Wednesday, July 31, 2013

SUUSI SciFi and Fantasy Recommendations

I had a great time at SUUSI this year leading a workshop on Science Fiction and Fantasy and Religion.  One favorite part of the class was the great reading/viewing list we generated.  I hesitate to some degree to share it with those who weren't part of the class.  On the other hand, it's such a great list of works that others may find engaging.  Please be mindful that this is partly a result of where our particular conversation wandered.  The categories that are short are usually so because they are categories we didn't get to, so they just have my starter items in them.  And yes, there are a couple of things slipped in there that you might not consider SF/Fantasy, but which were a part of our discussion.

Science Fiction and Fantasy and Religion Works
SUUSI 2013
Workshop #152 – Cynthia Landrum

The Nature of God

Avatar (Film)
The Parable of the Sower and The Parable of the Talents – Octavia Butler
The Mists of Avalon – Marion Zimmer Bradley
Contact – Carl Sagan
Star Trek (TV Series and Films)
Stargate SG-1 and Other Stargate Series and Film (TV Series and Film)
Deathbird Stories – Harlan Ellison
Doctor Who (TV Series)
A Fire Upon the Deep – Vernor Vinge
Various Works - Charles DeLint
The God Engines – John Scalzi

Creation

2001: A Space Odyssey – Arthur C. Clark
Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
The Narnia Series – C.S. Lewis
Calculating God – Russell J. Sawyer
Various Works - Charles DeLint

Messiahs and Prophets Real and False (The Chosen One)


The Narnia Series – C.S. Lewis
The Matrix Series (Film)
Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
Dune – Frank Herbert
Star Trek (TV Series and Films)
Stranger in a Strange Land – Robert Heinlein
Harry Potter Series – J.K. Rowling
Dark Tower Series – Stephen King
The Parable of the Sower and The Parable of the Talents – Octavia Butler
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV Series)
The Hero’s Journey – Joseph Campbell
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Grimm (TV Series)
The Black Cauldron and The Chronicles of Prydain Series- Lloyd Alexander
Heroes (TV Series)

Good and Evil (The Force)

Harry Potter Series – J.K. Rowling
The Wrinkle in Time Series – Madeleine L’Engle
Star Wars Series (Film)
The Golden Compass and the His Dark Materials Series– Philip Pullman
The Matrix Series (Film)
Doctor Who (TV Series)
The Lord of the Rings Series and other works – J.R.R. Tolkein
Various Works – Terry Brooks
Various Works – Terry Goodkind
The Black Cauldron and The Chronicles of Prydain Series- Lloyd Alexander
The Wheel of Time Series – Robert Jordan
Grimm (TV Series)
Stargate SG-1 and Other Stargate Series and Film (TV Series and Film)
Once Upon a Time (TV Series)
Farscape (TV Series)
Goblins (Web Comic)
Dungeons and Dragons (Role Playing Game and Books)
Steel Rose – Kara Dalkey
So You Want to Be a Wizard – Diane Duane
Person of Interest (TV Series)
Dexter (TV Series)

Lilith

True Blood (TV Series) and Sookie Stackhouse series – Charlaine Harris
Lilith’s Brood Series – Octavia Butler
The Narnia Series – C.S. Lewis

Belief & Faith

Star Trek (TV Series and Films)
Contact – Carl Sagan
The Matrix Series (Film)

Afterlife

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV Series)
Battlestar Galactica (TV Series)
The Narnia Series – C.S. Lewis
Riverworld Series – Philip José Farmer

Apocalypse (Dystopia)

The Matrix Series (Film)
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
The Parable of the Sower and The Parable of the Talents – Octavia Butler
Always Coming Home – Ursula K. LeGuin

Ethics (The Prime Directive)

I, Robot & Various Works – Isaac Asimov
The Parable of the Sower and The Parable of the Talents – Octavia Butler
Babylon 5 (TV Series)
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
Star Trek (TV Series and Films)
Stargate SG-1 and Other Stargate Series and Film (TV Series and Film)
Childhood’s End – Arthur C. Clark
Time Machine – H.G. Wells
With Folded Hands – Jack Williamson
Wall-E (Film)
World War Z – Max Brooks
Warm Bodies (Film)
1984 – George Orwell
Shaun of the Dead (Film)
We – Eugene Zamiatin
The Sparrow and Children of God – Maria Doria Russell
Anthony York, Immortal –Andre Norton

