Monday, 19 June 2017

Demons

"WE WILL DO WITHOUT THE ANTICHRIST. HE WAS NEVER NECESSARY. MEN HAVE ALWAYS LED THEMSELVES UNTO ME...I WILL EDUCATE YOU. ETERNALLY, FOR A BEGINNING."
-James Blish, Black Easter, 17, IN Blish, After Such Knowledge (London, 1991), p. 423.

"'You-are-mine. Eternally. For-a-beginning...We have no need to buy men's souls. You give yourselves to us.'"
-SM Stirling, The Sword Of The Lady (New York, 2009), Chapter Eight, pp. 210-211.

Blish's speaker is a demon. Stirling's seems to think he is. He, or It, is certainly some kind of entity possessing a human being. Both Blish and Stirling use typographic devices and there is also some parallel phraseology.

Blish's premise is that demons are real. Stirling's is that some power has intervened on Earth. It should be regarded as demonic for practical purposes at least until more is learnt. Will an exorcism work? (It doesn't in Black Easter because there the demons are winning Armageddon.)

Addendum -

Blish's demon: "WE ARE ABROAD AND LOOSE, AND WILL NOT BE PUT BACK." (p. 424)

Stirling's entity: "'Soon. We-will-be-abroad-and-loose.'" (p. 215)

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kaor, Paul!

And, of course, in Anderson's THE BROKEN SWORD, Satan is shown telling a witch that mortals never sell him their souls; they throw them away.

Best Regards,
Nicholas D. Rosen

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Nicholas and Paul!

Nicholas: darn! I should have thought of that bit from THE BROKEN SWORD! After all, I've read it multiple times, both the original and revised versions. Drat!

Paul: again, drat! I have read Blish's BLACK EASTER, and I should have noticed those Blishian allusions Stirling made. I'm so disgusted with myself! (Smiles)

Sean

Paul Shackley said...

Nicholas,
Thank you for drawing Poul Anderson into the comparison. Neil Gaiman's Lucifer says that human beings are responsible for their own actions but avoid responsibility by blaming the Devil. CS Lewis shows souls making the wrong moral choices and thus choosing Hell.
Paul.