Fellow orthospherean Joseph of Arimathea sends along word that this coming July, our own Professor Dr. Tom Bertonneau will be a featured speaker at Doxacon, a convention for Christian fans and writers of Science Fiction and Fantasy, sponsored by the Protection of the Holy Mother of God Orthodox Church in Falls Church. Be there and be … spherical?

Joke! I’m sure the discussions at Doxacon will be absolutely fascinating. From Out of the Silent Planet to Count to a Trillion, from Last and First Men to Up Jim River, those trad Christianist geeks will be tripping the light fantastic. In a manner of speaking only, I hasten to add; few things could be more disturbing than the sight of science fiction fans dancing …

I’m putting this in the Civilizational Twilight category, because almost all science fiction and fantasy involves the adventures of a hero in an age that has Fallen from its halcyon days of yore – this Fall being the generator of the Problems the hero must solve. Meaning that science fiction and fantasy are *essentially* traditionalist.

This should hardly suprise us. After all, *reality* is essentially traditionalist, no? That’s why there are regularities in nature, so that there can be science, so that there can be … science fiction.

7 thoughts on “Doxacon

  1. Don’t know why but I was always attracted to fiction and/or fantasy set in ancient or medieval times. E.g. Robert E. Howard, William Morris, Charles Kingsley, etc.

    I never liked sci-fi.

    • Same here. The only real sci-fi that I ever could get into was science fantasy, lol. Star Wars, Warhammer 40k, The Book of the New Sun (and others in the series), etc, that kind of stuff.

      Ancient/Medieval fantasy attracted me deeply, ever since I first stumbled upon it. It was a spiritual connection. I always felt closer to God there then I did in these modern times. It just felt right, I could iexplain it better then that, but I think it will suffice for a blog comment. Something about it just felt….true. I have never been able to shake that feeling.
      BTW while I like Howard and Morris’ stuff, the king is and will always be Tolkien! 🙂
      He did not invent fantasy that’s true, it did exist before his coming…but he was it’s Christ figure, it’s A.D. moment. 😉

      I love to go, but I live nowhere near it. 😦

  2. There are, of course, many sub-genres in the larger literary genre of science fiction. At its best and indeed at its most literary, science fiction is a metaphysical, even a theological genre. I call Bruce B’s attention to my article on H. G. Wells as a religious thinker (“Mysticism and Machinery”) at Angel Millar’s “People of Shambhala” website (it’s easy enough to find). Currently in the science fiction course that I created and regularly teach at SUNY Oswego, the students are reading Olaf Stapledon’s Star Maker (1937), the story of which concerns a consort of intelligent minds seeking contact with the creator-divinity whose existence they intuit from the fact of the cosmos. Our next assignment will be the “Northwest Smith” stories by Catherine L. Moore, the characteristic action of the hero of which consists in his disestablishing the sacrificial cults that disfigure life and claim innocent victims on Mars and Venus. Moore, who wrote for the “pulps” in the 1930s and 40s, had intuitions about the relation of ritual sacrifice to pre-Christian societies that anticipate those of Rene Girard. I recommend Stapledon with the caution that he makes for demanding reading, which is why I task the students with him.

    I thank Kristor for his free advertisement. My Doxacon topic will be Olaf Stapledon.

    • This reminds me that my copy of First and Last Men, which was roughly the second book I ever bought with my own money, came bound with Starmaker, and that it was the latter book that had motivated the purchase. It reminds me also that, at age 11, I found Stapledon very heavy going indeed, and gave up on Starmaker. I shall have to look into it again.

  3. Orson Scott Card argued in his 1990 introductory essay to his short fiction collection _Cruel Miracles_ that science fiction is “the last American refuge of religious literature.” I am not sure whether that is still true or not.

    Looking forward to the conference– I’ll be there to present on Writing SF & Fantasy.


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