Copied from Poul Anderson Appreciation, 4 July 2014.
See previous posts.
some later Terran invaders of Avalon, Olga Berg is dying of hell shrub
poisoning, although Pete and his Ythrian companions do not yet know the
cause. Pete leaves the camp so that he can be alone when he screams at
"'Why did You do this to her, why did You do it?'"
-Poul Anderson, "The Problem of Pain" IN Anderson, The Earth Book Of Stormgate (New York, 1979), pp. 26-48 AT p. 44.
kneeling for an hour, he is able to say, "Your will be done," (p. 45)
and return. Like an Ythrian, he has fought with and honored God,
although Pete would not see it like that.
"Israel" means "he struggled with God"?
"Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay
"to mould me man? Did I solicit thee
"From darkness to promote me? -"
(Adam in Paradise Lost, quoted by Frankenstein's Monster.)
"Lord who made me as I am,
"Would it upset some divine plan,
"If I were a wealthy man?"
(Fiddler On The Roof, from memory.)
I ask similar questions although I cannot address them to a personal Creator.
the death of Arrach, the crippling of Enherrian and Olga's mortal
illness, the climax of "The Problem of Pain" is reached when Pete
returns to the camp. He had sedated Olga so that she would sleep
peacefully till death. Instead, he finds her awake and in extreme pain
and a second injection has little effect. He must hold her till she
"...it was like seeing a light blown out." (p. 45)
says it is well that she is fallen. Thinking that Pete had
miscalculated, he gave her a stim shot. Enherrian honors both Pete and
Olga too much to deny Olga her deathpride. Did Pete not want her "'...to
give God a battle?'" (p. 46)