Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Marcher Lord Press 3: Nobody expects the Elvish Disquisition!

Have you noticed that hardly anyone really writes about vampires these days?

I know, I know: "Hey, I was expecting some kind of Elvish Disquisition, here."

That's the point, friend: Nobody expects the Elvish Disquisition--or the Vampiric Inquisition (run, of course, by Cardinal Fang).

So there.

Anyway--I'll be dealing with horror again this Halloween season, just as I did last year. But yesterday I mentioned that The Personifid Invasion from Jeff Gerke's new print-on-demand publishing house, Marcher Lord Press (hereafter MLP), deals with the nature of humanity and other matters of life and death. But these days we (Christians included) often like to be fuzzy about when biological life begins and ends. Is it any wonder that we embrace the idea of "undead "beings while denying the classical theology back of them--that they're demonically animated corpses?

We dislike the idea that they're demonic (in the proper, not Hollywood, sense) because it makes them less human and sexy, which is as it should be. But we also dislike the idea that they're damned. Nobody's really damned anymore; it's old-fashioned. So we keep trying to give these corpses redeemable souls. And it is this that leads unexpectedly to a kind of Elvish Disquisition.

Nobody expects the Elvish Disquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and enchanted blades. Our three weapons are fear and surprise and enchanted blades...and nice pointy ears. Our Amongst our weapons.... Amongst our weaponry are such elements as fear.... I'll come in again.

While we're waiting, MLP's Summa Elvetica: A Casuistry of the Elvish Controversy by Theodore Beale also deals with the topic of redeemable souls: specifically, whether Elves and other such creatures have them.

You see, Summa Elvetica actually bothers to put the most important medieval institution (the Catholic church, or something like it, anyway) in a standard quasi-medieval fantasy setting to see how well they get along. There are some oddities: apparently this is a world where the Roman Empire hasn't fallen. The main city is called "Amorr," which, for the terminally thick, is "Roma" (Rome) more or less backward, as well as the Latin word for "love" with an extra r.

A young scholar is called in to join a pair of geezers--uh, established scholars--to figure out whether elves actually have souls in the sense that they are proper targets for door-to-door evangelism. This is important for several reasons, because it will let the scholars publish a vital essay on the whole thing, and "Publish or be damned" takes on a whole new meaning when you're working for the Church. Also, if the average elf does have soul and tests positive for rhythm, R&B could take a whole new direction.

But to return to the earlier point, it matters whether any given being can be saved, but we tend to trivialize the question, even in speculative fiction. Much of the Christian speculative fiction either assumes that another world would work exactly like our own (boring, perhaps, but both safe and reasonable) or allows oddball variations on standard soteriology (exciting, perhaps, but both unsafe and unreasonable). How would salvation work for a multiple-species scenario? Would elves have their own Incarnation, or would they somehow use ours? These are weighty questions, and I'll return to them when I do a full review of Summa Elvetica in the near future.

But for now I'll conclude. I apologize for the length of the post. Despite the title, I'm sure nobody expected the Elvish Disquisition.

Nobody expects... Oh, Baggins!

Well, let's see what everyone else on the CSFF tour has to say...
Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Kathy Brasby
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Janey DeMeo
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Kameron M. Franklin
Andrea Graham
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Timothy Hicks
Joleen Howell
Jason Joyner
Tina Kulesa
Mike Lynch
Terri Main
Shannon McNear
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Ashley Rutherford
Hanna Sandvig
Mirtika or Mir's Here
Greg Slade
James Somers
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespac
Laura Williams
Timothy Wise



(laughing) Monty Python joins the quest!

Thanks for the laughs.

Dang it. Now I have to go to work.

Andrea Graham said...

Tag, you're it.

Oh the indignity of it all . . .

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