Monday, 18 January 2016
Marya Goes To Church
-James Blish, Earthman, Come Home (London, 1963), p. 217.
(Blish agreed with me that that second sentence was ambiguous. Does "...Amalfi's universe..." mean "the universe as perceived by Amalfi" or "back in Amalfi's home galaxy"?)
The Shah of Iran was able to ban and exile all opposition parties but not to close the mosques. Consequently, opposition came to be organized in the mosques and led by mullahs. Places of worship can be centers of subversion and resistance. The police recently raided a Lancaster Spiritualist Church!
I was immediately suspicious when, in SM Stirling's The Stone Dogs (New York, 1990), we read that Marya had become a regular church goer. (p. 357)
Yolande Ingolfsson has an American serf, Marya, although Yolande does not know that, before her capture, Marya was an OSS agent. We read fascinating passages from Yolande's point of view - she momentarily notices something strange in Marya's responses and facial expressions...
Sure enough, we read that the OSS is "'...in contact with Marya again...'" (p. 363) and that "'...Contact's a priest...'" (p. 364) The Draka allow religion to their serfs although they carefully select the priests - but what better way would the OSS have of inserting an agent? And how will Marya's story end?
Poul Anderson's Dominic Flandry spent an interesting period as a prisoner of his enemies, the Merseians, but, of course, Flandry covered himself in glory with a dramatic early escape.