Thoughts on Sci-Fi and a New Heinlein Bio

Science fiction is a genre that many Christians view with ambivalence. After all, many of its most prominent writers over the last century have forthrightly (and with relish) predicted a future without God. I have not read thoroughly in this genre, but I do remember some years back encountering an Isaac Asimov short story (can’t recall the name) where an artificial intelligence somehow survives the gradual entropy of the universe and performs a new act of creation by proclaiming, “Let there be light!” You see, Stephen Hawking is not the only atheist who will strain at a gnat and swallow a camel to avoid seeing God.

Yesterday my older brother forwarded me a link to this article from National Review Online reviewing the first volume of a new biography of one of the other great 20th-century sci-fi writers, Robert Heinlein. I learned several things about Heinlein from this piece; for example, I had no idea he had written Horatio-Alger-style novels before he turned to science fiction. (I also learned that Isaac Asimov can be partially blamed for Paul Krugman.) I confess I’ve never made it all the way through a Heinlein novel, even though my brother’s copies of his books littered our house for many years. At that age I was much more interested in dragons and spells than in spaceships and lunar colonies. I hope one day to get around to reading some of Heinlein’s more famous volumes like Starship Troopers, the movie version of which I have been told completely misses the point.

If you like science fiction in general or Heinlein specifically, check out the NRO article and the new biography.

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About Dr. J

I am an Associate Professor and head of the Department of Humanities at Faulkner University. I am also Associate Editor of the Journal of Faith and the Academy.
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One Response to Thoughts on Sci-Fi and a New Heinlein Bio

  1. Jeff Jewell says:

    Actually Heinlein’s “Horatio Alger” stories WERE all sci-fi. He has a huge “juvenile” series for kids. All were basically sci-fi plots and settings with Horatio Alger-style morals and lessons. This is the sci-fi I cut my teeth on as a kid.

    If you want to read just one Heinlein book it should be The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. It is as close as you can get to a libertarian treatise set in space. It is a fantastic book (winner of both the Hugo and Nebula awards I think).

    One warning about The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Heinlein’s non-juvenile books in general: Heinlein’s libertarian streak extended to his views on marriage and human sexuality. He and Ayn Rand have a bit in common in this area, though I think Heinlein’s views on love are quite a bit less “mercenary” than Rands.

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