Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Visions Of Heaven

"...very far away I could see what might be either a great bank of cloud or a range of mountains. Sometimes I could make out in it steep forests, far-withdrawing valleys, and even mountain cities perched on inaccessible summits. At other times it became indistinct. The height was so enormous that my waking sight could not have taken in such an object at all. Light brooded on the top of it: slanting down thence it made long shadows behind every tree on the plain. There was no change and no progression as the hours passed. The promise - or the threat - of sunrise rested immovably up there."
-CS Lewis, The Great Divorce (London, 1982), p. 29.

"Far distant mountains climbed steep and blue, their peaks floating like peaks of white. [Ignatius] thought the silver towers of a city rose in their foothills, tall and slender and crowned with banners."
-SM Stirling, The Sword Of The Lady (New York, 2010), Chapter Twenty-One, p. 641.

"The abbot rested a hand on [Ignatius'] shoulder; it was a light touch, but the younger monk felt a sudden shock at the depth of the contact. As if he was a ghost, a figment, and the contact had revealed him as unreal, a dream within a dream that strove to wake itself from illusion."
-Stirling, op. cit., p. 643.

"Screaming, I buried my face in the folds of my Teacher's robe. 'The morning! The morning!' I cried, 'I am caught by the morning and I am a ghost.'"
-Lewis, op. cit., p. 117.

Comparing CS Lewis and SM Stirling with Poul Anderson leads to comparing them with each other.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Perhaps from a sense of modesty and humility, Poul Anderson did not try to give us detailed speculations of what he thought Heaven would be like. But we do get some idea of what PA thought Paradise might be like in Chapter XXX of OPERATION CHAOS: "Of course, I couldn't share his [Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevski] afterlife, nor the holiness thereof. My mortal brain and grimy soul didn't reach to it. At most, there sang at the edge of perception a peace and joy which were not static but a high eternal adventure." In short, Anderson did not think Heaven was only stereotypical singing and harp playing, it was far more than that!