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April 04, 2008

The Lord sure makes some beautiful worlds

Watching Forbidden Planet again for the first time in ages, I was struck by a line from the opening scene (screenplay here). Approaching Altair, and their destination, the ship's doctor observes, "The Lord sure makes some beautiful worlds."

The future has changed since the 1950s. Everything from the ship's interior design to the uniforms suggested rationality and efficiency but more than that a self-confidence and a certainty about who we were as a civilization. I enjoy Blade Runner's tech noir as much as anyone - more than most - but am at a loss as to how we decided the future was no longer something worth fighting for.* And there was the Captain's seemingly off-hand observation, made all the more remarkable for its being an off-hand observation. "The Lord sure makes some beautiful worlds." I could not remember another time such an explicitly Christian sentiment was expressed in a major science fiction film. Is there something in the genre, or sf writers, antithetical to expressions of faith?

It is a happy coincidence SF Signal has been thinking along the same lines (via Technoccult).

Q: Two of the most highly regarded fantasy authors - Tolkien and Lewis - were also Christians, whereas the fathers of science fiction were atheists, and SF itself, it could be argued, grew out of Darwinism and other notions of deep time. Is science fiction antithetical to religion?

Fifteen science fiction authors address the question. Best to read carefully lest ye vanish in a puff of logic.

* If anything, we are now enjoined to "fight the future".

Related: The weather on Arrakis and at the Mountains of Madness.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at April 4, 2008 06:47 AM