Word Patriots – James Morrow, Satirist and Novelist of Ideas
My guest this week on Word Patriots is James Morrow. Morrow is a wry and trenchant satirist in the tradition of Swift, Voltaire, Heller and Vonnegut. The Denver Post has hailed him as Christianity’s Salman Rushdie, only funnier and more sacrilegious. He has won Nebula and World Fantasy Awards and been nominated for both the Hugo and Locus Fantasy Awards. He is the author of three short story collections and eleven novels including the acclaimed The Godhead Trilogy: “Towing Jehovah,” “Blameless in Abaddon,” and “The Eternal Footman.” His other novels include “The Last Witchfinder” (2006) which he sees “as a qualified defense of the 18th-century Enlightenment” and “Shambling Towards Hiroshima” (2009), a parable of the dawn of the nuclear era which also celebrates the halcyon pleasures of monster movies. “Towing Jehovah” begins with the archangel Raphael announcing the death of God and the toppling of His corpse into the sea to disgraced supertanker captain Anthony Van Horne, who is wracked with ecological guilt due to an oil spill he failed to prevent while captaining the Carpco Valparaiso. In short order Van Horne finds himself again at the helm of that ill-fated vessel, dispatched on a secret mission by the Vatican to tow the Divine Corpse—a two-mile long white male with a gray beard and smiling face—to a tomb carved by the angels, prior to their also expiring out of divine empathy, in the Arctic ice. Meanwhile, in an extended subplot, a group of committed atheists plan on destroying God’s body as the existence of the corpse proves their mechanistic view of the universe to be in error. The novel ponders questions of ethics and morality in a post-theistic world as do it its two sequels. Today Jim and I discuss, among other things, if the concept of God will continue to haunt us as a species, the importance of realism in fantasy, and the provocative idea that books beget other books (albeit with unwitting human assistance). If you would like to know more about my books, please visit my website: www.markseinfelt.com. Also be sure to take a look at Morrow’s webpage: http://www.sff.net/people/jim.morrow/.