As I think about the Ancient in sci-fi and fantasy, I’m trying to expand what I mean by that word. At this point I think in these terms:
- Primal vestiges
- Body and the connections to it
- Mystical, communal connections
- Storytelling as a linking, ancient art
And so on. One thought that I’ve been toying with for a while is the idea of the feral, the fell, the urge to demonic powers. I want to think that everyone of us has experienced one of these moments – the time when you throw your body around with reckless abandon, in the mosh pit, on the ball field, while climbing or diving into a huge wave or getting into a fight. Professional soldiers, I’m guessing, have to consciously tap these moments down, mostly in order to preserve the calm that will help them survive modern warfare, but these instincts have been with us a long time, if instincts they truly are.
I think of demonic not in a supernatural sense but more as an invocation of powers that seem superhuman to those of not possessed of beserker mode. The demonic in humans can be frightening, and in some ways science (and probably more accurately technology) are designed to remove us from those moments, but my guess is that this tool is so hard-wired in our physical toolkits (fight or flight seems so quaint – it’s more like run like hell out of panic or take on another persona and attack) that, well, good luck.