Monday, September 06, 2021

How Science Fiction Found Religion



Starhopper said...

Well. The article linked to is laser focused on movies and TV, and pretty much ignores books. But the sad fact is that print SF has has pretty much ignored religion, with a few very notable exceptions. Foremost among these would be C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy and Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz. (Hmm.. I wonder if there's a connection between that and their being amongst the best SF books ever written?)

Clifford Simak's novel City deals with the issue in an astounding, back handed way. In the 6th Tale, "Hobbies", there's the toss off line "Religion, which had been losing ground for centuries, entirely disappeared," and is not mentioned again. But what happens to Humanity within a short generation of said disappearance? The entire species basically commits mass suicide. Simak doesn't explicitly say so, but essentially, without faith life is meaningless, so why go on living? (We see that today in secular Europe, where birthrates are far below replacement rates, so we're watching a slow motion continental suicide. Only Catholic Poland maintains a stable population.)

Kevin said...

Depending on author quality, it seems to be a much easier story to tell where the main character starts out simple and ends as a powerful savior character, because that provides an easy framework to drive the plot forward.

Contrast that with a fully trained and aware character, and suddenly the author has to be much more creative.

Starhopper said...

Interesting. Bill Patterson, Heinlein's official biographer, wrote that you could sum up all of Heinlein's work with the phrase "the man who learned better".