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      CommentAuthormagatsu
    • CommentTimeMar 19th 2008
     (1432.61)
    Don't know if anyone's read Henry James' The Aspern Papers, but Aspern and the protagonist come together to form an interesting picture of trickery, confidence and obsession; Aspern as the devil, and the protagonist as follower/missing bit from forays on the mortal plane.

    re: I, Lucifer, I really enjoyed it, despite it's slow beginning (and the constant allusions to pop culture got a little tiresome) and it gives a great face to a more modern(?) devil.

    re: Milton... I hate PL with a passion, partly due to the brilliance. As a text, it is superb, but emotionally harmful—all us masochists have read it at least twice.
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      CommentAuthorRJBarker
    • CommentTimeMar 19th 2008
     (1432.62)
    @Slybyron.

    TThanks for the link. that's any chance of work today out the window. 'The Birth of Satan' is much easier to read. It's basically traces how Satan goes from a concept to an actual being. It's fascinating.

    As for the Icon, nothing so artsy I'm afraid. It's this -



    Except it's just a tiny bit of it cos I didn't resize it and quite liked the result.
    • CommentAuthorSasha_mak
    • CommentTimeMar 19th 2008
     (1432.63)
    I always thought that V For Vendetta had a lot of aspects of Paradise Lost. I mean, Evey, Adam is name of the leader, and V is the devil.
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      CommentAuthorslybyron
    • CommentTimeMar 19th 2008
     (1432.64)
    @collin

    I think you're onto something. In Fear & Trembling (which looks at Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his first-born son from every possible angle), Kierkegaard says that true faith is such an intensely personal phenomenon, that it sets you apart from the rest of the church, instead of bringing fellow believers together. So, using that as a jump-off point, if Christ did come back all of a sudden (assuming that he really is god incarnate), it could make people feel uncomfortable and possibly threatened. They might react just like Dostoevsky's Inquisitor.
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      CommentAuthorslybyron
    • CommentTimeMar 19th 2008
     (1432.65)
    @muse
    I really liked Good Omens, minus the annoying, unfunny footnotes. (Except for the one that's a paragraph long, explaining the intricacies of calculating British currency; that one's hysterical.) I liked that Crowley (which is almost a lovably cheesy name for a devil) had mellowed out after several thousand years on earth to the point where he wasn't all that bad anymore.

    @sasha
    V actually wears horns in one scene, and says, "I'm a man of wealth...and taste." You're right. He's definitely an example of Alan Moore riffing on a lot of the stuff we've been talking about, and he (V) has got moral ambiguity in spades.
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      CommentAuthorslybyron
    • CommentTimeMar 19th 2008
     (1432.66)
    @nigredo

    Prometheus was the Titan whose job it was to design humankind as a race, while his overworked brother Epimetheus was charged with designing every other animal species. I think that's what Mary Shelley was referring to by calling Victor Frankenstein "a modern Prometheus," not the daring theft of fire out of heaven, so there is a point of comparison; I just think it's a flimsy one.

    I agree that Victor's suffering was ultimately the result of his immaturity, whereas Prometheus got chained to a rock, where his liver got devoured by an eagle every day (only to regenerate overnight), because he wanted to better equip humanity for survival in an unpredictable world of gods & monsters. He was really a standup guy.
    • CommentAuthorjayverni
    • CommentTimeMar 19th 2008
     (1432.67)
    One of my favorites was the image of God and the Devil betting on humanity in Heinlein's "Job: A Comedy of Justice." It's been a loooong time since I read it, and with everyone's "real" literature references, I apologize for my juvenile mind, but I do remember it have a very deep and lasting affect on my image of religion and God and the Devil, especially being a young teen.
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      CommentAuthorroque
    • CommentTimeMar 19th 2008
     (1432.68)
    Jayverni-- I haven't read that in years either, but I remember liking it a lot when I was about 13. don't remember what the depiction of the Devil was like, though.
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      CommentAuthornigredo
    • CommentTimeMar 20th 2008
     (1432.69)
    @slybyron

    Actually, Epimetheus and Prometheus were given the task of creating living beings. True to his name, Epimetheus gave the best qualities to the animals, which he created first, so that, when it came to man, he had to ask Pometheus for help. Among other things, Prometheus stole fire from the gods and taught men science etc...

