Thursday, March 16, 2017

Kaddish for Darkover

As the modern human Terrans re-colonized Darkover, there would inevitably be conflict, which would turn violent and even into full-scale wars. In this fan story, which you have seen before, Henry Levich the orthodox Jewish diplomat and detective tries his best to prevent a war from breaking out between the new settlers and those already there. Unfortunately, he cannot stop it and weapons of both psionic magic and Terran technology are unleashed. Whole cities are destroyed, including this one you see in ruins. 

Levich can do no more than pray for the dead, invoking God's praise in the famous Jewish prayer for the dead, the "Kaddish." This sacred poem has no mention of death or dead people; it is purely the praise of God. In this illustration Levich stands on a hill above the smoking ruins, reciting the Kaddish for those who were destroyed there. He wears the Jewish prayer shawl, the tallit, and his head cap, the yarmulke, symbols of prayer. His assistants and liaison officers from the old settlements look on quietly.

I like the idea of a Jewish main character on Darkover. The author wasn't even Jewish but she did her best to portray him authentically. She only got one thing wrong, as I remember the story: she has Levich chanting the Kaddish rather than speaking it. I am not sure you are supposed to chant the Kaddish. As usual with Jewish theory and practice, there are multiple opinions on the matter.

Ink on illustration board, 8" x 10", December 1984.

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