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:: Introduction
This page last updated: October 4, 2011
:: Introduction

** October 4, 2011 update: **

Dear Ryan,

         While I still have access to a sufficient number of neurons, I would like to use your site to correct a misapprehension that I see still turning up here and there, including on Amazon's Exorcist site, namely that I consider The Ninth Configuration to be the sequel to The Exorcist. Did I ever say that? Who knows: I'm almost 84 years old. But I think this misapprehension might well be traceable to Mark Kermode, who long ago named The Exorcist, The Ninth Configuration and Legion "The Trilogy of Faith." Or not. But today  the three of my works I would link together are The Exorcist, Legion and Dimiter. The Exorcist argues for God's existence in a very general way while Legion approaches it in a very specific, evidential way that to a great extent involves  intelligent design. In Legion there is a dream sequence in which the Humphrey Bogart of Casablanca criticizes Lt. Kinderman for leaving Christ out of the equation, to which Kinderman replies that he intends to include him.  Dimiter is the fulfillment of Kinderman's promise. To quote from A Man For All Seasons, "I trust I make myself obscure."

If you happen to be unaware about the basic premise of William Peter Blatty's work (The Ninth Configuration in particular), and assuming you have not read the novels, I have found the featurette available on The Ninth Configuration DVD to be a remarkable introduction:

Listed below are some quotes and images from said featurette.

As a side note, you will notice three distinct images below, each representing Blatty's 'trilogy of faith': The Exorcist, The Ninth Configuration and Legion. In a perfect world, The Ninth Configuration would have been the first sequel to The Exorcist, and Legion the third. Number #4 of the Correspondences & Themes page gives more insight into situation of The Ninth Configuration being the first sequel, and the "Original Cut" Saga page describes the situation with Legion.

Everything had been set up perfectly for The Ninth Configuration to be the first 'true' sequel to The Exorcist. The un-credited astronaut at Chris MacNeil's house party would have bridged superbly into the storyline of the astronaut, Captain Billy Cutshaw, from The Ninth Configuration. In The Exorcist, Regan stares ominously at him and firmly states: "You're gonna die up there." In The Ninth Configuration, Cutshaw's entire debacle orbits his fear of flying to the moon. Alas, Blatty was denied the funds to film such a sequel. In turn, we received Exorcist II: The Heretic. To quote Blatty:

"I offered to write an Exorcist sequel � not that story [Exorcist II: The Heretic] � if they would put up just a little bit of money to make the film I wanted to make based on another novel I wrote, The Ninth Configuration. But they wouldn't do it."

Ideally, one box-set would exist, and one only:

The Exorcist The Ninth Configuration Legion

Thanks to Hollywood, we are currently left with the following chronology:

The Exorcist Exorcist II: The Heretic The Exorcist III Exorcist: The Beginning Dominion: Prequel To The Exorcist

With the underlying possibility, of course, to remake the original Exorcist film.


"The Exorcist, and I'm speaking of the novel, broaches the problem of evil; it presents it. But, in fact, it doesn�t give you a solution - at all. It doesn't attempt to. It does suggest that something very good has also happened in this universe, and that may be worth thinking about, but that's all."


"The Ninth Configuration dealt directly with God's existence, and with the problem of evil. And it did that by opposing to it the 'mystery of goodness.'"


"The novel, Legion*, goes beyond both: namely, in some way, we have chosen the suffering."


"In The Ninth Configuration, which forms the central part of Blatty's 'trilogy of faith,' the miracle which the author addresses is less spectacular, but, ultimately, more involving: the recognition that one, single selfless act may demonstrate the persistence of divinity because, as Kane points out to his patient, 'If you think God's dead because of all the evil in the world, then how do you account for all the good?' This question is the key to all of Blatty�s work."


* Kinderman explains to Atkins his thoughts and musings of the whole case and how it relates to his problem of the concept of evil. Kinderman ends by concluding that he believes the Big Bang was Lucifer falling from heaven, and that the entire Universe, including humanity, are the broken parts of Lucifer, and that evolution is the process of Lucifer putting himself together back into an angel.


To put it in Blatty's own words:

In the novel, the coda was needed to put a button on what the novel was all about -- Kinderman's rescue of God's goodness via his theory of "The Angel," which hypothesized that the fall of man was premundane; that before the Big Bang, mankind was a single angelic being who fell from grace and was given his transformation into the material universe as a means of salvation wherein his legion of fragmented personalities would spiritually evolve ("Can there be a moral act without at least the possibility of pain?") back into the original single angelic being, back into himself, a process foreshadowed on the opening page of The Exorcist ("that matter was Lucifer upward groping back to his God").

Further explanation by Blatty can be read in this excerpt from a 1999 interview:

It's always seemed to me that The Exorcist, The Ninth Configuration, and Legion formed a sort of "unofficial" trilogy -- with The Ninth Configuration serving as a thematic bridge between the more overt horrors in The Exorcist and the intensely introverted struggles of Kinderman in Legion. Do you view the three novels as a trilogy? If so, why? And if not, why?

Yes, they form -- at least in my mind -- a trilogy. Taken together, they are all about the eternal questions that nag at Woody Allen: why are we here? what are we supposed to be doing? why do we die? is there a God? The Exorcist approached this last question, which is the heart of all the others, by seeking to confirm the existence of "demons" and the power of religious faith to deal with them. The Ninth Configuration approached the problem via what I call "the mystery of goodness": if we are reducible to matter without spirit, to soulless atomic structures, then we ought to be always rushing blindly and irresistibly to serve our own selfish ends. Yet how is it that there is love in this world -- love as a God might love -- and that a man will give his life for another. The astronaut Cutshaw's search for irrefutable proof of such pure self-sacrifice forms the underlying plot. But then in Legion, Ivan Karamazov's greatest barrier to religious faith -- the suffering of the innocent: the "problem of evil" -- is met head-on by Lt. Kinderman.


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