    The thing is that the interpretation changes according to people's views. Neo-Luddites see Prometheus as a negative figure, because he basically put mankind on the pathway to technological development. At the same time, since the Enlightenment, he has become a symbol of human reason and progress.

    If Frankestein is seen as a cautionary tale, then the subtitle isn' exactly flattering.
  1.  (1432.70)
    @ slybyron

    Fear & Trembling (and all Kierkegaard's speculations, I think) is a awesome book about the terrible thing that faith (and God, of course) could be, because what the difference between Abrahan, the great patriarch, when he was in order to kill his son Isaac in worship of God, and some insane assassin with the same leit motiv? In my opinion, this kind of speculation (there are many narrative examples, like The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg or Wieland by Charles Brockden Brown) is a great start for new and fresh devil's representations, without the ironic frame (it's a excellent frame, but there are more frames or none to use) usual in this kind of representation after middle ages.

    About the Promethean discussion, I remember a essay wrote by the philosopher E. M. Cioran in his book History and Utopia. Prometheus, in the Cioran concept, was a kind of utopia creator. If Prometheus has a target, throw the men deep in the conscience flow and overpass the primordial nature state, this is the biggest sin of all, the arrogant sin of overpass the nature (the body, the real, etc.) for the nothing of the mind. In the Cioran essay, Prometheus "deserves" his fate.
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      CommentAuthorslybyron
    • CommentTimeMar 21st 2008
     (1432.71)
    @nigredo
    The Prometheus story isn't covered in the Metamorphoses, which is my mythology Bible, so I may have gotten a detail or two wrong.

    I prefer to consider it an ironic subtitle, and that way it it works just fine. Maybe they can add a question mark at the end to make it explicit.

    @collin
    That's the second mention of James Hogg in so many pages on this thread, so I really will need to hunt down a copy.

    @jayverni
    I haven't really read any Heinlein, but it's probably just as "real" as anything else on this thread. If it's good, it's good. Period.
    •  
      CommentAuthormagatsu
    • CommentTimeMar 21st 2008 edited
     (1432.72)
    @jayverni

    Completely spaced on this JOB, thanks for reminding me!

    And in this conversation (or any other, for that matter), if Heinlein's not an author of "real" literature, who really is?

    The Devil in in Job exists as an equal to god, and one of the very few companionable characters in the novel. He's much more of a guide-type, and in this case, fighting for the just treatment of human beings.
    There's a bit near the end where he takes the protagonist to the guy who makes the rules for the games played by God and the Devil, and he makes a speech to the degree of "the rules are stacked against them, and therefore they cannot really win, even if they get into heaven."



    @slybyron

    Absolutely right. If a so-called children's book like the His Dark Material's trilogy can be a critique of the Roman Catholic Church while simultaneously speaking to Paradise Lost, then anything can have merit and therefore be "real."


    Does anyone know if Asimov or other big SF writers (aside from Herbert and Dick) ever wrote about classical religion and/or the devil?

    edited for clarity
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      CommentAuthorvideocrime
    • CommentTimeMar 21st 2008
     (1432.73)
    Asimov was way too technical and skeptical to write about the Devil. There are devil-like characters in the "Foundation" series, but nothing so explict
  2.  (1432.74)
    Like videocrime wrote about, the SF skepticism usually didn't match with the irrational essence of devil. Even Valerio Evangelisti awesome SF series, with the Inquisitor Nicolaus Eymerich as protagonist, don't have a devil well characterized.
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      CommentAuthorvideocrime
    • CommentTimeMar 21st 2008
     (1432.75)
    @collindeplancy : exactly. the hard SF writer is prepared to make logical leaps, not illogical ones. the whole "plausibility" factor is a big part of why SF is an intriguing genre.

    there are some exceptions, as always - I always thought Gibson's personification of the Wintermute/Neuromancer AIs in Neuromancer was much like the Devil tempting Jesus... He offered Case a whole world of his own, with nothing but Linda Lee in it, if only he would give up.

    Maybe not what was intended, but certainly the feeling I got from it.
  3.  (1432.76)
    Pennyman in The Last Coin - all neatness and elegance disguising the corruption and filth
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      CommentAuthorslybyron
    • CommentTimeMar 21st 2008
     (1432.77)
    @videocrime

    One character in Neuromancer even makes the devil/AI comparison explicit; a cop who's holding Case at gunpoint says that "For thousands of years men dreamed of pacts with demons. Only now are such things possible."