Truth in Science Fiction

I often seek theological insights in reading science fiction, because this is a genre eminently suited to explorations of the nature of the Creator and creation. I’m never surprised when I discover that one of my favourite science fiction writers is Christian, because to think about worlds in other galaxies, other modes of being, is a theological enterprise. (L’Engle, 134-135)

L’Engle was known as a children’s writer, with her best known novel, A Wrinkle in Time, essentially being science fiction. I’ve always liked science fiction, though for awhile I didn’t read much fiction, seeing it as a waste of time. In recent years I’ve discovered a real love for fiction and the truth it conveys. Perhaps it’s fitting that a genre like Science Fiction merges the rational and the romantic into a powerful whole that reflects reality back to us.

battlestar.jpgMy favorite TV series of all time is the new Battlestar Galactica. The series is a dark portrayal of what it means to be human and survive. It doesn’t come from a Christian world view, but it gives one of the more positive representations of religion to be found in any TV series.

What I like though, are the questions. The most recent episode, Razors, asked what it means to be a leader and make hard decisions, and it did so without providing an easy answer. When do we love our humanity? When are we no better than the enemy? What level of compromise or violence is necessary to maintain order? When does the letter of the law need to be put aside and grace bestowed?

It’s truth in fiction that causes me to reflect on my own life and learn what it means to be human, and what it means to be a Christ-follower.

But the reality of the outcome of all annunciations is a reality which is scoffed at by most of the world. It is one of the greater triumphs of Lucifer that he has managed to make Christians (Christians!) believe that a story is a lie, that a myth should be outgrown with puberty, that to act in a play is inconsistent with true religion. (L’Engle, 84)

L’Engle, Madeleine. Walking on Water. New York: North Point Press. 1995.