Monday, March 16, 2015

Against the Unweaving

If you have an e-reader, and enjoy fantasy/sci-fi check this trilogy out. (It's also available in paperback on amazon, but costs a bit more)
It was on a list of deals of the day, in an e-mail I received awhile back, and I'm not sure why, but I looked at it, thought, "Hey... fantasy/sci-fi, $0.99... what do I have to loose?"
I think this is one of those "nothing happens without a reason" moments. If you don't mind some crass details, (like, for instance, when someone sniffs, it's enough to know that they sniffed, I don't need to read the word snot as well... but whatever) once you get over how confusing it is to keep all the different countries straight and the different creatures... once you get into the book, it just takes you along for the ride.
And then you start to notice certain things that sound rather familiar... certain doctrines, certain teachings... talk of redemption... and by the time you hit the third book... you're reading stuff like this:
Gilbrum gestured for them to stop before a knotted wall of mangroves. "My point is that the Liche Lord and the Technocrat were both deceived by the Abyss, one way or the other. Deception is insidious. It takes root where its presence is not suspected. The dwarves of Arx Gravis learnt this to their horror, and this is why they are afraid to act: they lost faith in their scriptures, and now they no longer trust their own judgement."
"So what can be done?" Shader asked. How could the truth in the Liber be separated from the lies? Was the task even possible anymore? How could his own reasoning be trusted, if it was founded upon Nousian morality?
"I cannot say," Gilbrum said. "But if this Nous of yours is anything like the god once worshipped by the dwarves, then you must act as he would act."
"And how is that?" Shader said.
"With love."
and you're starting to wonder if the author isn't Catholic:
Could it be that it was about something else entirely, like good and evil. That's what Shader had always believed: do the former and avoid the latter. Maybe that's what he meant by being harder. Maybe it wasn't just about avoiding evil; maybe it was about rooting it out and excising it wherever he found it. Isn't that what surgeons did to gangrenous limbs? Cut away the bad so that the good might live on?
If only it were that easy. If only he could rip from the Liber all that Blightey had contaminated it with. The problem was, Blightey wasn't that crude. There were no obviously evil passages in the Liber. If there were, they'd have been removed centuries ago. What the Liche Lord had done was much more subtle. He'd woven together strands from various traditions and sown the seeds of confusion. The early Templum fathers had fallen for the wisdom he'd offered: the wisdom of popular appeal.
But when you hit the end of the third book and you are reading stuff like this:
His eyes were sore from poring over the text with only the flickering light of an overhead strip of crystal to read by, but at least he'd found something to go on: Causa Salutis, the inscription on the pendant, appeared in one of the more obscure passages in the Second Book of Unveilings, toward the end of the Liber.
That particular book had always struck him as a confusion of mythological images that had no authoritative interpretation. It was seldom, if ever, read at public worship, and yet Ludo had studied it assiduously, as if that's where he hoped to pick up the first strands of the golden thread. "The cause of our salvation will be," is how the passage translated from the Aeternam, "the Immaculata" - the immaculate one - "who crushes the deceiver beneath her heel.
You know... you just know... the guy HAS to be Catholic...
Turns out, he did a 6 month postulancy with the Carmelite Order in Melbourne, Australia.
What I liked about this book? There was no moralizing, no easy answers, no trite theology. And the story line was GOOD, and well-written. A Catholic author, writing from a Catholic perspective and DOING A GOOD JOB OF IT. There is too much crappy Christian lit out there, we need to be reading and sharing the good stuff...
Available from amazon.com in paperback.
Also available: The Nameless Dwarf