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Prosper's Demon by K. J. Parker

Prosper's Demon (edition 2020)

by K. J. Parker (Author)

Series: Prosper's Demon (1)

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1798122,897 (3.84)7
Title:Prosper's Demon
Authors:K. J. Parker (Author)
Info:Tordotcom (2020), 106 pages
Collections:Your library

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Prosper's Demon by K. J. Parker


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» See also 7 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
El libro es un solido 3.
Ese final se merece la ultima estrella.
( )
  MissAlandra | Jan 17, 2022 |
A demon hunter's arch rival possesses someone he really, really shouldn't have... Very clever twist at the end! (Also an odd obsession with 60%?) ( )
  books-n-pickles | Oct 29, 2021 |
Demons are bad, but exorcists are almost as bad since it can be very harmful, even deadly, to remove a reluctant demon. Even though demons are immortal they take damage and feel pain when being ousted from a host. Then there's the complication that the demon can enter the exorcist and commit outrages. And the demons seem to be smarter and a pair have chosen hosts that it would be disastrous to damage. ( )
  quondame | Aug 9, 2021 |
“It’s a bizarre but widespread myth that only heroes have good qualities, and the only qualities heroes have are good; villains are, by definition, all bad. Bullshit.”

In “Prosper’s Demon” by K. J. Parker

Actually many writers and others who went through that experience in WW1 and WW2, though they may have believed in good and evil, did not end up believing in wholly good or evil people - a very different thing. They had, remember, seen their own friends, on the "right" side, driven by war into behaving badly too. Try listening to Georges Brassens' song "La Tondue". He'd escaped from a German labour camp, been hiding out for months and returned to Paris, at the end of WW2, just in time to see the victorious goodies shaving the heads of young women who'd "collaborated" with the enemy. What it did for him was give him a belief that given the chance, most good people could act like bastards. A friend of mine whose grandfather served in the Spanish Civil War convoys, held much the same view. He had a story of picking up Republicans’ survivors only to find that as fast as they were hauling them out of the water on one side of the ship, some Norwegian sailors they were also carrying were knocking them on the head and chucking them off the other. He wasn't horrified by this, having seen how they'd suffered under the occupation; it just went to confirm his view. Really, this goes back to Euripides. In “Hekabe” he shows a noble queen, morally unhinged by unbearable grief, killing two young children in front of their father. What she does is evil, but she is not, intrinsically, evil; she has the potential to be both good and evil as do most of us, and any literature whether for adults or children that fails to acknowledge that would be a bit two-dimensional. What does acknowledge it, from Pullman to K. J. Parker, makes us think and stays with us far longer. “Prosper’s Demon” and Fairy tales like the Grimm Brothers' can be dismissed as being simply and reductively about good and evil--but only the narrowest of readings achieves this summation. What does a good, uncivilized folk-tale teach? Freud knew that it taught that the 'unheimlich' unreality of causal logic, the ambivalent power of wishes, and the brutalities of 'justice' reflected the '(un)heimlich' home life. Is the perilous world of the un-rational unknown a fantasy that can be dismissed once we've achieved rational materialism, or is our faith that human interests are reducible simply the product of another set of modern, reassuring fairy tales about the triumph of science and the transparency of market behaviors?

What Parker does here is taking this concept to another level. We find it unimaginable to 'not exist' (if we’re possessed by a demon do we exist?), despite all the evidence that one day, we will cease to exist. The human mind is incapable of grasping this, yet religion is easy to grasp. It gives comfort. Satan, as a fallen angel, has been given many guises by man - who invented the concept. The most common is that Satan is the root of all evil, of deviance, of despicable acts. The less common is that Satan is a challenger to God, that he represent freedom - why shouldn't man be able to eat that apple? These constructs are the embodiment of man’s own struggle with emotions. If we take the idea of eternal life out of the equation, if we accept this life we have is all we have and when we die, we are gone forever, then religion falls apart. This is rational thinking. It is neither comforting nor non-comforting. It is based on the evidence we have. It is based on centuries of scientific discovery. Rational thinking is the way forward. To accept we are animals on this planet. The comfort in this, is that we won't know, because we will cease to exist. In a nutshell, you have proven my point that mankind is incapable of imagining not existing. I'm not talking about a generic 'humanity as a whole' concept, I'm talking about a deeply personal individual perception. Try to imagine not existing. It is impossible. The moment you try to imagine yourself in that position, you have failed at imagining it. The big deal about existence after death is what religion is based upon, because it is a very big deal. So many of us want to continue, or want another shot - it is far more comforting. It is also comforting that loved ones that have passed may be met again. It is probably the biggest deal we will ever face - in fact, it is the biggest deal. It doesn't get much bigger than life and death, does it?

I have spent so much of my thoughts on this matter since my teenage years and this is about the best conclusion I could reach. It is borne out of age and experience. Religion can be a good thing. Reading Parker is also a good thing if you're into top-notch SF.

SF = Speculative Fiction. ( )
  antao | Dec 17, 2020 |

Thoroughly entertaining. ( )
  Jonez | Oct 8, 2020 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
K. J. Parkerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Foltzer, ChristineCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weber, SamCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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