Monday, April 08, 2013

Michael Moorcock "The City In The Autumn Stars"

I have just finished the book City Of The Autumn Stars written by Michael Moorcock.

In a way this is a sequel to "The War Hound and the world's pain".

In this book there are many layers, so many multifaceted characters, the main theme of the book is man always dealing with the boundaries of fanaticism regarding one kind of belief: religious faith, political faith, moral and ethics. I see that Moorcock wrote this book as he said "briefly and for entertainment" but it is hard to put the plot in the backyards of your conscience after reading it.

The books starts dealing with the French Revolution and at the dawn of a century where mankind is transitioning from the dark age to a new age of science and reasoning. At the same time it seems man is still not tolerating well the different, the disagreement.

As the book progresses Manfred, a natural atheist , man of reason and science is confronted with the lust of a real strong and HOT woman that turns his view towards life. Then we have lots of companions that seem to share respect for friendship and tolerance. And a lot of praise for the steam technology which would guide the early 19th Century.

Besides that we have the supernatural and religious aspects. With all due respect I think Moorcock despite clearly fighting for the free will of man, without the need of a God, I believe he did chose to refuse the evil, that he calls it the "beast", which is the essence of the what the devil is for religion, although this has been misinterpreted by those who read the Bible literally not trying to give it bunch of literary meaning. Devil worshipers are not different from nazis or killers and the essence of their evil is human not supernatural. I think despite that Moorcock clearly admits him self to be an Atheist he is not attacking the meaning of a God, which is essentially a meaning that has been twisted by the acts of man and his misuse of God's will.

So, if you show this book to a blind religious person he will definitely think about "devil" in the terms of the religion that hits the regular people these days: Good x evil, and no thoughts given to the complex meaning. In a way, this is not a book about devil worshipers and it is clearly a book about freedom, choices between the right and wrong.

As a religious person I did not feel threaten by the book or scared by the references to Lucifer, after all this is fictional work. I am not sure if I did read it well enough at this point.

And  that journey from 18th century Europe to the wonderous setting of Mittlemarch/Mirenburg is quite amazing as well as the descriptions of that ancient, dark city with so good characters, which obviously influenced the fictional cities of Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore or Jeff Vandermeer.

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