Sunday, 23 October 2016
More serious is what she says when Falkayn, naming the rogue planet "Satan," explains that Satan is:
"'The enemy of the divine, the source of evil, in one of our terrestrial religions.'" (p. 457)
Chee Lan responds, "'But any reasonable being can see that the divine itself is - Oh, well, never mind.'" (ibid.)
Is what? I think that she can only have been going to say that the divine itself is the source of evil. And I agree with her. At least, the premise that the divine is the source of all things entails the conclusion that the divine is the source of evil. The author of a novel writes both the hero and the villain, both the detective and the murderer. This is different from arguing merely that the divine foreknows evil. He or It (it is believed) creates everything, including creatures with evil motivations. The divine is the author, not the hero.
Chee Lan interrupts herself to ask the relatively trivial question whether the name "Satan" has not already been used for a planet. Falkayn knows of a Lucifer, an Ahriman and a Loki - and we have read a story partly set on Lucifer, appropriately about "The Problem of Pain." Chee Lan knows that antigods can make you rich but that it is inadvisable to bargain with them. Falkayn takes her point that the discovery of Satan the planet might be a mixed blessing but merely shrugs and replies, "'We'll see.'" (p. 538)
Before closing this post, let us appreciate the diverse locations in this one novel. So far:
the colonized Moon;
the floating city, Delfinburg;
the appropriately named Satan.