Saturday, April 24, 2010

Family in Books: Oath of Fealty and Irreligion

Elizabeth Moon writes fantasy and science fiction of the competence-porn variety; her characters tend to spend pages developing skills and rewarding competence. It grounds even her fluffier books with a strong sense of reality, whether the characters are rich clowns in space or sheep farmers turned fighters in a D&D style landscape. Her Deed of Paksennarrion is the sheep farmer story, infused with the sense that Moon probably does know how to train up recruits into an effective mercenary force.

Now, twenty years later, Moon wrote Oath of Fealty, which returns to the world of Paksenarrion to see what happens next. She has broadened her focus; instead of mainly staying with Paks on her journey from farmer to paladin, she hops about following the friends and comrades whose lives changed because of Paks's ascension. This is good, because Paks isn't as interesting now that she is minor god Gird's BFF. But Duke Phelan, Captains Arcolin and Dorrin, and Sergeant Stammall all get their own plot threads, spread across the world that Paks wandered through. It's not a complete book; most of the threads only pause at the end, but I'm willing to wait for the rest. Moon's strength is in the multi-sensory descriptions which she works into her text, making the lives of her characters real and important.

I'm sure Elizabeth Moon would be astonished to hear that she is my Doppleganger, but it is true. A double dopple -- we share both initials and a name. So I score another Take a Chance Challenge, as well as a tick of my self-imposed Spring Challenge. Go me!

I noticed that I can round my family out with dopplegangers. I already finished Gift of the Unmage, and I plucked Irreligion, by John Allen Paulos from the library recommended shelf because of its dopplegangerish properties. It's a short book by a mathematician that reviews the common logical proofs for the existence of God, and shows the illogic in each of them. It's a fun book from a logical point of view. I think that belief in God should never rest on logic but on faith, so I don't see it convincing anyone away from their religion, but maybe it will shorten some unwanted conversion discussions.


Jenners said...

Your doppelganger sure seems to write some out there books! Rich clowns in space? ; )

Beth said...

Well, not literally clowns. Irresponsible and fickle types with much more money than sense.