Now that I have spent the last year absorbing Philip K. Dick’s Exegesis I would have to put his writing at the top of the list for “religion in sci-fi”! There were 900 pages edited down from over 9000 pages of Dick’s exploration of the religious experience/mental breakdown he had in 1974. Dick never firmly concluded much, but his multiple hypotheses about the nature of reality are fascinating. One of his theories is that reality is perceived as a field on which something beyond it, intrinsically totally undetectable, impinges. That something is Dick’s version of God. I found so much within this tome that resonated with me that I have decided to change the title of my current work in progress from Ride-along Cassidy And The Cosmic Cabbie to Perturbations Of The Reality Field as an homage to Dick.
Ubik, by Philip K. Dick, is all about the nature of reality and the soul. If I had read Ubik before plunging half-way through his Exegesis I would have missed much of the meaning. Even so, this is a complicated book that could be analyzed indefinitely. It begins with a relatively simple concept of frozen bodies in “coldpacs” so that their souls continue in “half-life” before fading away towards heaven or hell. Sort of a high tech purgatory? When one character, Runciter, visits his half-dead wife to speak with her about how to handle problems in their joint business venture, a problem arises. He is told, “She exists. She just can’t contact you.” He replies, “A metaphysical difference which means nothing to me.” Metaphysical details dominate the rest of the story, although they are well hidden behind the bizarre plotline. xxx
Beyond The Elastic Limit: An Epic Fable by Howard Loring is a great time travel story. The setting is a cosmos in which God, unsatisfied with the way mortals were handling things, stepped in personally with a clear Mandate to spread life throughout the galaxy and with the technology to do it. This occurred, however, in the distant past of the Golden Age of Primus. The story begins near the completion of the Mandate and involves holy war, heresy, and an interesting twist on the end times, or perhaps a new beginning.
I just finished Hugh Howey’s Wool, omnibus edition. My rave reviews are posted elsewhere. For this blog, I want to say that the only overt mention of religion was that the Silo had priests. Where they were, we don’t know. We never meet them. The heroine, Juliette says, “… the priests said it had always been here, that it was lovingly created by a caring God, that everything they would ever need had been provided for … What god would make so much rock below and air above and just a measly silo between?… man wasn’t supposed to exceed his bounds” Despite the lack of religious content within the story, the metaphysical symbolism that encloses this world is powerful, and given the solid reality of the setting, surprising.
Fernandez says, in Hypnagogic Shifters: Superpostion, “… throughout history, humankind has murdered humankind, battling in hostile hatred over a mere possibility (God). Ask from the immaterial and insanity shall be received.” Now, that is an original sin that I tried to wash away in my first novel, The Fifth Prophet. I started writing before Obama was elected, and I prophesied, among other things, that Hilary Clinton would be the next president. I was wrong about that, but I was right about many other things. Now, I wonder if I was just a few years too early in my predictions of Armageddon. Should I, can I, update the story to today? Probably not. It is quite relevant to the current world situation as it is.
Besides, I have fallen into a new series, and I probably can not return. Ride-along Cassidy and the Cosmic Cabbie has begun and I am developing an entirely new universe.
“For all of humanity will never fly, but a few souls get wings,” is a quote from deep within Hypnagogic Shifters: Superposition by Penelope Fernandez. Since I am currently wandering around inside the trees of this story, I can’t see the forest from here, but I hope that the main character, Blaz, is one who gets his wings.
In Xenocide Orson Scott Card has Ender Wiggin say, “A real god doesn’t care about control. A real god already has control of everything that needs controlling.” Now the first sentence is a comment that could have come from the lips of my Fifth Prophet himself. And he would add that a real god doesn’t want to be worshipped either. But thinking about that should take you back to the beginning of my Family of Man quintet.
The second sentence is more troubling, as it sticks it’s nose right into the issue of free will. Is a soul ready to do evil in need of control?
Now that the blog software seems to be working I’ve decided to post more frequently, rather than waiting for a full review of the books I’m reading. We’ll see if that draws any comments from my “fans”.
For what it’s worth, my four months of consignment of my books to the best local bookstore in the area produced one sale. Since the consignment was a 50-50% deal with the bookstore that was a net loss. However, chalk it up to marketing. Besides, since they bought The Fifth Prophet there is some hope the mystery reader will purchase the rest of the series.
A new series is exploding inside my marketing weary mind. It is probably uncontainable, but I do feel like a tree falling in the forest at times.
I’m reading Orson Scott Card’s Xenocide, a book full of philosophy/religion, ethics, and many other cool deep thoughts. Grego, the physicist, and his brother, Olhado, are in a prison cell working on a theory for FTL. Their sister, Valentine, enters to find Grego laying on a bed with his feet up on the wall, listening to music. Although it seems that this theory will involve “wishing makes it so”, I liked the following less “fantastic” line.
“Grego’s doing math in his head right now,” said Olhado, “so he’s functionally dead.”
The multiple meanings are intriguing. Grego is producing no output? And receiving no input variables either. Yet, live functions must be wriggling through his consciousness. Or does Grego’s math not involve functions at all, since they may involve a “wish” predicate? Does thinking mathematics make you non-functioning?
When Grego returns to “functional life” he goes on to describe “unreal realspace”, and the outside of the infinite universe. And off we go into the ectometaverse without seeing the multiverse?
Reading Xenocide by Orson Scott Card. “The gods are naked, and we must clothe them.”
In this part of the story Qing-jao, one of the godspoken, must discover the cause of the disappearance of the fleet. She can find no reason, except that the gods did it. But revealing that is a problem because only the godspoken are “allowed to see that they (the gods) are the cause of all that is and was and will be.”
Card has developed a system that merges scientific reality with religious belief. Now, what does he do with it?