Tag Archives: god

Re: The Second Journey of the Magus

Just so you know where I’m coming from, I like talking about gods, but I get tired of hearing about the Christian variant. Which means I thought “The Second Journey of the Magus,” by Ian MacLeod treads familiar ground.

We meet the Magi Balthasar on the road. He’s an atheist now and fears being executed for heresy when he returns to Persia. He thinks back to his dead companions, Melchior and Gaspar. He thinks how strange it was for a god to manifest himself that way. He thinks — I don’t care. It’s a Christmas story. If this hadn’t been Installment Five in this year’s Torque Control short story club, I wouldn’t have tried again. But the other stories have been worthwhile, so I plodded along with Balthasar. Then it became an Easter story, no it’s an Apocalypse story. That was weird enough to get me interested. Balthasar’s journey turns out to be vivid and thought-provoking.

Now I don’t have much more to say about it without discussing the ending, so I must reveal some spoilers.

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Re: God’s Problem

Since I like messing about with gods, I found Bart Ehrman’s interview on Fresh Air about the problem of evil very interesting. In his book, God’s Problem, Ehrman examines how the Bible attempts to reconcile the idea of a loving, omnipotent god with the evil in this world. Each chapter opens with his personal observations about suffering — the terrible question the Holocaust poses, or the killing fields of Cambodia — and asks what sin is a birth defect or a tsunami punishing? He discusses the various answers to be found and why none of them are ultimately satisfying.

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Re: The God Engines

I really didn’t expect to like “The God Engines,” by John Scalzi as much as I did. For one thing, most of his work makes me crazy. For another, the story is written in a clunky fantasy style that makes you wonder if he’s practicing for next year’s Kirk Poland. I mean, what else can I make of lines like this?

He found blood on the deck, an acolyte spurting one and lying shivering on the other, and the god prostrate in its iron circle, its chains shortened into the circle floor.

I had to read the opening paragraphs several times before I found the nerve to go on. But by the end of the first chapter you understand that the hero, Tephe, is the captain of the starship Righteous, and what he calls a “god” serves like an engine, providing the power to travel between the stars. And you understand that the particular clunky fantasy style being emulated is Lovecraft.

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Re: Genesis Illustrated

The Book of Genesis, illustrated by Robert Crumb by R. Crumb has got to be the most repetitive  title I’ve ever seen, almost as repetitive as the “begats” Crumb had to tackle when he decided to illustrate the full text of Genesis. When I heard about this book, I was intrigued because R. Crumb is always intriguing. I like the excerpt. And I knew it would be a good fit, because the Bible never flinches from depicting people at their worst, and neither does Crumb.

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Re: Article of Faith

If I believed in a god I would swear to him/her/them that I’ve read “Article of Faith” by Mike Resnick before. A priest has a robot servant who wants to understand god. The robot asks him questions and takes his answers to heart. The robot desperately wants to believe. It wants to know if it has a soul. It wants to be allowed to worship god in services with the humans. It doesn’t get it.

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Do you like your cookies sweet or crispy?

Here’s a twofer Tuesday. Why not?

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Re: The Fable of the Octopus

Still working my way through the Podcastle archives, I enjoyed a series of four fables by Peter S. Beagle that were podcast last fall.  My favorite was “The Fable of the Octopus,” about an octopus who wanted to see god. His ideas about god are about as good as your typical human New Age book. Since I like that sort of thing, and am sometimes tempted to perpetrate my own half-baked ideas, I was charmed.

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Re: Small Gods

While so far, my favorite book by Terry Pratchett is easily Small Gods, it’s not so easy to call it a funny book. In this book, he finally sets aside the urge for constant jokiness, and is content to raise a few smiles or groans, while telling a damn good story. This is the story of a god forced to come to grips with his relationship with humans.

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Re: The Self-Aware Universe

Like Programming the Universe, I got one key idea from The Self-Aware Universe, by Amit Goswami: that the probabilistic realm of quantum potentia is the same thing as the unitive consciousness of mystic experience. Unlike the Dancing Wu-Li Masters, this book conveys a good introduction to both quantum mechanics and the unitive consciousness. I just had a problem crossing the synapse between them.

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Re: The G.O.D. Experiments

I checked out The G.O.D Experiments, by Gary E. Schwartz partly because it was right next to God: The Failed Hypothesis in the library, and partly because it seemed like a logical followup. Followup, yes. Logical, not so much.

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