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C4P: Barbara Stevenson-The Nature of Evil in "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Donaldson

Luna's third Call for Papers, A Shadow Within: Evil in Fantasy and Science Fiction will be released on Wednesday the 14th of August, at Dublin Worldcon. Explore the 21 brilliant papers you will find in the book.

Today, we would like to introduce you to Barbara Stevenson (UK), BVMS and BA (Open University) creative writing and German. Fiction writer and veterinary surgeon.

Presenting the paper: “The Nature of Evil in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen Donaldson”

Barbara says:

"I first read series one and two of the Covenant Chronicles by Stephen Donaldson as a student and back then the premise seemed straight forward, good against evil. The protagonist is flawed, but he is the hero and ultimately saves the day. I have read the books numerous times since, along with the final series when it became available, and each time the black and white merge towards a homogenous grey. Evil and good are part of the same individual, in this case Thomas Covenant, to such a degree that they finally unite. I am fascinated by the question of what actually defines evil. Are evil and good poorly subjective or is there a definitive line separating them?

The intention of this paper is to explore ways of defining evil, specifically in the context of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R Donaldson. Both Thomas Covenant, the hero, and his enemy Lord Foul use torture, murder and destruction as means to their ends – Lord Foul to rent the Arch of Time and escape the Land, Thomas Covenant to defeat Lord Foul and escape from the Land – acts which are usually considered to be evil. In Covenant’s case these are deemed to be ‘necessary evils’ and not to be judged in a similar manner to Lord Foul, who is ‘pure evil’. Is Thomas Covenant as evil as Lord Foul, or does evil depend on a given standpoint? Is it necessary, in nature, that good and evil work in balance?"

Barbara Stevenson is a fiction writer based in Orkney. She studied creative writing as part of a BA from the Open University. In 2016 she won the Scottish Association of Writers ‘Castles in the Air’ award for a fantasy short story. Her background in veterinary medicine has led to a growing interest in the portrayal of animals in fairy tales and folklore.

For Luna Press Publishing: Beyond Realities 2015, Beyond Realities Vol. II (2016); Where the Ocean Meets the Sky (Release Date 2020).

A Shadow Within: Evil in Fantasy and Science Fiction

is now in pre-order!


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