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Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday Randomosity

Some randomosity for Friday:

I was doing my every once in a blue moon catch-up on SF Signal, when I ran across this article: Is Science Fiction Antithetical to Religion? It is a part of their Mind Meld series where they tap various SF writers and afficianados for their opinions on SF-related topics. Since I have a love for both science fiction and interesting discussions about religion, I ate this article up. I have had passionate discussions over the merits of science fiction, but I've never contemplated its relation with religion. Usually when I'm discussing religion and books, it is fiction of the fantasy genre that gets people talking. (Harry Potter is the devil! No he's a way to evangelize to non-Christians! No, it's just a well-written fiction series and don't make it out to be more than it is! [Those three opinions do not all belong to me. Just the third one.]) It is a lengthy article, and I did read, not just skim the article for names that sound familiar to read their opinions only. Now I of course have to espouse my own opinion on the topic.

And my answer is that of course science fiction is not antithetical to religion, that's just plain sillyness. Science Fiction is a rather large genre, and authors have taken it in so many different directions, it would be impossible to generalize all of science fiction writers as being anything, much less anti-religious. Take away one word from that question: Is Science Antithetical to Religion? And we get back to the age old "Inherit The Wind" debate. All religious people are anti-science. And all science people are anti-religion. What's wrong with that picture is that there are (I promise) people who are deeply religious yet believe firmly in science. Science is at heart observing and testing. Science fiction is merely a genre of fiction which asks: what if? Just because science fiction has been used to speculate that religious beliefs are harmful doesn't mean it couldn't be used to speculate about the exact opposite. What if robots became so advanced that they developed souls? Would they develop their own religion? What if there was a plague and the only survivors was a group of monks living in isolation in Alaska? What if humans met another alien species that could only communicate through religious symbolism? I'm getting all sorts of ideas already.

And with no further ado, my tardy Booking Through Thursday post:

Pick up the nearest book. (I’m sure you must have one nearby.)
Turn to page 123.
What is the first sentence on the page?
The last sentence on the page?
Now . . . connect them together….
(And no, you may not transcribe the entire page of the book–that’s cheating!)

The book: The Collected Stories by Amy Hempel

1st sentence: I was the one they sent when it was Halloween night and Miss Locey couldn't move.

Last sentence: I told her what we ever did was to pack an extra mask so we could visit the same house twice, a house that gave Mars bars, for example.

I was the one they sent when it was Halloween night and Miss Locey couldn't move. We all sighed a deep sigh of relief. When her arthritis acted up, we were safe. Or safer at least. You can't be sure of anything when your orphanage is made of gingerbread and the headmistress is a witch. I knew very well that this night, this Halloween night, every one else's welfare depended on me. If I got enough candy to fortify the chocolate lacing and gumdrop planters, Miss Locey's temper would be in good humor, and chances were good she wouldn't throw one of the kids into the oven to turn them into gingerbread kids. I was taking Tracy with me, and she was a newbie who thought her parents still loved her and would find her eventually. I told her what we ever did was to pack an extra mask so we could visit the same house twice, a house that gave Mars bars, for example.


Debi said...

Wow, Kim! That was amazing! I don't think I could have connected those two sentences, let alone that imaginatively, if I'd have had 10 years to do it.

I couldn't agree with you more about science/religion! I just do not understand why so many find the two mutually exclusive. My husband teaches a class on evolution, and it is amazing how ugly some people are to him because of it. I just don't get it.

Carl V. said...

Glad you enjoyed the religion and science fiction discussion. It was fun and an honor to be asked to participate in it. I love the Mind Meld series, they are always enjoyable.

Andi said...

I'm with you on the way that science fiction and religion mesh. One of my favorites writers - C.S. Lewis - does a great job of combining the two in his Space Trilogy.

Kim L said...

debi-well thank you :-) Yeah I don't get it either. Education means learning, which means we must (gasp) consider different points of view. Sometimes people are afraid of learning, though.

carl-I very much enjoyed your response to the question! I thought it was a great perspective to bring to the discussion, great food for thought.

andi-I couldn't agree more. CS Lewis is an amazing writer and I admire him very deeply.

Alice Teh said...

That's great connection, Kim! Very cool. I want to do it too. Hehe...

Kim L said...

alice-you should definitely try this meme. It is a fun chance to use some creative writing :-)