The Evangelical Universalist Forum

This might be a stretch


#1

Here is a link to a very strange fantasy story, full of symbols and religious themes.
If you like a walk through strange climates of the imagination, you might enjoy it - and then explain it to me. :wink: I found it very enjoyable.

marclaidlaw.com/online-fiction/jane/


#2

Well, I’m not sure about that story. But the blog author also has this :

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (Now with Extra Monsters)i

Let me first call in the “extras”. Perhaps some from the tribulation and the Zombie Apocalypse?

There. That’s better. After all, isn’t Frankenstein’s monster, just a manufactured zombie :question: :laughing:


#3

Note: the story has nothing to do with Zombies.


#4

Well, it’s a very good story but I, like you, have no idea. Too bad [tag]Sobornost[/tag] isn’t around. He’d have ideas if anyone would.


#5

I’m pretty sure there is a backstory that would put some of the strangeness into focus. Not having that, it’s kind of fun thinking what it might be.

The author also worked on video games, Half-Life and Half-Life 2, and others - maybe the background is there. I’ll see if [tag]jasonpratt[/tag] may have heard of the games.


#6

If you Google “Jane Marc Laidlaw”, you come to this analysis:

The ED SF Project

Remember. Analyzing a story as literature is like analyzing the Bible as literature. You will find different opinions - from literary critics. Like here from the 2 Daves, Paidion, Cindy, Jason, etc. Or on the outside, from RC, EO, and Protestant churches and theologians. Take the opinions of those - that resonate with you… I usually side with the Eastern Orthodox critics. With some tidbits of the Calvinist, Got Questions site - throw in as appetizers. :slight_smile:

Here’s a good article, I read in Guideposts today:

Pray According to God’s Ability, Not Yours


#7

Thanks Randy. Ellen Datlow and Terry Winding have been publishing the Year’s Best SF and Fantasy collection for years now; some years are better than others - the one I read ‘Jane’ in was Fantasy Best of the Year 2006 and has some wonderful stories in it.


#8

He appears to be a fine author, Dave. I do watch my share, of Science Fiction and Fantasy shows and movies. Whether it’s AMC’s The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead. Or the new Fox revision, of the X-Files. The CW superhero shows, like Flash and Black Lightning. Or the up and coming, Black Panther movie. I’ll have to check out, the stories you mentioned - to read.


#9

It’s the only story I’ve read by that author.

From the 17th Annual Year’s Best Fantasy, here is kindler and gentler tale by Kij Johnson, which I may have shared previously.

I like small, polished gems of stories. This is one:

kijjohnson.com/river-of-bees.html


#10

I’ve heard of the Half-Life games, and played all the way through the first one. (I never did finish the second one.) They’re sssuuuuuuuuuper-influential works which revitalized and renovated the map designs and playability of “first-person shooters” (for each generation of the games). It’s hard to underestimate their importance in the genre, but also hard to describe it to people not well-versed in FPS games. (For example, “Counterstrike” was a ludicrously popular free modification to the core HL game, pitting multiplayers teamed against each other as soldiers and terrorists. This became hugely influential in itself. And now that I’ve mentioned this, it means practically nothing to 99 percent of humanity. Nor should it. :laughing: )

A direct result of the deveropers, Valve, making those games, especially HL2, was Valve’s entry into, and eventual domination of, the burgeoning downloadable game purchase market: Valve’s “Steam” platform (see, because valves release steam), is currently the premier way to buy video games for personal computers (whether Windows, Mac, or Linux), almost but not quite a monopoly.

The religious symbolism of the Half Life games is pretty subtle, though, so far as I recall: as in, I don’t personally recall any. :laughing: The first game is more of an homage to Stephen King’s “The Mist”. You play Gordon Freeman (who looks a lot like me except far-sighted :wink: ), a high ranking lab tech at a secret high-energy physics research base under “Black Mesa” (Arizona, I think). Originally for the genre, you spend the first twenty minutes or so of the game simply going-to-work, traveling by foot and tram through the research base, and then participating in the HEP experiment which, going horribly right, thins reality in and around Black Mesa so that the minions of an ancient elder god-alien thing can start bleeding through. With havoc wrecked on the base, Gordon struggles first to simply escape, helping (often failing to help) other scientists and security guards along the way; then struggling to avoid or fight a governmental special force brigade sent in to contain the situation; eventually latching onto a plan to recreate the original experiment and counter-invade the geometrically twisted hellscape dimension to confront the overboss and stop the invasion.

Oh, and there are hints that the devil may have organized this whole affair for his own purposes. :smiling_imp:

HL was one of the first truly narrative-designed FPS games (not entirely the first, there were some notable predecessors), and byyyyyy farrrrrr the best selling of the first such games, largely thanks to being the first such game to make use of then-cutting-edge high definition graphics (prior games still being rather pixellated in visual resolution). The large and diverse areas through which Freeman (symbolism!) travels, are designed as anecdotes within short stories within stories within a larger novel or serial. This revolutionized FPS design (even though this game didn’t originate such design, even among FPSes, and some other action games had been doing that for at least a decade prior, such as the Castlevania side-scrolling games on console.)

HL2 jumped on the next advance of personal computing graphics, but otherwise didn’t innovate nearly as much: it just served as a prime example of the field which HL itself had successfully colonized (pardon the mixed metaphor).

Anyway, now those who don’t know about Half-Life have a little context for a HL writer being a topic of the discussion. :slight_smile:


#11

A whole new world to me; thanks JP.


#12

I loved HL. There’s a mod for HL2 that lets you play the original game but updated with HL2 graphics. I got about halfway through it.

Jason’s summary of HL was enjoyable too. :slight_smile:


#13

Qaz - don’t know if you had time to read ‘Jane’ or not - but is there anything in HL that might help me understand the story - like, is it in a medieval setting, or is it an alternate universe, was there a religion in it - anything like that?
Thanks