Thursday, 11 June 2015
CS Lewis And Poul Anderson
But how many authors have in any way followed after Lewis? I can think of three:
James Blish, post-Lewis fantasy and sf in After Such Knowledge;
Philip Pullman, anti-Lewis juvenile fantasy, His Dark Materials;
Poul Anderson, characters pondering the Problem of Pain and the Universal Incarnation in hard sf contexts.
However, it is the hard sf contexts that make the difference. Lewis' projection of anti-Darwinian Biblical fundamentalism onto Venus is impossible! If and when we detect extraterrestrial organisms, we expect them to be composed of energized complex molecules that had changed randomly until one of them became self-replicating. Thus, we expect life in any part of the universe to be another instance of temporary and local negative entropy, neither immortal nor Paradisal.
Lewis' Ransom Trilogy confines sin and error to this side of the lunar orbit. Of course, that is fiction but Lewis did believe that any extrasolar races would not necessarily be Fallen and therefore could be like the perfect and immortal Venerians in his Perelandra. Like hard sf writers in general and Anderson in particular, I expect extrasolar intelligences to be either nonexistent or in a state that Lewis would regard as "Fallen."
Some day someone is going to comment that I repeat myself on this blog. However, it happens over a period of time and these statements always feel fresh to me when I articulate them. The blog does go somewhere even if in a cosmic circle.
Addendum: See "God and Alien in Anderson's Technic Civilization" by Sean M Books here.