Monday, May 27, 2013

Joshua Afire in Canaan

Today is Memorial Day in the U.S. I have written a story about war, two pages from the perspective of Joshua from the Old Testament -- a celebration of violence and genocide, in Joshua's hard, sure voice. I hope it's unnecessary to add that Joshua's perspective is not my own.

Story here.


11 comments:

Scott Bakker said...

Fantastic stuff. Truly. By sheer coincidence I've been taking my Bible with me to the coffee shop to write, every day for three weeks now, with my bookmark parked in Joshua! You would dig my fantasy series, I think...

A couple things. The sheer genocidal viciousness of Joshua seems to have been entirely fabricated... There's very little archaeological evidence for it, at least.

And the only thing I would do by way of changes is to elide the word 'mind,' given that this isn't a concept the ancient Hebrews seem to have possessed.

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Thanks for the kind words and suggestion, Scott. Yes, getting rid of "mind" is probably the right thing to do.

I think I probably will try your fantasy series. Given my interests, where should I start? Beginning of book one? Or jump in later in the series and then work my way back later if I want?

Troy Polidori said...

To echo whoever else has read this, truly great stuff. As a former evangelical, I've often wanted to see this story told from the victim's perspective, and the last paragraph was haunting in that respect.

Michel Clasquin-Johnson said...

Re: "mind". If we are going to be that period-correct, you should also get rid of "put to the sword". Swords were rare and precious weapons in the Bronze Age, and even then the Levant was not as obsessed with them as the Aegean. Joshua might have carried one as a badge of his leadership. The rest of his desert nomads? Spears.

There was some debate about this when the movie "Lincoln" came out. At one stage the Mrs Lincoln character refers to a "sniper". Now that word didn't exist during the Civil War. She would actually have said "sharpshooter". But do you strive for absolute period correctness or do you concentrate on communicating with today's audience?

By the way, congrats on not giving in to the temptation to point out that "Joshua" is the original form of the name "Jesus". :-)

Scott Bakker said...

The Darkness That Comes Before is the first book, and pretty much the only place to begin, I fear, given the intricacy of the plot-line and 'secondary world' I create. But it adheres to the three B's you have in this piece: Brutal, Biblical, and Bigoted.

Michel Clasquin-Johnson said...

Just to tie up with somthing Scott noted earlier, I came across this today:

http://varnam.nationalinterest.in/2013/05/collapse-of-the-israelite-invasion-theory/

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

@ Scott: Ordered!

@ Michel: Thanks for the link. This issue of historical correctness is a big one! I'm working with the Biblical version, though obviously filling in some things and leaving open the possibility of interpreting the miracles and magic in a secular way. As for swords, that line was adapted right from the King James version, Joshua 6:24. (Right, I know the King James isn't exactly the best modern Biblical scholarship, but you can't beat it for historical influence in the English-language Biblical tradition!)

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Hm, maybe no "ranked swords" though....

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading a book about a brain surgeon who had an NDE and was thinking of the different things that I have access too that no one else seems to have. I have a very acute sense of smell. I have detected smoke before a smoke detector and stopped a fire before anyone else knew about it. I smell things no one else can, and when I worked in the hospital, I could tell what was wrong basically by the way the person smelled. This is a common thing in healthcare and was used a lot in the old days of medicine, but one thing I saw on your blog today was "eyelide visions" I did not read all of them, but I do often wonder why I can close my eyes at any time and watch what is akin to a video of places and people in motion, in great detail. It includes clothing, facial expressions, the cracks and paint on buildings. It is very vivid (I alway dream in color and I am always in my dreams, not watching them happen, but as if I am living in the dream as I do in real life) I often compare my eyelid visions like watching a video on my eyelids.

I also hear sounds and get a vision. I have a particular sense of aircraft having crash issues. I used to dream about watching air craft crash, behind trees and fire ball and smoke. Now, I can hear a plane and detect something different about it. I have always attached shapes and words to sounds. I heard a small plane going over, and out of nowhere, said "That plane sounds wet"...that day, a small plane crashed into the Atlantic, near where I live. Passing a local airport one day, there was an air show scheculed. I had this feeling that there would be something happen there. I mentioned to my duaghter that I would not go there that day. A plane did crash and several people were injured by flying debris.

There seems to be some abilities in nearly every one of my sisters, and my daughters and even my grand daughters.

I have dreams where I am being instructed in things that are very complicated and techincal and they make perfect sense to me, but when I wake up what I learned, I cannot remember. WHAT is going on with my brain anyway. I am normal and sane. Do I have acute senses, or is it extra sensory?

Scott Bakker said...

Anonymous: Imagine being locked in a closet and receiving all the information via another person called 'Bottleneck.' You are literally captive to the facts as Bottleneck presents them. The reason for this is that you have no way of checking those facts except by way of Bottleneck. Since Bottleneck never reveals any inconsistencies, you assume everything he says is true. In fact, it seems that nothing could be more obvious. But the scientific fact is, Bottleneck regularly deceives you, particularly when it comes to the kinds of attributions of apparent 'extra sensory' significance you relate.

If you get a chance I recommend Cordelia Fine's A Mind of its Own: How the Brain Tricks, Distorts, and Deceives.

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Thanks for that helpful comment, Scott!