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  1. tfish
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    tfish New Member

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    "man vs god" : book recommendations?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by tfish, Sep 11, 2009.

    hello all,

    i'm well into my first novel, "man vs god" is the underlying conflict. i mean that quite literally, the protag puts himself in opposition to his god.

    trouble is i've recently realized that i don't actually know that much about what's been written, analysis of, etc of the basic "man vs god" conflict. i know it can also be "man vs nature" or whatever but i'm interested in the precise thing, man vs god-the-supernatural-being.

    so ... i'm wondering if anyone can recommend some writing books (or whatever) that address and/or discuss the subject, the more specifically focused on "man vs god" the better.

    many thanks.
     
  2. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Closest thing I can think of is Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea, but that's not quite vs God, although the religious symbolism is pretty apparent.

    Sorry I can't be of more help...a direct opposition to God is one of those things that isn't really written about in fiction...I guess there are still some taboos after all (although science writers have no problem killing God, so maybe it isn't taboo after all)
     
  3. tfish
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    tfish New Member

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    couple additional things might help here:

    - fwiw, my story is 'man vs god' not 'man vs God'. iow, i'm writing about fictional gods not the big-G God. i know the Greeks and Romans had all kinds of 'man vs god' stuff going on and i suppose that's the general field of play that i'm coming from. not attempting to step on Christian/Jewish/Muslim/whatever toes here.

    - i'm writing Fantasy (forum readers exit stage left) so i'm kind of in the 'science fiction' realm if that makes much difference.
     
  4. ghost_writer
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    ghost_writer Banned

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    You're rather answered you own question there then, haven't you! I'd have a look for demi-god Greek storiesDon't be insulted, but by way of research for this it MAY be worth using kids' versions of Greek and Roman myths as you'll be able to skim them to find characters you quite like, then you can delve deeper into characters if yo feel the need.

    Sounds interesting - nothing wrong with a spot of fantasy!
     
  5. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, pretty much every Greek myth is about this subject.
     
  6. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    His Dark Materials trilogy might help you, although personally I just couldn't get into them.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Fritz Leiber's stories of Fahfrd and the Grey Mouser are largely about mortals battling gods.
     
  8. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    K.A Applegate did a series about a group of kids trapped in a world where all mythological gods were real.
     
  9. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    R.A. Salvatore's Homeland quite literally places the main character Drizzt against his race's deity. Though I suppose they don't actually fight. However it follows Drizzt as he tries to survive the world of his Kin. While the other Drow follow their deity to death and beyond and are merciless killing machines. Drizzt is a much more friendly and loving. His morals are vastly different from his kin.


    That make any sense?
     
  10. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    What about His Dark Materials? That's what the books are about.
     
  11. seta
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    seta Contributing Member

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    Interesting concept.

    I see lots of potential for various types of stories - there is the Homer/Odyssey style story where your MC disses a god and then the god says "Oh really? Wanna bet?"

    The first thing that came to mind, though, was some schizophrenic dude who only believes that god is out to get him - and he focuses on false positives and dreams as his "proof" that god is after him.

    Personally, I do prefer the "man vs. god" motif of Greek/Roman/Ancient tradition rather than the "man under god" idea of more recent desert myth. What does it say when a culture's stories are about mere mortals standing up to the gods? I like that attitude...
     
  12. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Logically, a man vs. a god is a very out of balance 'competition' so to speak. Strength, experience, resources, etc.. would logically all go to the god. I am sure that is has been taken into consideration.

    Discussing the greeks, there is a series by Fred Saberhagen (The Book of Swords) where eventually mortals obtain the ability (and do) slay individuals from the greek mythos.

    If this first trilogy might interest you, I did a book review on my blog: Fred Saberhagen's Book of Swords

    There is also a classic novel by Zelazny, Lord of Light, which is about the Hindu mythos. It is Science Fiction. Although first published in 1967, it is still in print.

    Terry
     
  13. Kirvee
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    Kirvee Contributing Member

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    Interesting concept....

    I don't know any actual novels to recommend taking a look at (I've never really found or read any novels that are man vs god), but I do know some manga that involve both heavy and light "man vs god" elements you could consider.

    Fullmetal Alchemist has some light to semi-intense man vs god elements (as well as man vs man, but the protagonist is ultimately on a mission to get back something the "god" of that world took from him and his brother, so there's that conflict).

