Science fiction & God
This article at First Things by Robert R. Chase is a fascinating look at religious themes in science fiction. I’ve always felt that science-fiction was far less amenable to religion than fantasy, but thinking about much of the science fiction canon I’m not so sure this is true. Chase mentions both Lewis’s Space Trilogy and the excellent post-apocalyptic novel A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr., both excellent examples of religion’s – and specifically Christianity’s – role in science fiction.
Two science fiction books I’ve read recently have been Robert Charles Wilson’s Spin and Joe Halderman’s The Accidental Time Machine. Both these novels touch on religious themes – though not in terribly positive ways. Spin has dueling theologies, in a sense, playing the hyper-technological benevolence of an advanced robotic entity against the radicalism of a new wave of Christians obsessed with the Rapture and what they perceive to be the end times. That being said, in the rather more blatant libertarianism of science fiction, the real villains of Wilson’s story are not the religious at all but the government.
Halderman’s Time Machine is a bit more light-hearted, and contrasts future America’s against one another. In one time we are witness to an east coast in the thrall of a theocratic totalitarianism; in another we experience the vapidity of a super-prosperous and super-lazy future capitalistic society. In the theocratic future we travel to M.I.T. which has become the Massachusettes Institute of Theophony. In the prosperous suburbs of a state-spanning Los Angeles, we encounter a populace that never has to work, whose citizens gain degrees in shopping and have, for lack of a better term, become incredibly stupid.
In any case, you should read Chase’s article as he goes into much greater depth on the matter.