Hi, just wondering if anyone in the forum has fiction titles to suggest that touch on the topic of science and faith.
Greg Bear’s Darwin’s Radio is the first that comes to mind.
Raised by Wolves is a good series ( film ) that covers it on and off. I don’t know of many books that are there to highlight science and faith just stuff with aspects of it tied throughout the film. Probably nothing you’re particularly looking for though I imagine. But definitely interested in the list that may develop.
10xTheTerror podcast has a episode dedicated to science fiction and faith.
it’s hosted by a ex pastor, or maybe he’s still a pastor, and even has some guests that’s been on Biologos before.
A book some of us read on these forums was The Sparrow and its sequel Children of God. Another is A Canticle for Leibovitz.
Without The Children of God, The Sparrow was almost too much to take. Prepare to read both.
Leibowitz must really have made an impression on people. It comes up regularly.
I think Leibovitz was the first sci-fi I ever read. So most of that impression was at the time than in looking back.
Sagan’s “Contact” is worth considering. It’s been decades since I read the book, but the movie does a good job of discussing science and religion in an even handed manner.
Most of the books I can think of are a bit subversive with respect to religion, but a few that come to mind . . .
Herbert’s Dune series. The use of religion to mold civilizations is wound through the whole series, and the relation of society to science is also an undercurrent.
Gene Wolfe’s “Nightside of the Long Sun” takes on the Arthur C. Clarke concept of “advanced science is indistinguishable from magic”. I didn’t read the rest of that series, but the first book was well written.
Russell Simon’s Hyperion Cantos is pretty awesome. Church corruption, advanced AI, one of the best villains in all of sci-fi, and a fun adventure (the Huck Finn parallels are fun too).
And it’s Leibowitz guys, Leibowitz.
As a Christian, I second your motion for Dune, @T_aquaticus. Herbert’s criticisms of institutional religion, if taken seriously, could be valuable preventative medicine for the Church, at least in the U.S.
I think Dune is fairly light on the science of science fiction, but rather incorporates a wide variety of out-of-the-box fictitious technologies as part of the backdrop. Which worked well for me. He was a creative guy and did a lovely job using them as part of his world building.
I love Herbert’s insights into the intricacies of society and power.
Herbert is also a beautiful story-teller. The Dune novels that Frank wrote comprise a Big Story (I hesitate to use the word “romance,” although that is the correct term, but has unrelated baggage associated with it).
I’ll have to write that one out 200 times in my best cursive with my favorite pen, before the German spelling noise is finally overcome by muscle memory.
But ctrl+c, ctrl+v are effective in this environment!
It comes to mind because the faith is utterly unexpected in the science. It’s brief, comes late and is sublime.
Orson Scott Card wrote a book of short Stories “Cruel Miracles.” “Mortal Gods” is a particularly memorable story in that collection. AND the introduction Card wrote for that book is marvelous. It starts with the thesis, “Science Fiction is the last bastion of religious literature in America.” He contrasts this with “inspiration literature” which he characterizes with this paraphrase “ain’t it wonderful that we have the truth and isn’t it too bad about all the poor saps which don’t.”
Orson Scott Card, who is LDS BTW, touches on religion often in his books. For example, “Speaker for the Dead” is about a Catholic colony on a first contact world of “primitive” aliens. This is a continuation of Card’s famous book “Ender’s Game” which was made into a movie. This is many centuries later when Ender has written a book “Hive Queen and the Hegemon” condemning the genocide in the first book. Ender (still alive because of frequent relativistic space travel) visits the colony in the role of a “speaker for the dead” who can be summoned by anyone to speak the truth about a person who has died (inspired by the book Ender wrote which was written under the name “Speaker for the Dead”). There is, of course, considerable conflict with the church which rules over the colony.
But… I think a resolution between science and religion is something which Card, like many other science fiction authors, simply assumes has come to pass. This is after all only rational if we expect humanity to survive long enough to travel to the stars… especially if this is a future in which religion survives as well.
In Alan Dean Fosters humanx books, he has a human and a thranx getting together to establish their own church which becomes quite popular and powerful in the humanx federation. It is interesting to see what this author thinks is worth keeping from the religions we have now.
I just listened to a really fun radio drama as a recently released podcast. The show is “ Dimension X “ and the episode was “ Universe “. It was released on 26 November 1950. It’s a science fiction story that is about a ark ( spaceship ) that has been roaming for a long time in space unmanned. The upper class are humans that are beautiful and the lower class are mutants ( not superhuman but deformed ). The inferior people are locked away on one side of the ship and the beautiful humans on the other and they’ve developed a very fundamentalistic faith that ignores all science. A mutant discovers why their faith is a lie and recruits a human.
This story definitely touches base with many of our current issues of religious and political fanatics rejecting evidence , even clear cut evidence. Really cool story though. Only half a hour long episode.
I guess most sci-fi books reflect the beliefs of the author. The beliefs and religions told in the stories may be fiction but the author does not invent them from a neutral standpoint.
It is also common that the beliefs of the author are seen more clearly towards the end of a series.
The Hyperion Canthos series is no exception.
I hope that we would get more inspiring sci-fi written by believing Christians, especially captivating sci-fi. I have noted that many books and films are not captivating enough - I may start to read or watch but stop after some time because the story does not suck the reader or watcher inside in a way that would captivate my attention.
Of course C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy is a classic.
Out of the Silent Planet
That Hideous Strength
Early science fiction and thus very outdated but good reading. I continue to read the first book every few years.
It certainly tries to make Christianity the center of entire universe (or at least center of the solar system anyway). It is a great deal more reasonable to think that Christianity is about the Earth and humanity, not about the entire universe.
Are you looking for anything in particular? What do you like aready?
There are a few newer Christian publishers out now, that are publishing speculative fiction, kind of spans science fiction and fantasy and some steam punky themes. I’m most familiar with Enclave from my work in our former church’s library. I think the term “speculative” is also supposed to be more appealing to evangelicals who are squeamish about science.
Chris Wally’s Lamb Among the Stars juvenile series ( about 12 to 16 years old) was fun, if you don’t mind younger stuff.
If you do a google search on “christian speculative fiction” you’ll get started.
From Enclave, I really liked Morgan Busse’s Ravenwood series, but was also for teens, really great female protagonist. Busse’s written quite a lot. There’s a steam punk series by her I wanted to try but haven’t gotten to yet. I think that was published by someone else, though, not enclave.
Or all three.
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.