Search This Blog

Friday, August 29, 2008

By Schism Rent Asunder

Weber, David. By Schism Rent Asunder. I'm a big Weber fan. Love the Honor Harrington space opera series and loved Off Armageddon Reef which I reviewed here.

I liked this one a lot, too. How in the world Weber keeps up with all of the characters and details in his many long and complicated books is beyond me. How he manages to turn so many characters into real personalities is another difficult task that leaves me marveling at such a phenomenal memory.

His novels are full of political, social, and military discussions. I like them (who'd a thunk that military tactics & politics would hold such fascination for me?) --but some of Weber's fan have begun to get restless as his novels increase in length and expository material. I know whereof they speak, as I've noticed it, too, even in the later Honor Harrington novels, but I enjoy it. I enjoy the hints Merlin (Nimue Alban) gives as he tries to encourage this society to advance its technological abilities but not give them the answers and the religious discussions that result as a corrupt few in the church seek to impose their will on others.

I enjoy the political aspect because Weber tries to put himself into the logical thinking of both the good guys and the bad guys. Although the "Group of Four" in the Church of God Awaiting are corrupt individuals, Weber develops them into real men, flawed and corrupt, and in one case, certainly wicked, but they are not cardboard monsters.

Hate having to wait for the next one.

Fiction. Science fiction/fantasy. 494 pages.


  1. Not a writer I know at all, but this sounds as though it might be interesting. To what extent is he attacking the same sort of institutions as Philip Pullman?

  2. Ann - In Off Armageddon Reef (the first book) mankind has pretty much lost a war with aliens knows as Gbaba. This alien race leaves no one alive in their march across the universe, so in an attempt to preserve the species, humanity has sent a small fleet light years away. The colony is to be low-tech to avoid the attention of the Gbaba, who seem intent on wiping every other race from the universe.

    The plan was to wait until it was safe to begin using technology (the new world is known as Safehold), but one group decides to alter memories to remove knowledge of scientific advancement and to institute a church in which the leaders are "angels" and "archangels" forbidding technological development.

    Weber's concern is not with religion in general, but with the corruption in the church as over the years, certain church officials increase in greed and power. In Schism, Weber reveals that some manuscripts providing the real history have been preserved by a little known branch of the church, but few have been allowed this knowledge because of fear of accusations of heresy.

    My reading of the book is not that Weber is anti-religion, but that he objects to any group - church or state - that curtails freedom of choice AND he emphasizes the age-old theme that "power corrupts" whether religious or political, and the corollary about "absolute power." In these novels, with no separation of church and state, it amounts to the same thing.

    You still there, Ann? Sorry, I think I got carried away on that explanation.

  3. Daughter no. 2 LOVES David Weber, especially the Honor Harrington books. She has been after me to give them a try for years.

    She and daughter no. 3 also love David Eddings, who I did try but could not appreciate the long expository stretches. Both of the girls point to his political and societal insights. Also, they both laugh out loud at his humor, even though they've re-read his books dozens of times.

    Have your read David Eddings?

  4. Camille - I've just finished 2 more Weber-thons. I'm familiar with Eddings, but have never read any of his books. Weber , too, has long, long expository stretches in his later books, but the early Honor Harrington's are full of action.