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Readings and Ramblings

This is Readings and Ramblings. It is readings because this is a site for blogging about books and I intend to do that. It is ramblings because I might want to write about something else now and then.

Passage - Lois McMaster Bujold I generally prefer science fiction to fantasy because as a philosophical materialist I am perpetually exasperated by the idealist propensity to take the supernatural seriously. Nevertheless, I do like fantasy because it usually makes no pretense that the integral supernatural aspects of it are anything but make-believe. Occult and rreligious works, though, which try to pass off the supernatural as real are exasperating indeed. This book is a fantasy that has an aspect to it that I as a philosophical materialist, do like. First, within the context of the story the supernatural is regarded as a part of the natural world. The supernatural is, of course, a necessary part of fantasy, but most fantasy novels present it as something apart and above the natural world or else the entire story takes place in a supernatural world that is apart from the natural world itself. That is not so in this one. Second, the main character has supernatural powers. That is to be expected in a fantasy novel, but, again, these supernatural powers are part of the natural order of things andsubject to scientific investigation. That is the best part of the novel. The main character wants to find out the extent and basis of his powers and proceeds to experiment to find out. Terminology like science and experimentation are not used, but anyone familiar with the scientific method will see that that is what he is doing. This means that even though supernatural forces are at play, a materialist world view is being championed. That is rare in fantasy.