(urth) Theological Science Fiction (Was: Silk for calde blog: Wolfe thesis)

Kieran Mullen kieran at nhn.ou.edu
Tue Sep 22 13:34:48 PDT 2009

     As a Catholic research physicist, theological science fiction has  
long been an interest of mine.   I have toyed with teaching a course  
on the topic but am not sure if I am competent to do so (I have only  
an undergraduate major in theology and no graduate training in  
literature or theology).

      I wouldn't quite go with the two choices you select for priests  
in SF (affirmation/debunking).    When I think about it ,  I first  
think about the "author's cosmology"  first -

	(1)   There is a transcendent being/reality.
		(a)  It agrees to some degree with the character's religious views.
		(b)  It contradicts the character's religious views.
	(2)  There is no transcendent being.
		(a)  The protagonist goes through some sort of spiritual crisis.
		(b)  The protagonist struggles against those who mistakenly think  
there is.
	(3)  The author leaves it ambiguous.

Stories of the 1a variety are not always happy - James Blish's "Black  
Easter,"  for example.   One of my favorite type (3)'s is Blish's "A  
Case of Conscience."    An example of 1b is Phillip Farmer's "Mask of  
Chaos,"  in which the characters vie for influence on a sort of  
universe-consciousness that is only starting to come to sentience.

Anyway, I have a lot of collections/novels in this vein.   Has anyone  
organized a course around such ideas?

Kieran Mullen

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