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Science Fiction Theology: Beauty and the Transformation of the Sublime

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Science fiction imagines a universe teeming with life and thrilling possibility, but also hidden and hideous dangers. Christian theology, often a polemical target for science fiction, reflects on the plenitude out of which and for which the universe exists. In Science Fiction Theology, Alan Gregory investigates the troubled relationship between science fiction and Christia Science fiction imagines a universe teeming with life and thrilling possibility, but also hidden and hideous dangers. Christian theology, often a polemical target for science fiction, reflects on the plenitude out of which and for which the universe exists. In Science Fiction Theology, Alan Gregory investigates the troubled relationship between science fiction and Christianity and, in particular, how both have laid claim to the modern idea of sublimity. To the extent that science fiction has appropriated—and reveled—in the sublime, it has persisted in a sometimes explicit, sometimes subterranean, relationship with Christian theology. From its seventeenth-century beginnings, the sublime, with its representations of immensity, has informed the imagining of God. When science fiction critiques or reinvents religion, its writers have engaged in a literary guerrilla war with Christianity over what is truly sublime and divine. Gregory examines the sublime and its implicit theologies as they appear in early American pulp science fiction, the horror writing of H. P. Lovecraft, science fiction narratives of evolution and apocalypse, and the work of Philip K. Dick. Ironically, science fiction’s tussle with Christianity hides the extent to which the sublime, especially in popular culture, serves to distort the classical Christian understanding of God, secularizing that God and rendering God’s transcendence finite. But by turning from the sublime to a consideration of the beautiful, Gregory shows that both Christian and science-fictional imaginations may discover a new and surprising conversation.


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Science fiction imagines a universe teeming with life and thrilling possibility, but also hidden and hideous dangers. Christian theology, often a polemical target for science fiction, reflects on the plenitude out of which and for which the universe exists. In Science Fiction Theology, Alan Gregory investigates the troubled relationship between science fiction and Christia Science fiction imagines a universe teeming with life and thrilling possibility, but also hidden and hideous dangers. Christian theology, often a polemical target for science fiction, reflects on the plenitude out of which and for which the universe exists. In Science Fiction Theology, Alan Gregory investigates the troubled relationship between science fiction and Christianity and, in particular, how both have laid claim to the modern idea of sublimity. To the extent that science fiction has appropriated—and reveled—in the sublime, it has persisted in a sometimes explicit, sometimes subterranean, relationship with Christian theology. From its seventeenth-century beginnings, the sublime, with its representations of immensity, has informed the imagining of God. When science fiction critiques or reinvents religion, its writers have engaged in a literary guerrilla war with Christianity over what is truly sublime and divine. Gregory examines the sublime and its implicit theologies as they appear in early American pulp science fiction, the horror writing of H. P. Lovecraft, science fiction narratives of evolution and apocalypse, and the work of Philip K. Dick. Ironically, science fiction’s tussle with Christianity hides the extent to which the sublime, especially in popular culture, serves to distort the classical Christian understanding of God, secularizing that God and rendering God’s transcendence finite. But by turning from the sublime to a consideration of the beautiful, Gregory shows that both Christian and science-fictional imaginations may discover a new and surprising conversation.

34 review for Science Fiction Theology: Beauty and the Transformation of the Sublime

  1. 5 out of 5

    Darren

    I only read about half, but most of that was focused on older sci-fi, not newer, so I wasn't very interested. I only read about half, but most of that was focused on older sci-fi, not newer, so I wasn't very interested.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

  3. 4 out of 5

    Steve Laube

  4. 4 out of 5

    J.W.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Taylor Schnuerle

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rick Davis

  7. 4 out of 5

    Eldorankin

  8. 4 out of 5

    Steve Walker

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ambrose Miles

  10. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alex Strohschein

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joe

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  15. 5 out of 5

    Megan

  16. 5 out of 5

    Text Mess

  17. 4 out of 5

    April Vinding

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bert

  19. 5 out of 5

    Matt Sheffield

  20. 5 out of 5

    Allison

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alexis Neal

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mark

  23. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

  24. 4 out of 5

    Josh

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dana

  26. 5 out of 5

    Brian Bojo

  27. 5 out of 5

    Leo

  28. 5 out of 5

    Calvin Sun

  29. 4 out of 5

    James

  30. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Carr

  31. 4 out of 5

    David Larson

  32. 4 out of 5

    Abby Tamkin

  33. 4 out of 5

    Hans Schmidt

  34. 5 out of 5

    Cal Popa

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