[Note: the title means what it says. These are a few random thoughts that occurred to me while I was reading yesterday, because there seemed to be a congruence between what I was reading and thoughts about science fiction that have been troubling me for some time. I have not attempted to turn this into a coherent essay, nor do I know whether I will try to do so in future.]
I have been troubled for some time by science fictions that involve god as an active participant in the events of the story. This occurs in books as varied as Forever Free by Joe Haldeman and Mainspring by Jay Lake. In this, I am making no complaint about the appearance of religion in a science fiction novel, since religion is part of the experience of being human. But the idea that a god, a supernatural being, might play a direct and practical role in human affairs seems to me to run counter to something intrinsic in science fiction.
I have the same troubled feeling when I encounter stories that feature a timeless war between the forces of good and evil. It feels out of place in something that presents itself as science fiction.
And yet I have never been able to put my finger on precisely what it is that makes me uneasy about this. Continue reading