Friday, 2 September 2016

Wildness And Freedom

Poul Anderson, Three Hearts And Three Lions (London, 1977), Chapter Eleven.

Morgan le Fay tries to win Holger to the side of Chaos:

"'...the mirth and thunder and blazing stars of Chaos would be yours...
"'You could hurl suns and shape worlds if you chose!'" (p. 68)

Is all this possible in the Carolingian universe? Does "...blazing stars...yours..." refer to stars as seen in the night sky or to literal possession of stars as in an interstellar empire? The reference to suns and worlds seems to imply the modern astronomical knowledge that stars are other suns that can have planets. To hurl suns would be a superhuman feat. This sounds like some of Anderson's early pulp magazine science fantasy. (Is magic on extrasolar planets "science fantasy"? It sounds like an appropriate description.)

There must be at least two kinds of freedom:

complete freedom of action in a virtual reality where there are no other conscious beings to be affected by any actions;

freedom in the real universe where we are responsible for the consequences of our actions.

How many of Poul Anderson's characters act in the real universe as if they were in a virtual reality? At least two groups: Exaltationists and Middle Worlders.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I think you missed another possible analogy to Morgan Le Fay's wooing (if I can use that word!) of Holger. She was tempting him the way the Serpent did Eve in Genesis. That is, deceptively offering Holger godlike powers. A lie, of course!