December 28, 2008

SLICE OF PIE: Shortened Lives and the Real Culprit

Walter M. Miller, Jr. (A Canticle for Liebowitz); H. Beam Piper (Little Fuzzy); Alice Sheldon – aka James Tiptree, Jr. (the Tiptree Award and “The Screwfly Solution”); Robert E. Howard (Conan the Barbarian, et al); Thomas Disch (guru of the New Wave) (

All of these SF/F/H writers have something in common: they left this world before their time. I do not doubt that before or after their memorials or funerals, someone wondered out loud, “Why did God take him/her so young?”

I was at a funeral recently of a young man who had been a student of mine. One of a pair of identical twins, he was an off duty police officer who lost control of his car during a blizzard and hit one car which knocked him into the oncoming traffic where he was struck by another. Someone I know said, “Why did God take him so young?”

I could try to be sensitive and politically correct about my response to this, but I don’t feel like it: God didn’t “take him”. God didn’t “take” any of the SF writers above. They didn’t take their own lives, either.

The real culprit, Satan, the Devil, the Deceiver took them early, because he hated them, just as he hates everyone who is human.

God is NOT in the business of cutting lives short, careers short or anything short. He doesn’t get a kick out of thwarting our futures. He knows the plans He has for us and if we choose to walk in His will, those plans will unfold. Few people would argue that H. Beam Piper had more than a few good stories left to tell. Walter M. Miller, Jr. was never able to finish his edits of the sequel to Canticle, which was passed off into the capable hands of Terry Bisson.

God the Comforter opens his arms to those crushed by acts of Satan. He offers a shoulder on which to cry. He offers to weep with us NOT because He can’t control Satan, but because Satan was granted control of this world long ago by our ancestors. Satan remains in control when ANY person makes a conscious choice to perform a true act of evil. He will remain in control until we choose together to cede control back to God. Until then, He offers comfort and joy to those who want it.

So when you’re around me, please stop blaming the God of the Universe for the acts of a petty local tyrant. It’s Satan, not God, who is the culprit that kept us from the rest of the Little Fuzzy stories God had planned for us…

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