Sunday, 2 April 2017
Different Uses Of The Bible In Fiction II
Authors of graphic fantasies can match the Bible for supernatural drama:
in Neil Gaiman's The Sandman, the Biblical Cain resides in Morpheus' realm, the Dreaming, because in Genesis 4.16, he went to the land of Nod;
in Alan Moore's Swamp Thing, the Original Darkness that was before the Creation, conjured by magicians, emerges from the Chaos beyond Hell and advances towards Heaven...
Thus, so far, Poul Anderson's time travellers visit Biblical periods and fantasy authors extrapolate the Biblical narrative. Meanwhile, characters in contemporary fiction can quote the Bible to powerful effect. In Stieg Larsson's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, a girl who has disappeared had kept a list of names followed by what look like phone numbers: Magda - 32016; Sara - 32109 etc. Michael Blomkvist, investigating the disappearance, hangs the list on his wall. When Blomkvist's daughter visits, she advises him to keep up his Biblical studies. Then he realizes that 32016 means Leviticus 20.16 etc. Next he learns that women called Magda, Sara etc have been murdered in ways corresponding to the horrific executions prescribed in these Biblical passages...
And it was rereading Larsson that made me reflect on the diverse literary uses of the Bible, starting with Poul Anderson's Time Patrol.