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Biology and MannersEssays on the Worlds and Works of Lois McMaster Bujold$
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Regina Yung Lee and Una McCormack

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789621730

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789621730.001.0001

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date: 24 July 2021

The Bastard Balances All

The Bastard Balances All

The Essential Other in Bujold’s Queer Theology

(p.229) The Bastard Balances All
Biology and Manners

Meg MacDonald


This chapter examines the role of the Bastard, one of the gods in Lois McMaster Bujold’s ‘Worlds of the Five Gods’ series, and his contribution to her depiction of an inclusive Queer Theology. Drawing on the queer theology of Marcella Althaus-Reid, the chapter considers the distinctive set-up of the five-fold Quintarian pantheon that Bujold establishes, and how it creates and subverts dualistic ideas. The chapter provides close readings of interactions with the Bastard, particularly in Paladin of Souls and the ‘Penric and Desdemona’ series, where the Bastard is the patron god, and analyzes how the idea of the Queer God becomes essential to an inclusive dialogue within religious identity and society. The chapter demonstrates how these novels and novellas afford Bujold the opportunity to reflect upon many of the vital social functions performed by real religions throughout history while challenging those dualistic theological systems that remain prevalent, particularly in Western culture.

Keywords:   Lois McMaster Bujold, Paladin of Souls, Fantasy, Queer theory, Queer theology, Penric, Desdemona, Ista dy Chalion

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