Pagan Passions by Randall Garrett: An Analysis


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Pagan Passions is a light-hearted adult fantasy book by the science-fiction writer, Randall Garrett, which arouses quite some interest in the reader. The interest is aroused especially in one who has a background in the history of religions, but it can happen to almost anybody. 

The Temple of Olympian Zeus

In the book, the ancient Greco-Roman gods have returned to Earth in the modern era and have ended all forms of injustice, in return for humans worshipping them. No more wars, no disease, and especially, no more capitalistic boom-and-crash economic cycles. Some of us with a little pagan sensibility would call that utopia.

The protagonist is a fellow named William Forrester, who goes through his own version of an apotheosis decreed by the Greco-Roman gods on Earth. That would normally add to the utopian version of things, but it also leads to the protagonist’s realisation of his own reality. 

Karl Marx did state that “religion is the opiate of the masses,” and that statement could apply to the story of this book. Upon the arrival of the Greco-Roman deities, all injustice had come to a standstill. People were supposed to worship the gods. Under these circumstances, all human development had come to a standstill as well. In a somewhat more rational sense, would humans accept such a possibility were a mighty race of aliens such as the Time Lords were to establish rule on Earth?

The book is easy to read, and may have spawned inspiration for other fiction of the sci-fi genre by James Lovegrove or of the neo-mythology genre by Rick Riordan. The book is freely downloadable from the French e-book store Feedbooks. 

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RazimAmun is a Diplomate in the Sciences of Religions (notably, in field of Anthropology of Religions) from a prestigious graduate school in Paris (EPHE). As such, he is interested in almost all things cultural and the ethos they represent.