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The Gospel according to Science Fiction: From the Twilight Zone to the Final Frontier Paperback – January 2, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Aliens, spaceships and giant robots may not seem to have much in common with matters spiritual, but in the mind of Harvard-trained writer and blogger McKee, they hold important theological insights. McKee's knowledge of science fiction is impressive. He quotes esoteric short stories from the 1930s alongside contemporary sci-fi and fantasy films, showing an encyclopedic command of the genre. It serves him well as he combs the genre for examples of religious themes such as sin, faith, religious experience, the apocalypse and the afterlife. The author all too briefly touches upon the issue of science and faith, but this can be forgiven in a book primarily about science fiction. "The main goal of SF [science fiction]," writes McKee, "... is to show us how we can face the future and overcome the new challenges that our changing world may develop." By utilizing a solid theological background and culling the world of science fiction literature and films for help, McKee illustrates that organized religion should have a similar goal: "It must be willing to face whatever changes may come and adapt itself to the spiritual questions of the future." This fascinating hybrid of theology and sci-fi is creative, lucid and contains impressive scholarship. (Jan.)
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About the Author
Gabriel McKee earned his Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. He is the author of Pink Beams of Light From the God in the Gutter: The Science-Fictional Religion of Philip K. Dick, as well as articles on religion in popular culture for the Revealer and Nerve.
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Top Customer Reviews
Though he obviously comes from a Christian standpoint, he is very balanced in his treatment, looking positively at pro-theistic and anti-theistic standpoints, as well as works embracing Islamic, Buddhist, and Hindu perspectives. You will never again be able to look at the science fiction genre as anti-religious, or even irreligious. (One juicy tidbit is McKee's very convincing revelation that science fiction is simply the modern aspect of the ancient apocalyptic religious genre.) The primary drawback of this book is that I now have a whole host of new books to read, even though I decided to peruse only about 5% of the books mentioned.
But as the "Star Trek" origins movie opened this year, I searched far and wide for a good spiritual analysis of the series that, as a journalist, I could share with my own readers. I wound up turning to Gabriel's book and even interviewing Gabriel for our "Star Trek" coverage. If you're specifically a Trekkie, though, I should stress-this is a book about the whole genre and the TV series is only one thread that runs through the book.
The volume is very helpful in lifting up specific examples out of a wide variety of sci-fi works, then weaving together the themes into provocative back-and-forth discussions of spiritual principles. I recommend it highly. And partly I'm saying this because Gabriel McKee's analysis here is rare in its scope. You'll find yourself wanting to go back and see a lot of movies, watch some old TV and re-read a bunch of good sci-fi novels.