Sunday, 23 November 2014

Gods And Stars

James Blish's starfaring Okies swear by the gods of all stars as if an interstellar frontier has revived polytheism.

In Poul and Karen Anderson's King of Ys Tetralogy, Niall of the Nine Hostages, after an ill-advised attack on the city of Ys, promises unblemished animal sacrifices to the gods in return for a safe voyage home.

In Poul Anderson's History of Technic Civilization:

Nicholas van Rijn continually offers candles and altar cloths to St Dismas;

Dagny, Od's Daughter in the House of Brenning on the ocean planet of Kraken, vows to "'...the gods a hundred Blue Giant seabeasts...'" (Flandry's Legacy, p. 489), if she can rescue her husband unhurt.

Dagny has received, not as a scientific education but as an oral tradition, an understanding of how stars and planets condense from the interstellar medium and even of why younger planetary systems contain more metal than older systems. Nevertheless, she remains part of a society whose lowest strata have lost technological control of their environment and have resumed the ancient practice of offering beasts to the gods.

Dagny's Krakener dowry to Roan Tom was their home, Skerrygarth, towers above surfs and reefs - like a smaller Ys.

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