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Spaceman Says "Everybody Look Down!"

For the past number of months, I have been plowing through the amazing library Jonathan bequeathed me with no end in sight. Everything from the most juvenile to the most literary and esoteric. I've trodden the ancient sands of Edward Whittemore's Egypt and been dealt a hand of Jerusalem poker, flown the bawdy skies of Keith Laumer's tough guy intergalactic diplomat Retief, worn the wig and gown with John Mortimer and, most recently, grown up in the tumultuous Gant household in Thomas Wolfe's masterpiece O Lost.

For those unfamiliar, O Lost is the original manuscript for what ultimately became Look Homeward, Angel after the New York literary elite took a buzzsaw to it, carving out what turns out, for my money, to be the most honest, original and compelling aspects of the story. It is idiosyncratic and intensely personal and allusive not unlike AJ's prose. One paragraph on the subject of demonology particularly struck a chord, such that I feel compelled to share what is still a hot topic 75 years later, an imaginary speech delivered by God:

"I am He who is His own Son and the Father of Himself, Who sits by His own Side, hovers above His own Head, and makes obeisance at His own Feet. I am about to visit the universe that I inhabit. If I should get back before I return, keep Me here until I arrive.... If you do not confess to Me what I already know, I shall condemn you in the First Place, since I am Absolute Love, to my Avenging Wrath; in the Second Place, since I am Life and inhabit the Universe and am in all of You, to my Enemy who, Being Evil, has no existence but is nevertheless against Me and inhabits part of you; in the Third Place, to the Evil of My Creation which, since I am the cause and the fulfilment of Absolute Good, could never have existed in the First Place. Since it was predestined before your birth that of your own Free Will you should commit a non-existent sin of which you are incapable, I shall mete out to you the punishment that I planned for you before you had voluntarily succumbed to the undemonstrable Evil which, in my all-seeing ignorance, I forced you to succumb to without letting Myself be conscious of it."

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