When you finish a book in one day although the rest of the series, all about the same length, has taken you two days apiece…does that make this book more enjoyable or say that I was able to carve out more time to read? Probably the latter in this case. Last week at work I had less time to read because of the holiday + summer hours. And then the weekend was busy. Plus add in the fact of my side projects that can only be done at home and I haven’t wanted to take time away from those when possible. (Tonight’s just not happening on a big scale because I had a number of chores to do that ate up time and now I don’t have a nice big chunk to sit down and project.)
Anyway, I finished Sanctuary, the third Dragon Jousters book. All throughout the series there’s been a war between Tia and Alta going on in the background. It is directly responsible for several events and character actions, but it isn’t until Sanctuary that the main characters begin to do something with the war. There’s a couple plot points that a reader can guess. One is spoiled quite plainly in the epilogue of Alta, leading me to believe that Sanctuary may not have been planned from the start, and the other, well, the other can be guessed by putting together disparate pieces of information from the books as well as the history, myth, and legend that these books are based on.
But that’s not what I want to talk about.
I want to talk about something that Mercedes Lackey fears. Now, I don’t know if this is something she’s actually admitted to fearing, but it’s shown up in quite a number of her books, to the point where I’ve noticed it. Lackey observes that yes, you can lose your body to injury or illness. Yes, you can lose your heart to love and losing love. But one of the most evil acts in any world she’s written is to lose your very soul, to have it consumed by greed and evil. Not simply to become evil in and of yourself, but to destroy another person, to make them into a hollow shell that is little more alive than a robot for no personality inhabits it any longer.
Lackey’s depicted this fate via magic, via psychic abilities, even via government reeducation facilities. And don’t think it isn’t scary just because magic and the like isn’t real. As the author herself once wrote: “Anybody can tear another person limb from limb. It just takes…a lot less effort [with magic].” I may be paraphrasing that a bit because I’m not about to go look up a line that is from a trilogy and I can’t remember which one of the three. But the sentiment remains the same. The world and the people in it don’t need special powers to destroy the souls of others. There are myriad ways to do it with the tools we already have.
Some of these methods were practiced during World War II.
Jews say of the Holocaust “never again.” Never again will we permit someone to exterminate our people like insects. Never again will we stand idly by while our brothers, sisters and cousins are rounded up and taken away. Never again will we permit such a dictator to stay in power.
Hate to say it, but it’s relevant and it’s scary. I heard about the people kicked out of Chicago’s Pride Parade for “being Zionists.” But it’s really because the people doing the kicking were Anti-Semites. There’s all these stereotypes about Jews, including Jews with money, but really, that’s not a huge percentage of wealthy people. After all, there’s never been a President in this country who wasn’t some form of Christian. And with a bigot in power, there’s been a sharp rise in hate crimes against all groups that aren’t male, aren’t gender normative, aren’t white, aren’t Christian. It’s scary. It’s even scarier to think how many people are brainwashing themselves into supporting it out of fear of being labelled “different.”
That’s the scariest part of Lackey’s fear. We can do it to ourselves.