Thursday, 6 September 2012

"Operation Changeling"

In Poul Anderson's Operation Chaos (New York, 1995), there is scientific proof of  "...Divinity...absolute evil, atonement, and an afterlife..." but God has many partial manifestations so the religious options include Petrine Christianity, Johannine Christianity, mainstream Islam, the Muslim Caliphate sect and Unitarianism. (p. 137)

Are there some timelines with a hereafter and others without? If someone born in a timeline without a hereafter dies in a timeline with a hereafter, does s/he then enter that hereafter?

Because paraphysical forces work in the "Operation..." timeline, the 1960's message of love is preached by the "Johnnies," the Johannine Church, who believe that the age of the Holy Spirit is beginning. Readers of the works of Anderson's fellow fantasy, hard sf and historical fiction writer, James Blish, will remember, from Blish's historical novel, Doctor Mirabilis,that Roger Bacon, the founder of scientific method, was imprisoned as a Joachist schismatic because he believed that the Age of the Spirit had begun in 1261, seven hundred years earlier.

Bacon is referred back to both in Blish's contemporary fantasy novel, Black Easter, and in his futuristic end of the universe novel, The Triumph Of Time. Thus, Bacon becomes a sort of unofficial patron saint of science, hard sf and those falsely accused of practicing magic. Blish and Anderson resonate on several levels, the biggest difference being Anderson's bigger output.

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