Just as conscious of this intent when he tells the Lady Arabella Underwood, " I have killed, ma'am, as always, with love. This time it was a system."
The power of faith? Or the power of psychosocial engineering? It is hard to tell where one begins and the other leaves off.
It should also be noted that the under-people achieve salvation, not merely by being "converted" to Christianity, but by the definitive act involved in their martyrdom: they have demonstrated their right to be considered human by Wing - and dying - for an ideal'. It is this that creates the historical impact of the manufactured myth of D'Joan, and the con-spirators seem conscious of this as well.
Dr. Linebarger seemed to recognize the distinction between these two approaches to religion in his works even the E'telekeli points out to McBan, "We're not ending time (e.i., bringing on the Second Coming or whatever other conception Dr. Linebarger had of the final destiny of true men and under-people). We are just altering the material conditions of man's situation for the present historical period."
But at times, the two viewpoints clashed. In the Casher O'Neill storiest O'Neill infuses the wind people of Henriada with his desire, so that they may be able to make something of themselves - yet in the end, he himself accepts a philosophy of resignation: the conception of "vitality" favoured by Dr. Linebarger and the submissive virtues of the Christian ethical system could not be reconciled. And in 'Alpha Ralpha Boulevard' the theme of Paul and Virginia being freed from the bland determinism of a future utopia cannot be reconciled with the concept of an omniscient God (or i6 it devil?) as represented in the prediction machine at the Abba Dingo.
Dr. Linebarger's religion strengthened
his science fiction - in so far as it was an expression of the sanctity and dignity of mankind, and a conviction of purpose and meaning in human existence beyond that recognized by secular humanism. But it weakened his science fiction in so far as it led either to the temptation to preach an explicit creed, or to a theological cul de sac.
The Stapledonian aspects of Dr. Linebarger's work are apparent in specific situations as well as in the overall conception. There is one important difference between his method and Stapledon's, however.
Stapledon's approach, in LAST AND FIRST
MEN and THE STAR MAKER was detached and impersonal. Dr. Linebarger's was quite the opposite - he disliked impersonal future history and, as Burns put it, preferred to stress "evocations of the emotional and imaginative responses of people in bizarre social relationships and situations - whether the fighter pilot relying upon telepathic communication with a catt or the ,Gentleman suicide' dancing into existence a religion of sorrow as well as of joy in a world where it was impossible for men to be anything but boringly happy."
But the Stapledonian concepts are there. There are the symbiotic and synergistic relationships between man and other forms of life, and between man and machine - pin. lighting, scanning and planoforming. And there are strange mutations in man - the inhabitants of such planets as Amazonas Triste, Olympia and others; the Daimoni, the experience of the Norstrilians on Paradise XII (Dr. Linebarger might have developed these further if he had not been preoccupied with other themes in his later stories). The invasion of Venus by the Chinesians is emotionally equivalent to humanity's conquest of Venus in LAST AND FIRST MEN. In 'Under Old Earth' and 'No, No, Not Rogov' there are hints of bizarre results of encounters with alien intelligences.
And there are pointed hints that Dr. Linebarger was working up to a Stapledonian synthesis - perhaps in 'The Lords of the Afternoon'. A time when true men and under-people will "pour into a common destiny" is forecast by the E'telekeli. Social integration of the two peoples is certainly indicated in 'The Dead Lady of Clown Town,. And references to the Instrumentality in 'Drunkboat' suggest that it has ceased to exist at some future date - though what, if anything, has replaced it is not made clear.
How seriously did Dr. Linebarger take his idea of the underpeople? Most critics tend to assume he intended it only as a metaphorical idea in connection with the American racial situation - and certainly the underpeople face problems similar to those of contemporary! blacks; But similarity is not identity. Dr. Linebarger had clearly been using the idea of animal-derived intelligences (the Beasts of 'Scanners Live in Vain') at least as early as World War II, before the personal involvement with the race issue.
The underpeople of the stories he wrote
in the %960's were as much an outgrowth of the Beasts, and the Panthers of 'The Game of Rat and Dragon' as of his feelings about blacks. He tried to endow his cat people and dog people with distinctive psychologies in 'The Ballad of Lost C'Mell' and 'The Dead Lady of Clown Town'. And the societies and cultures of true men and underpeople which clash in his future history bear
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