rogerdr (rogerdr) wrote,

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Calling of the Amnewor

There's a part in Delany's Flight From Nevèrÿon where a group of secondary characters from other stories gather in a secret place to call upon a god of death to release their friends from a plague that is ravaging the city. Many things about this scene are meant to make the reader aware of its actors as secondary, while their activities obviously become the central crux of the "Tale of Plagues and Carnivals". Gorgik the Liberator, the series' central figure, is not only not in attendance, it is in apparent opposition to the carnivals and official celebrations in his honor that this ceremony is taking place. Of the characters who have accompanied Gorgik through the series, only his one time lover has an important place in the activities, and that posthumously. The irony here isn't necessarily in the elevation of the characters themselves, but that this "looking at the story from behind", which is common in the Nevèrÿon series, has thus itself become the "front" of the narrative. Regardless, the characters fall back into secondary status when the tale is over, their futures being completely lost except for a sketch that Delany leaves unfinished, and the ceremony is itself a failure by the MC's own admission. The plague (ancient allegory for AIDS) goes on unabated and largely misunderstood.

Why do I bring this up? Why did Delany? Because I think it illustrates well how we-the-powerless have come to react to the great undeniable public evils. We have stopped storming the halls of government or even marching in the streets of the capitols. In a world where the masters speak as if all the death and destruction we see is only a sign that their plans are working for our benefit; in a world where the criminally insane, by ones or dozens, can explode themselves onto the scenes of any happy occasion they wish; in a world where the traditional symbols of love and law are usurped by those dilitantes and murderers; we can no longer gather in public and speak with words that gave our parents comfort from such dangers because it is that public identity that has been most perverted and stolen from us. We, the secondary characters, in order to find what comfort we can, must do it here in private, divided by glowing screens and keyboards, calling on the magic of new, though no less mysterious, gods. For us, Amnewor is the god of the blogosphere, and it is to that which we pray for deliverance.

But what happens when we turn off our computers and go back to "real" life?
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