Gaia is the word for "unity-of-life-processes". The experiment here is to unify the various threads of voice and sense of self together into an undivided unity. Spirituality, economics, politics, science and ordinary life interleaved.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Moral transformation in science fiction novels:

This is the climax of ‘Ender’s Shadow’ for me: on page 324. Bean is talking to his brother and fellow soldier Nikolai before he departs for Command training:


“I’m sorry I didn’t join your squad, Bean.”

“You were right,” said Bean. “I asked you because you were my friend, and I thought I needed a friend, but I should have been a friend too, and seen what YOU needed.”

“I’ll never let you down again.”

Bean threw his arms around Nikolai. Nikolai hugged him back.

Bean remembered when he left Earth. Hugging Sister Carlotta. Analyzing. This is what she needs. It costs me nothing. Therefore I’ll give her the hug.

I’m not a kid anymore.


The symmetry of Bean and Ender is made complete on page 320 is made explicit here, as Ender enters a calculating zone of murderous psychosis as he conducts the war, Bean’s moral transformation is complete. Ender, whose principles had been the source of meaning for Bean, has been internalised in Bean as a kind of moralising softness of heart. The soft-hearted Poke that he helps at the novel's opening and the great-hearted Sister Carlotta who is his mentor, both find their apotheosis in his moral flowering in this magnificent and moving passage.

This passage moved me to tears.


Post a Comment

<< Home

follow me on Twitter