The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Other Gods

I've mentioned here some subversive sequels: in-universe critiques in the form of literature. Aliens and Gremlins 2. The Last Ringbearer, "The Problem of Susan", Psychohistorical Crisis, Shrek, and Silverberg's expansions to "Nightfall". Arguably The Magicians. I've even written such a tale myself.

I do believe I've found an example where HP Lovecraft dabbled in this: "The Other Gods". This story has humanity's gods literally retreating before the advance of human knowledge - so far, so Dunsanian. But at those gods' last redoubt, the other gods reveal their hand. It is hardly a spoiler to reveal that things then start to go sideways (literally).

Lord Dunsany, then, had a thesis, or at least Lovecraft thought he did. Dunsany's thesis was that gods don't exist, except as reifications of human ideals and of human ignorance. Lovecraft's counter-thesis is that when man finally disproves enough gods, he will come up against problems he cannot solve. And these gods will be indifferent to man except to swat him down as a threat.


posted by Zimri on 17:32 | link | 0 comments

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