This is not directly related to Heathenism, but I felt that some of our readers might enjoy hearing about the incredibly aewsome Sci-Fi series I’m reading now.
The series is written by S. M. Stirling, whose works have been slowly working their way onto my favorites list for a while now.
The first books of his I read were the Falkenberg’s Legion Series, co-authored with Jerry Pournelle. They’re hard core military science fiction centered around a mercenary force hired to train and set up the army of the newly settled planet Sparta. I first discovered these when I was living in Brazil. There was a great big multi-lingual used bookstore in the city that was well stocked with military sci-fi and I’ve been hooked ever since.
The next books of Stirling’s I read were the Draka Series. These are more in the alternate history/military sci-fi genre, chronicling the takeover of the world by a race of Nietzchean supermen from South Africa. Inevitable comparisons to the Nazis are subverted only by having the Draka kick Nazi ass and enslave the entirety of Europe, as well as Asia and Africa.
Most recently I enjoyed reading his Nantucket Series, exploring the adventures of a small population of Americans who find themselves unexpectedly transported back to the year 1250 B.C.E. That’s a really fun one, filled with Indo-Europeans, Homeric Greeks, Egyptians and Babylonians running every which way.
But now I’ve starting reading a series from S. M. Stirling that I just had to share with you all. This is the Emberverse Series, which asks the question “What would happen if guns, bombs and electricity all just suddenly stopped working…for ever?”
Well, if you answered “it would be chaos and lots of people would die”, then give yourself a cookie. (Or don’t, if you’ve been following or nutrition posts.)
But there’s more! Some people would survive (and this is where it really gets fun!) and maybe some of those in the best position to survive would be the ones with skills applicable to surviving in a world without advanced technology. Ex-military, martial artists, hunters, horse wranglers, Wiccans, organic farmers, medieval re-enactors, living history types…wait, what, back up. WICCANS? You expect me to believe that WICCANS would be the people most likely to survive a technological Apocalypse?
Yeah, well, it makes some sense if you think about it. There’s a fair degree of crossover between Neo-Paganism, organic farming and the whole re-enactment/living-history vibe. If our hypothetical Wiccans were lucky enough to team up with a few hunters and ex-military types early on, they just might have what it takes.
Now, I grant you, this whole series would be made a whole lot more realistic if the primary protagonists had been Heathens and not Wiccans. (Everybody knows that Heathens are the hardcore survivalists and that Wiccans are just a bunch of tie-dyed hippies.) But from a mass market publication, I think we can understand that that may have been expecting too much. We almost get there, anyway, as the Wiccans’ strongest allies end up being a bunch of bear-skin wearing mercenaries with a Tolkien fetish.
Believability is not really the primary factor here, anyway. These books are fun! Particularly if you’re anything of a history buff and have ever wondered “wouldn’t it be great if we could all go back to fighting with swords and spears and arrows?” Well, here you have it. There’s plenty of good, gritty medieval combat action. There’s plenty of singing, home-brewing and old school country cooking. There are plenty of references to magic and mythology that fit in perfectly with the context of the story, without too much blurring of the line between fantasy and sci-fi.
I’m only on book two of the series, but so far I rate Emberverse two-thumbs-up. Start with Dies the Fire.
P.S. The primary action of this series is set around Portland and Oregon, which may or may not make this extra fun for certain individuals.