Any Catholic Science Fiction readers/writers here?

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Supercollider
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Any Catholic Science Fiction readers/writers here?

Post by Supercollider »

There're only so many times one can re-read A Canticle for Leibowitz! :lol: Or Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow and Children of God, which I discovered recently. Of course there are a few others and there's C.S. Lewis who's beloved by many Catholics and there's Tolkien. But if you are Catholic and enjoy Science Fiction, please post! If you write it, good for you! I'm starting to. :)

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Re: Any Catholic Science Fiction readers/writers here?

Post by Asp Zelazny »

I have read all the titles you have mentioned, and especially enjoyed Russel's The Sparrow. If you enjoy books with the Christian/Catholic mindset, though no overt theology, I'd recommend the books of Theodore Sturgeon (a Golden Age SF writer), who brought a degree of that kind of humanity to his writing. Similarly, Zenna Henderson's books of The People -- The People: No Different Flesh, Holding Wonder, Pilgrimage, and The Anything Box.

If modern theological research into how the Church became what it is interests you (though not SF -- though the gnostic gospels smack of it): check out the writings of Elaine Pagels -- she presents a clear analysis of the early gospels including the gnostic gospels of the Nag Hammadi find, that lays out the competing views of the early church founders and the politics that shaped the church and current beliefs. If you ever wondered what the "Fathers of the Church" were railing against in their condemnation of the "heretics" -- here you can find out the other side of the arguments.

I'm Catholic by birth and education, and Jesuit-trained; I respect religious belief, but no longer practice it. Not up for theological/religious discussion, but I thought I'd share some titles with you.

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Re: Any Catholic Science Fiction readers/writers here?

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Thank you for the suggestions - a friend of mine introduced me to Zenna Henderson just this year! :D I enjoy her writing very much. Last week I did finally get around to reading the classic A Case of Conscience by James Blish, the one about the Jesuit priest who exorcises a planet. It was interesting and the ending kind of mysterious and open to interpretation, IMO. At least, for me it was, and the novel was written in the 50s, so had a pre-Vatican II flavor.

I'm actually a rare bird, a still-practicing Catholic who is looking to write (and read, if I can find any) science fiction that at least partway affirms the Faith taught by the Magisterium. The Gnostic stuff I know about due to the popularity of The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, which (for me) was fun as a thriller but not my cup of tea theologically.

I hope I don't sound overly critical, because I am glad you're willing to reply because I know I'm sort of a "niche market," LOL! :lol:

What do you think of C.S. Lewis's Space Trilogy if you've read it? That's kind of an inspiration for the novel I'm writing.

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Re: Any Catholic Science Fiction readers/writers here?

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Yes, I remember reading C.S. Lewis' Perelandra trilogy way back in my teens, around the time I also was introduced to Lewis' Screwtape Letters (which, if you are not familiar with it, is a novel that posits a lesser demon (Screwtape) writing "progress reports" to his supervisor devil. Very Christian storyline, and funny in a sort of sad way when looked at now, but worth a read.

I quite enjoyed the first 2 books of the Perelandra trilogy, but still remember the last book quite falling flat, when it stopped storytelling and became expository religiousity. Avoid that trap, and you'll likely have an interesting book. As a completely irrelevant aside, I remember reading (can't quote the source anymore) that Tolkien and Lewis were very good friends, and the character of Merlin that appears in That Hideous Strength is an homage to the Middle Earth series, in that Merlin is supposed to be the 5th wizard of Middle Earth, otherwise unnamed.

As far as Dan Brown's "work" in my opinion, while it was a rousing action-packed ramble, it was full of grammatical and even some spelling errors, to say nothing of errors of logic and fact. It was a phemonenon that didn't deserve the hype it got, in fact, would likely have remained in well-deserved obscurity except for the hype. (not to be judgemental or anything :) )

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Re: Any Catholic Science Fiction readers/writers here?

