Thursday, 5 September 2013
In "The Longest Voyage," Poul Anderson imagines human beings isolated on another planet long enough to confuse the Fall from Paradise with their own fall from the heavens, to come to believe that God's Daughter had been born among them, to write scriptures and to regard a more recent visitor from the interstellar civilization as a Messenger or prophet.
Although this fictitious scenario is set in the future rather than in the past, it is an attempt to imagine the outcome of millennia of independent development for a human population. We recognize popular superstition, power politics and exploration although all the details are different.
The Montalirians, who pray to God's Daughter, regard the Hisagazi, who "...worship two sorts of gods, watery and fiery..." as "...pagans..." (p. 109).