Monday, January 25, 2010

Imager, by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

Imager: Book One of the Imager Portfolio, by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

L.E. Modesitt is one of my favorite authors. I saw this first book of a new series by him and snapped it up. It follows Modesitt’s usual formula of following a promising young acolyte through his magical training, gaining friends and enemies along the way. While the story is repetitive, though, the insights and discussions of the surrounding society is the main attraction. For instance, a student, when considering the problem of if there can be an omnipotent, beneficent, and just god, writes, “If there is an all-powerful god, nothing is beyond that god’s power. If that god is beneficent, then there will be no evil in the world. If that god is just, the god will not allow injustice to befall the good and the innocent. Yet there is great evil in the world, and much of it falls upon the just and the innocent. A just god would prohibit or limit injustice, at least against the innocent, but injustice continues, so that if such a god is omnipotent, that god cannot be just. Therefore, if there is a god, that god cannot be omnipotent, beneficent, and just.” The instructor, when examining this answer makes the observation, “We take for granted certain beliefs or truths. Other cultures take for granted other truths. According to our truths, their behavior is not right, and according to their truths, our behavior is not right.” I find this a fascinating exploration of not only religion, but of open-mindedness.

Modesitt’s normal humor is on display here as well, with such gems as, “Professional interrogators should study mothers;” and, “Everyone has rules; but yours are always wrong.” A good story, interesting characters, and great social analysis; I look forward to the next installment.

First Sentence:
The bell announcing dinner rang twice, just twice, and no more, for it never did.

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