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A Case of Conscience July 18, 2011

Posted by Jeff in Uncategorized.
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I was completely derailed by this novel, James Blish’s 1959 winner of the Hugo Award. In an attempt to get the train back on the track and running again, I’m essentially going to skip over this one.

Oh yes, I read the book. Three or four times, in fact. And

completely

failed to understand it.

There is a major religious component to this novel, and being unfamiliar with this subject matter, I strongly disagreed with nearly every premise set forth in it. The major one of these, and I think the main point of the novel, was that morality cannot exist without God. Not so, not so! My own experiences have shown me otherwise. Morality can be defined by a single sentence: Do no harm to others. And my belief is that one does not necessarily need the presence of God to have this principle of morality. It’s a corollary of the Golden Rule: Do unto others, etc. I do not exist in a religious framework, but that does not make me immoral.

Please don’t take this as criticism of  the beliefs of others, I’m just trying to explain, in my limited way, why I have had such trouble with this novel. I understand that others have other views and I respect that, just as I expect others to respect the fact that my views may differ. Does not make me wrong, does not make you wrong. What’s the carmaker’s slogan, “your mileage may vary?”

I tried so very hard to come at this novel with an open mind, but there are just some concepts which my analytical scientist’s mind cannot accept.

Perhaps I just didn’t get it. And that, in my opinion, may make me unqualified to have anything to say about this novel.

And to suit action to word, that is all I have to say about this one. I’m sorry to have to post a “throwaway” entry, but I’m desperate to get this project moving again in a positive direction. It’s been a horrific struggle with this book, but I’ll be back soon, with a bang!

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