Science fiction does not always “get” religion

Anyone who loves science fiction as a literary genre soon discovers that there’s typically little respect for authority and less for religious beliefs in most author’s works. It’s not surprising therefore that religion, organized or not, gets pretty beat-up in most science fiction novels and films.

Charlie Jane Anders has collected seven examples of this and posted them in a self described rant online:

“Religion is a huge part of science fiction – and it makes the genre better and more fascinating, as Battlestar Galactica proved. But there are seven mistakes SF should avoid in portraying the spiritual realm.

BSG wouldn’t have been nearly as epic if it hadn’t included spiritual themes from the beginning. The inclusion of religious elements added a way bigger scope and grandeur to the story of humanity’s last remnants struggling to survive – and it was realistic, since you’d expect people to be asking the big theological questions in that situation.

In general, religion and spiritual topics are a huge part of science fiction – if you’re really determined to avoid them altogether, you’re probably stuck with a few golden age novels, and a handful of Lost In Space reruns. But just like other science fiction elements, like first contact, time travel and space battles, science fictional religion can be done well – or it can be cheesy and weird.”

Read the full article here.

The recently concluded Battlestar Galactica series appears prominently in item number 4: “The all-purpose patch for lazy writing”…

My favorite, reasonably respectful treatment of religion in science fiction continues “Deep Space 9”. Have you seen better?

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