Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Catholic Science Fiction -- is this the moment?

http://www.francobrambilla.com/
Just a priest and his dog ... oh, yeah, and an alien.
I wonder if the new initiative to "re-evangelize the culture" will result in a spate of Catholic science fiction novels? And what will those be like? Over on my scifi blog, Sancta Futura, I just posted some background on the story I'm working on -- take a look!

Just about the same time I wrote that post, I noticed that one of my Facebook friends had "liked" a FB page for a Catholic science fiction novel that will be published in a few months. It's called Father and Captain, written by Patrick Baum. Here's the blurb on the FB page:
The last Catholic seminarian in the US, forced into exile by the Bureau of Virtue Engineering, must choose between God and family, a life on earth or a life in interstellar space.
I suspect, as we all get more and more discouraged by the direction modern society is headed, we'll see more such things. My own story is set in the distant future, partly because I don't want it simply to be a thinly veiled commentary on our contemporary world, although it does have religious themes (in the background of this first book, although they'll become more prominent later in the series). Speculative fiction, which includes both science fiction and fantasy, is a hugely popular field which definitely needs more contributions from writers with a coherent worldview informed by Christian hope.

That is not to say that we need science fiction stories full of people praying the rosary and quoting the Catechism, necessarily; preachiness -- be it religious, political, ideological, or other -- never makes for good fiction. But I would like to see more stories where the ordinary practice of the Faith is treated like a normal thing. Even more important, however, is a depiction of a world in which Christian truths -- such as the redemptive value of suffering, an acknowledgment of human fallenness without giving in to cynicism or despair, etc. -- undergird the story being told. Dean Koontz has done this in his Odd Thomas novels (which fall more in the horror genre than science fiction).

I hope the field of Catholic science fiction will take off in a big way.


2 comments:

  1. Admittedly, 'Father and Captain' comments on our contemporary world, and I make no apologies for it. It recognizes the frailty of the representative republic and all human systems of government.

    More importantly, Father and Captain is an adventure about sacrifice, redemption, and hope in the near future when humankind finds itself on the cusp of interstellar colonization; when it will be tough going -- no time warps or wormholes for help -- just sheer brute force for propulsion.

    Will Father and Captain be preachy? No, but its Catholic underpinnings will be obvious and by design.

    Thank you, A Catholic Reader, for the mention and remarks!

    Sincerely,
    Patrick Baum
    Father and Captain
    Coming February 2013
    http://www.facebook.com/FatherAndCaptain

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  2. Science fiction novels are very interesting when you read it without distraction from anybody. I prefer reading them alone after the dinner.

    The Equation Book

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