    D.Gray-man is pretty much layered and overflowing with "man vs god" elements EVERYWHERE in the story. You could get a lot of good ideas from that, I believe.

    Kuro****suji/Black Butler (lemme try this again..."Kuro-shi-tsuji" w/o the hypens) might be able to help you some too. I'm not sure how much though, the "man vs god" conflict is also masked by "man vs man" and despite all the religious overtones the actual "man vs god" conflict is somewhat on an undertone level. However, the main character forsaked and rejected God's name and sold his soul to a demon for the pure sake of revenge against people who shamed him and his family. That might be something?
     
  14. tfish
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    tfish New Member

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    many thanks for the ongoing suggestions!

    read and loved Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd & the Grey Mouser stuff. definitely one of the high points of my Fantasy reading over the years. i very much took to heart how the gods stood in relation to mortals in the Nehwon 'universe' and i don't doubt that has helped drive my story, albeit indirectly. certainly the relationship of my protag to the god(s) is closer to Leiber's take on it than any other that comes to mind, though i don't remember F&GM ever directly confronting the gods. Leiber's gods were meddlers-from-afar as i remember it, mine are rather more in-your-face.

    as to the contest being inherently imbalanced i would point, again, to the Greeks. nothing pissed the Greek gods off more than a mortal who had the temerity to take up a weapon or shield or whatever that gave them a fragment of god-like powers and the hubris to use it, especially to their own ends. to aspire to god-like power really got their goat and i always thought there was a bit of fear tucked away in there somewhere, that they were going to smack the mortal down ASAP because ... because they didn't appreciate the challenge perhaps? although something extraordinary does have to happen to put a mortal on the immortal's turf it isn't unheard of. often the Greek gods had to be pretty devious in order to 'put things right again', at least when they were dealing with the heroes and demi-gods.

    i took a number of courses on Greek Mythology and Greek Drama in university so am pretty comfortable with the ancient Greek take on things, though i freely confess that the details of the individual myths have faded (more than a little) from memory. the point is taken though, a revisit might be in order.

    Dark Materials is an interesting recommendation. i've tried to read it a couple times and as much as i appreciate the stance on religious issues i wasn't able to get very far with it. perhaps i should double-down and press on.

    all that said i would cautiously quote my original post:
    what i'm really looking for is some kind of literary survey or study or (shudder) analysis of the 'man vs god' conflict in literature/fantasy/science fiction/whatever. for better or worse i'm curious what the thinkers have to say on it rather than the practitioners.

    which is not to say that i don't appreciate the recommendations! on the contrary. Salvatore's 'Homeland' sounds promising, though i admit that as an old AD&D'er the treatment of the drow (as i understood it from hearsay) made me gag, but this is a different day and a new purpose so i'll clean off my glasses and have a second look. Saberhagen's 'Book of Swords' and Zelazny's 'Lord of Light' are both on my 'to read' pile. 'Fullmetal Alchemist' and 'D.Gray-man' are new to me: off to check them out now.

    again, thanks all.
     
  15. Kirvee
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    Kirvee Contributing Member

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    If you're looking for research/writing books on it, I'm afraid I can't help you. I've graced the Writing/Publishing section of B&N quite often, and I've never seen a book for "man vs god" or anything like that.

    You could always try Google, though. But to be honest, I think you learn how to write certain elements most when you've read enough books that use that element. I've only read two writing books or so, yet I've learned how to write stories through reading the books I like instead of the "writing textbooks".
     
  16. tfish
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    tfish New Member

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    true dat.

    i've read a lot of writing books and my wife has read most of the rest of them. learned some, but not nearly as much as you'd expect. i might just be a thickie, but there it is.

    on the other hand, when you find what you need when you need it it can be like finally being able to scratch an itch. found that recently with Frey's books, at least insofar as his stuff on 'premise'. just happened to be the very problem i was having and didn't really know it. bang, bang. hammer hits nail and things start to come together.

    now on the 'man vs god' thing i certainly agree that there seems to be precious little written on that specific subject. i've seen it in the books that talk about the different types of conflict in fiction but no one seems to really get into it in depth. i'm sure there's a good reason for that but dinged if i know what it is.

    ah well, go with what you've got i guess. thanks again for the recommends folks, time to go beat around in those bushes for a while.
     

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