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Hi Asp, thanks for the reply! :D That Hideous Strength was a different book than the first two in the Lewis trilogy, I'll grant you that - I liked it though. Perelandra was my favorite in the Space Trilogy.

The Da Vinci Code did suffer from a lot of infodumps in the form of lectures by one character or another. Plus sentences such as the following, which I can't resist quoting - from Chapter 94: "As Remy gazed down the embankment at the duck pond below, Chateau Villette seemed miles away." Well, I would hope so, as the scene is taking place in London, and Chateau Villette is back in France! :roll:

I'm thinking humor and adventure (hopefully better written! :wink: ) will balance my novel's theologically serious points. And, it may be for a niche market, that's fine with me. I won't know more until I get a decent draft or even after revision.

At any rate, I'm enjoying chatting with you. Yes, I've also read Screwtape Letters - I really liked it, too.

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Re: Any Catholic Science Fiction readers/writers here?

Post by SanctaFutura »

I'm working on my first book in what will become a series of Catholic science fiction novels. You can read a bit about it here: http://scificatholic.blogspot.com/2012/ ... uture.html. I've read lots of speculative fiction of all sorts, but I'm not sure if any of it has directly influenced the novel I'm currently working on. There's probably some Heinlein lurking in the background (I loved his stories of spunky young people making a life for themselves among the stars, but his later stuff didn't do much for me). I also loved Zenna Henderson, and I think there will be a bit of her in there, too.

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Re: Any Catholic Science Fiction readers/writers here?

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Oh, yay! This thread lives! :cheers: Nice to make your acquaintance, SanctaFutura! I'm plugging away on my Catholic-themed NaNoWriMo science fiction novel. I got pretty behind, so don't know if I'll make the 50,000 word goal by November 30th or not.

I've been to the scificatholic blog and I do like it - must visit again - thanks for the reminder! Good luck with your writing!

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Re: Any Catholic Science Fiction readers/writers here?

Post by SanctaFutura »

Thanks for visiting my NaNoWriMo scifi novel blog. Come back sometime and let me know about the novel you are working on.

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Re: Any Catholic Science Fiction readers/writers here?

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Hi again, SanctaFutura! My novel is based on the following premise - aliens who went so far as to develop interstellar travel without having committed Original Sin. They would have evolved and gone through a pre-ensouled period of time, where their competitive or aggressive acts didn't "count against them" - but when they got sentience and souls, they did much better than humans did. UNTIL . . . they came across Earth in their travels. :smt103 Then they are tempted - and their own Fall occurs.

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Re: Any Catholic Science Fiction readers/writers here?

Post by SanctaFutura »

Sounds interesting. How far along have you gotten? I'm still outlining, but will start writing in the next day or two. NaNoWriMo got me inspired, but I'll actually be starting to write about the time NaNoWriMo ends!

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Re: Any Catholic Science Fiction readers/writers here?

Post by Nomad »

What everyoned theological thoughts on Battlestar Galacticas' storyline. (The latest series)
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"just what is 'Key of Light' Anyway?" -Nommy

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Re: Any Catholic Science Fiction readers/writers here?

Post by Asp Zelazny »

That actually sounds like a very interesting premise, SC. There's meat there to build an excellent story.

As I think about the concept, though, I would have a few concerns, primarily in reference to their origin story or the basic theological underpinning: If we consider the basic paradigm of the Edenic myth, the forbidden item was either "intelligence" or at least "self-awareness" which allowed active choice and then purposefully going against the tenets of a controlling God -- creating "sin." It would seem to me (debate-able of course) that self-awareness/intelligence is a prime and necessary force for social evolution and technological advance. A race given an Edenic existence would have been given everything that was needed for their existence right where they were, and there would be no reason to reach for the stars, or anywhere beyond the banana-tree branch.

What would be the motivating factor that would move them forward, either "pre-sensouled" or with sentience?

And I sure hope that you don't blame Earth snakes again ... they've gotten a totally undeserved rap. :)

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