domingo, 22 de febrero de 2015


I was checking some things of late and one of my pet peeves resurfaced.

You see, I love the works of David Weber, of Elisabeth Moon, of John Ringo. Of many others, but I'm going to use them as an example. Also, bear in mind that I'm a Spaniard. Religion is way different, here, even when mainstream. Ib est, Roman Catholic. No other "mainstream". That alone explains a lot (so do the Reconquista, the Crusades, or the fact that the Spanish Inquisition was the best someone accused of witchcraft could hope for, back then, or...).

My point is that I haven't read a single believable conversion... ever? Can't recall, for sure. Again, some of it is that religion is much more private, usually, here. Even in family. We've seen what certain arguments lead to, and... we keep to ourselves. Mostly. Banners and ads on buses are... weird, for us, and so are religious TV stations... OTOH, the Catholic church has several privileges that, sometimes, the other congregations manage to reach (slots on TV, tax incentives...).

Anyhow... I was saying that I can't find believable conversions. Paksenarrion's, or Bahzell's, or... even John Ringo's Queen of Wands, while sort of ecumenical (with a very wide definition of that term) resorts to use the same kind of "magic wand" conversion... with a whole nation, instead of an individual. The only atheist I've seen of late that has more than a token presence is Brad Torgersen's (AFAIK, devout Christian himself), and he manages it by shunting him aside from the religious experience. Then... there's a conversion in one of those stories, and it IS painful.

Paks and Bahzell? They trade their faith. Or, rather, their god buys their service.

Now, I understand that conversion is difficult to write, specially if you've never been through it. It changes your entire worldview, your sense of self... How can you explain what was before, what was during, from after the fact? Okay, they're difficult. But then, don't write them, wave a wand, and pretend that I have to believe that people in fantasy settings with day-to-day evidence of gods go from "no, really not my thing" to fucking paladins in a handful of pages.

Then you have D&D-religion and teams. Some people blame Tolkien for the modern Fantasy novel. While he was the spark, I think the blame is Dungeons. Because there's a hefty difference between the epic sagas of Tolkien, G. R. R. Martin, Jordan... and the icosahedron of deities and alignments that spans hundreds of stories and books. There's seldom a fantasy world with monotheistic religions, and yet, those systems manage to hold many opposing polytheistic beliefs. For millennia.

In fantasy? Opposing light/dark pantheons (sometimes with a middle-ground, sometimes not) of more or less joint gods. Bronze-age wars dressed in middle ages fervour and technology.

Who manages to do something about religious wars without resorting to that? Why is it that Eric Flint's name, socialist, comes first to my mind? Mother of Demons, mainly, but, of course, his Ring of Fire series, too (although he's "cheating", there, the way he uses, well, real wars of religion... and late XXth century US-American ideas of religious freedom).

And don't get me started into adventuring... sorry... into travel parties. Mage, warrior, thief and healer; the later sometimes meshed with the earlier ones.


Take care.

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