June 8th, 2009

A Birthday

the gods as two-year-olds

Philosophically pondering the gods who act like two-year-olds -- and badly brought up ones at that.  The works that feature them tend to have two problems.

One is that badly-brought-up two-year-olds do not make convincing personality for the Powers That Be.  At least, writers seem unable to juggle the necessary power and the personality to keep them from clashing.

And the other is that it is like introducing a Sage to your work:  you have a wonderful chance to show off the depths of your shallowness.  Because when the gods act like two-year-olds, I find that the rest of the work tends to not be much higher in level. 

Your human characters act better than your gods?  Which is to say, better than badly-brought-up two-year-olds?  That's setting the bar kind of low.  Can't you raise it a little?  Except that with these writers, I often look at the human characters and conclude -- they can't.  These human heroes can only look impressive when set against infantile gods, and the writer shows no signs of being able to produce anything better.

Indeed, sometimes, the tone of the book is a smug superiority over the gods -- like being superior to badly-brought-up two-year-olds is something to brag about.