However, I believe on the evidence that matter/energy/being is not merely mechanistic. It is dynamic and capable of qualitative transformations including the change from organismic sensitivity to conscious sensation. Quantitative change, e.g., increase in temperature, becomes qualitative change, e.g., from liquid to gas. Sensitivity increased quantitatively, then changed qualitatively. Thus, a mobile organism responding to heat began to feel hot. As soon as sensation occurred, it began to be naturally selected because it had survival value.