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Black Easter by James Blish
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277540,824 (3.81)8
Title:Black Easter
Authors:James Blish
Info:Avon Books (Mm) (1982), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 176 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Tags:Sci Fi

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Black Easter by James Blish



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Having been a long-time fan of science fiction with religious themes, I inevitably got around to this one. I found it...well, a strange book. It's of the era when writers packed their ideas into modestly sized novels instead of exhausting themselves (or the reader) in 700-page "worlds." That said, there were chapters here that begged for some follow-up. It had a strangely disjointed feel that, in retrospect, may well have added to its impact. What if magic were a "real science?" What if there were ground rules and boundaries which both sides honored in the ongoing conflict between the sacred and the satanic? Armageddon precipitated by a straightforward business deal? Hmmm, maybe this isn't science fiction after all... ( )
  bibleblaster | Jan 23, 2016 |
What Dracula and King's Salem's Lot is to vampires, Black Easter is to demons. These days, vampires, witches and wizards are lovable creatures in fiction. There are even neo-Pagans today who embrace a belief in ceremonial magic as benign. Blish says in his Author's Note that every one of the "novels, poems and plays about magic and witchcraft" he's read treat it as "romantic or playful." He sought to write a treatment that "neither romanticizes magic nor treats it as a game." His book is dedicated to C.S. Lewis and even includes an extensive quotation from his Screwtape Letters heading one of the chapters.

So although I'm not sure I'd classify this as out and out Christian fiction, this does come out of that world view and takes the demonic seriously--that's what does make it unusual and at times fascinating. It's obvious not just from his note but the vividness of his details and even the quotes heading chapters Blish did extensive research--actually reading grimoires and manuscripts on ceremonial magic. Blish is best known as a science fiction author, and he gives his magicians a grounding that really makes if feel as rigorous as any science--and it's obviously an allegory for amoral science and its destructive power. The world building in that regard is first class, which is why I'm not rating it lower.

The characters not so much--and the plot feels a bit thin. I never found it scary, nor was scared for the characters, and the ending, which I thought predictable, didn't have much impact upon me. Also, I had read this before--albeit over a decade ago--but it didn't make enough of an impression to really be memorable--thus why I'm not rating it higher. ( )
1 vote LisaMaria_C | Jul 12, 2013 |
A rather bizarre story. The theme of the story does not appeal to me since angels and demons appear to be the imaginations of the mind, which some people actually believe in. The conjuring of non-existent beings is fantasy of a different nature since too many naive people give credence to such concepts. The possibility of a third world war is credible.

The ending is interesting and the author is capable. Regarding the ending, it does not seem logical that the invocation of the third world war equates to a victory for Satan. There is no discussion of a battle between angels and demons. There is only a statement that "God is dead." This seems illogical, if one assumes that God, angels, and demons exist.

And the point of the story is what? ( )
  GlennBell | Dec 14, 2012 |
How can you dislike a book that drives you to the dictionary and has such a great ending? ( )
  JayDugger | Nov 1, 2007 |
Supremely scary fantasy about the conjuring up of Satan in the modern world, the holy men who try to mitigate the conjuring, and the unexpected result. Great ending. I own the sequel, but I have not read it because this one ends so well. ( )
1 vote mritchie56 | Oct 27, 2007 |
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Why, this is Hell; nor am I out of it. - Christopher Marlowe
In memoriam C. S. Lewis
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Copies of Black Easter which also include The Day After Judgement belong with The Devil's Day: A name given to other editions of this Omnibus.
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