FIND in
<--prev V301 next-->
Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 11:03:26 -0600
Subject: Re: (urth) DOORS: The Hero, The Otherworld, The Ending
From: Adam Stephanides 

on 1/17/03 11:03 AM, Andy Robertson at andywrobertson@clara.co.uk wrote:

> What I am trying to explain by the coinage "Catholic Fabulation" is that
> there is a tradition of storytelling that runs along these lines.
> It includes the Inklings' work (Williams too) but does NOT  include such
> unambiguously religious works  as, for example,  A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWIZT
> The difference lies in the treatment of the supernatural.
> CF embraces the supernatural and **enables** it:
> It occurs in the stories, but in drag, in disguise.
> The keynote is that angels or demons or gods pop up and they pretend to be
> aliens.  God pops up, but he pretends to be The Increate or The Emperor Over
> The Sea.
> I believe Wolfe is writing WITHIN that tradition.

I confess that I'm not quite clear on this.  Wolfe's fiction is full of gods
and goddesses explicitly identified as such.  And in TBOTNS, God is no more
"pretending" to be the Increate than Earth is pretending to be Urth: "the
Increate" is how the Commonwealth refers to God.  As for cases like Tzadkiel
and the Mother, here it's a matter of interpretation whether they're gods
and angels pretending to be aliens, or aliens pretending to be gods and
aliens.  I don't remember UotNS too well, but in the case of the Mother my
money would be on the latter.

Lafferty, who you mentioned in an earlier post, seems to fit even less well,
though I haven't read him in a long time either.  While many of his
characters are extraordinary in various ways, I'd say that they are nearly
all clearly human (even when they're aliens or ktestic machines).  The only
gods I can recall offhand in his works are Snuffles (from the story of the
same name) and Anteros (from "Continued on Next Rock").

I don't know Lewis or Tolkien well enough to comment.  But in general, is
there anything specifically "Christian" about the use of gods in fantasy?
It seems to me to be virtually ubiquitous, from Dunsany (where it's clearly
pagan in inspiration) to Gaiman's "Sandman" series to the run-off-the-mill
ersatz-Tolkien trilogy.



<--prev V301 next-->