Wednesday, 13 December 2017

That Hideous Strength

There are only two dreams which I can remember from my childhood.
In by far the worse of the two, I am pursued through a deserted tar and concrete cityscape by a Brontosaurus.



I must have been around eight or nine years old and that dream frightened me so badly that I remember it to this day.

Eventually the symbol for fearsome creature was replaced in my dream imagery by big cats - lions, tigers and panthers - and they were usually menacing someone I loved, rather than myself. I remember more than one terrifying nightmare where the big cats were after my son, and I seemed powerless to stop them.



Today in waking consciousness I am more likely to be scared of a couple of tons of metal and plastic alloy barelling through life's spaces with a semi-somnolent anthropoid at the controls than I am of dinosaurs or lions.


But that's just the shape of the threat morphing. As far as I know, the threat is the same within this dimensional existance; something huge, something excessively powerful, something not quite under any form of rational control.

My baseline fear is this massive, seemingly unstoppable force which can easily swat the life from a fragile, unarmoured mortal body; which cannot be reasoned with and whose blows are shockingly fast, almost infinitely powerful and swiftly lethal.

In fact, my baseline fear has a name which has swum up out of my un-indexed mind just last night and the recollection of which has prompted me to draw an old trilogy of fiction by CS Lewis into my Kindle. It is