Religion and Science Fiction

By James F. McGrath (editor)

Multidisciplinary essays on the parallels between religious doctrines and narratives and science fiction, revealing their thematic links and commonalities.

ISBN: 9780718892555


Religion and Science Fiction explores the intersection between two topics that until recently seemed light-years apart. Both religion and science fiction tell stories that reflect on the place of human beings in the universe, good vs. evil, humanity’s future, and at times about the very nature of existence itself. We need not look very far in order to encounter the point of intersection, where on the one hand science fiction takes on religious overtones, and where on the other hand religion takes on an aura of science fiction.

This volume acts as a guide to issues encountered in religion and science fiction, bridging the gap between different works of science fiction, different sub-genres and different themes, creating a multi-disciplinary approach to the subject with theologians, historians, philologists and anthropologists. From Frankenstein, by way of Christian apocalyptic, to Star Wars, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica, the authors who contribute to this volume promote religion and science fiction as multifaceted and multicultural phenomena.

James F. McGrath has created an excellent introduction to academic perspectives on the subject, but of interest and readily accessible to the general reader.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 204

Trade Information LGENPOD

About the Author

James F. McGrath is Associate Professor of Religion and the Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University, Indianapolis. He is the author of John’s Apologetic Christology (2001) and The Only True God (2009).


List of Contributors

Introduction: Religion and Science Fiction / James F. McGrath

1. The Dark Dreamlife of Postmodern Theology: Delicatessen, The City of Lost Children, and Alien Resurrection / Joyce Janca-Aji
2. Sorcerers and Supermen: Old Mythologies in New Guises / C.K. Robertson
3. Star Trekking in China: Science Fiction as Theodicy in Contemporary China / Eriberto P. Lozada Jr.
4. Science Playing God / Alison Bright MacWilliams
5. Looking Out for No. 1: Concepts of Good and Evil in Star Trek and The Prisoner / Elizabeth Danna
6. Robots, Rights, and Religion / James F. McGrath
7. Angels, Echthroi, and Celestial Music in the Adolescent Science Fiction of Madeleine L’Engle / Gregory Pepetone
8. Uncovering Embedded Theology in Science Fiction Films: K-PAX Revealed / Teresa Blythe

Index of Scripture
Index of Subjects
Index of Names


Endorsements and Reviews

Religion and Science Fiction is a blessing to scholars and science fiction fans alike. The ideas engaged by each author – from postmodern post-apocalypticism to dime store heroes and space-faring robots – challenge our assumptions about culture, intellectual life, and even the very essence of what it means to be human. The authors use science fiction to explore religion and religion to elucidate science fiction; this combination gives us a richer understanding of both.
Robert M. Geraci, author of Apocalyptic AI: Visions of Heaven in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality

The editor succeeds in presenting a treatment in which diverse topics are taken into account.
Alessandro Giostra, in Reviews in Religion & Theology, Vol 20, Issue 2

… this apparently frivolous exploration of mechanised morality and robotic religion prompts serious questions about what it means to be a person – and, particularly, a person made in the image of God.
The Rt Revd Dr John Saxbee, in Church Times, 7 June 2013

More than merely fascinating food for thought …
Simon Locke, in Journal of Contemporary Religion, Vol 28, Issue 3

… this work provides well-written essays on science fiction and its critique/use of culture …
James T. Turner Jr, in The Expository Times, Vol 125, No 2

Religion and Science Fiction will be of interested to a wide variety of individuals. Students, instructors and general readers in areas such as film studies, literature, history, philosophy, religious studies and cultural studies will find this an interesting and informative collection. It will also be of interest to fans of a variety of science fiction shows, movies, and books. I commend it to each and every one.
Michael K. Jones, United Church of Canada, in Theological Book Review , Vol 25, No 1