Tuesday, 1 August 2017


In how many works of fiction are the villains literally demons?

CS Lewis, the Ransom Trilogy;
Robert Heinlein, Magic Inc;
Poul Anderson, two Operation... novels;
James Blish, Black Easter/The Day After Judgment;
SM Stirling, the Emberverse series.

Anderson's Operation... followed Heinlein's Magic Inc in the same way that Anderson's Psychotechnic History followed Heinlein's Future History.

In Blish's diptych, even the good guys are bad - but then all the bad guys become good? Black Easter is in memoriam CS Lewis and Blish's white magician, Father Domenico, quotes Lewis' demon, Screwtape.

Thus, Heinlein and Anderson form a science fiction pair whereas Lewis and Blish form a theological fiction pair.

I am still not sure where Stirling's demons come for and hope for more elucidation as the series proceeds.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

You missed at least two others of Anderson's works featuring demons or possible devils: "Pact" and THE DEVIL'S GAME. True, the former was also meant to be a sardonic riff on the theme of humans signing pacts with the devil, with a twist. THE DEVIL'S GAME has Samael, who might or might not be a demon, an extraterrestrial, or even a part of Sunderland Haverner's mind.

And many Christians and Mithraists agreed on at least considering the grim gods of Ys, in THE KING OF YS, as being demons. And I can't think of any others of Anderson's works showing us demons or possible devils.


David Birr said...

Paul and Sean:
A demon Samiel [not a typo; that book spells it with an "i"] makes a brief appearance in *Three Hearts and Three Lions*, summoned up by a witch to give advice she passes on to Holger. He doesn't necessarily rate as one of the book's villains, because the advice IS useful, although it also gives Holger's enemies an early shot at neutralizing him.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, DAVID!

Darn and drat! I actually thought of THREE HEARTS AND THREE LIONS while reviewing in my mind the works of Anderson featuring demons, but I completely forgot about Samiel! From what you said, I would rate Samiel as "ambiguous" vis a vis Holger.