Thursday, 29 January 2015

How The Gods Speak

If an intelligence pervaded and controlled our environment, then how might it communicate with us? On a cosmic scale, in Carl Sagan's Contact, when computers calculate the value of pi, the numbers start to form a pattern that contains a message.

In Poul Anderson's heroic fantasy, the gods speak through the elements. In his Genesis, a new voice speaks:

"...not from any throat or instrument. Maybe the walls of the house reverberated with it, soft though it was." (Genesis, p. 82)

And, later, inside an emulation:

"'That will not be necessary,'" said the wind." (p. 232)

"The blowing of the wind, the rustling in the leaves made words." (p. 233)

(When I quote, I realize that we do not all use commas in the same way.)

In Anderson's Harvest Of Stars, the ecology of a colonized extrasolar planet has a presiding intelligence that can address individual colonists through an audio system. Pagan and sf ideas meet.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

Not just pagan! In the Old Testament we see God speaking to Elijah in a "still, small voice." Or to Job in a storm. Or to Moses from a burning bush which was not consumed. And Isaiah saw a vision of God sitting enthroned in the Temple. And so on, in both the OT and NT.