SOMEWHITHER and the Tribesmen of Zaire

A certain reviewer of my recent book SOMEWHITHER, was so taken aback by one paragraph, where the plumber working for the Dark Lord in a nearby parallel dimension, knows of our world for its unique, among the twenty or so Biblical parallel worlds, as the one where mothers abort their children.

The reviewer said that he thought this unbelievable in a science fiction story. In other words: Time travel and mind reading is possible, faster than light drive is possible, but a foreigner criticizing Earth for abortion is not possible.

By mere coincidence, I came across this anecdote in an entirely different context, and saw that it was pertinent as a postscript to this conversation.

There was a doctor I met in Toronto. He had gone to Zaire as a dietitian and saved the life of a dying tribe. He was the first white man they trusted. So, after he saved their lives, he told them about life in the West and they were amazed. They were suspicious of cities and knew very little about civilization. But they believed everything he told them because he was the Great White Father and knew everything.

But there were two things they literally could not believe. They believed we could touch a button and blow up the world. They believed we could fly to the Moon. They could not believe that there was such a thing as an atheist. “An atheist – you mean someone who believes in no God at all? Not good ones, not bad ones, not one, not many? Not the gods of the Sky, not the gods of the Earth?” “Oh, I know”, one of them said to him, “these people must be bound and gagged and put in a cellar all their lives.”

The other thing they literally could not believe is that in America alone, one and a half million mothers pay hired killers called physicians to kill their unborn babies each year. They literally could not believe that. They were very disturbed. They asked him “Why did you tell us this horrible thought? This could not be true. We do not understand.”

I wonder who the real primitives are.

My comment: the artist in me notes the nicety of the symmetrical irony here. My atheist reviewer does not believe that there are primitives who exist who would regard our institution of prenatal mass-murder of children by the childrens’ very mothers as untoward.

And the primitives in whom he does not believe neither believe in him.

Barbarians cannot imagine men of worlds other than their own. That is why science fiction, at one time, was a great force for civilizing the young and curious and imaginative.

That is why the politically correct, the leftists, and the social justice warriors have made it their task to drain science fiction of imagination, of challenge, of hard edges, of unsafe mental spaces, of new ideas, and of everything that makes it science fiction.

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