Free Will and Fate (Time Travel and Prophecy)

The Matrix Series (Film)
1984 – George Orwell
Gattaca (Film)
The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
12 Monkeys (Film)
Childhood’s End – Arthur C. Clark
Doctor Who (TV Series)
Hyperion – Dan Simmons
Slaughterhouse-Five – Kurt Vonnegut
11/22/63 – Stephen King
Groundhog Day (Film)
Lost (TV Series)

Post-911 Themes and Just War

Battlestar Galactica (TV Series)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J.K. Rowling
Enterprise (TV Series)
Doctor Who (TV Series)
Ender’s Game, Xenocide, and Speaker for the Dead – Orson Scott Card
Little Brother – Cory Doctorow

Social Justice

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Avatar (Film)
Planet of the Apes (Film)
Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV Series)
Star Trek (TV Series and Films)
The Maze Runner – James Dashner
Torchwood (TV Series)
The Gate to Women’s Country – Sheri S. Tepper
Various Works - Mercedes Lackey

Agency of Children

A Fistful of Sky – Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Star Trek (TV Series and Films)
Babylon 5 (TV Series)
Doctor Who (TV Series)
Torchwood (TV Series)
Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
Various Works - Patricia C. Wrede
Various Works - Mercedes Lackey

Mind, Self, and Soul (Do Androids Dream)

The Golden Compass and the His Dark Materials Series– Philip Pullman
Harry Potter Series – J.K. Rowling
I, Robot & Various Works – Isaac Asimov
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
Bladerunner (Film) and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick
Battlestar Galactica (TV Series)

Humanism

Star Trek (TV Series and Films)
Doctor Who (TV Series)

Inherent Worth and Dignity

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
Star Wars Series (Film)
Gattaca (Film)

Interdependence
Avatar (Film)
The Word for World is Forest – Ursula K. LeGuin
Ender’s Game, Xenocide, and Speaker for the Dead – Orson Scott Card
Pern Series and Petaybee Series – Anne McCaffrey
Lost (TV Series)
Day After Tomorrow (Film)
Revolution (TV Series)
Waterworld (Film)
The Postman (Film) and The Postman – David Brin
Book of Eli (Film)
Various Works - Mercedes Lackey

Some Additional Works with Religious Themes Mentioned in Class

American Gods and Sandman Series - Neil Gaiman
A Canticle for Leibowitz – Walter M. Miller, Jr.
A Wizard of Earthsea – Ursula K. LeGuin
A Game of Thrones – George R.R. Martin
Various Works - Philip Jose Farmer
Various Works - Arthur C. Clark
The Lathe of Heaven and The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. LeGuin
Various Works - Anne McCaffrey
The Darkover Series – Marion Zimmer Bradley
The Vorkosigan Saga and Various Works – Lois McMaster Bujold
The Dazzle of Day – Molly Glass
Twilight Zone and Various Works – Rod Serling
Various Works - Stanislaw Lem
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
Tales of Alvin Maker Series – Orson Scott Card

9 comments:

Kenneth said...

Oooooh!

I would also put The Sparrow into "Good and Evil," and add Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea books to "Mind, Self, and Soul" both for plot lines and recurrent themes.

It's not about the Prime Directive, but A Door Into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski is definitely about ethics (specifically the ethics of violence).

It's been a while since I've read it, so I'm not sure what category it belongs in, but The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis certainly belongs here, perhaps in "Inherent Worth and Dignity."

Steve Caldwell said...

Here's a suggestion for your list for sci fi stories about messiahs real and imagined:

Behold the Man by Michael Moorcock
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Behold_the_Man_%28novel%29

Cynthia Landrum said...

Thank you! One reason for putting it on this blog is that I was hoping more recommendations would come in, particularly for some of the areas that are still fairly thin.

And not everything in ethics needs to fit with the Prime Directive at all. The PD is just one example of a strong ethical principle in SF.

Tim Bartik said...

On Free Will and Fate, I would particularly recommend the work of Ted Chiang, in particular his short stories "Story of Your Life", and "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate".

On social justice: Ursula K. LeGuin's "The Dispossessed", and
the recently deceased Iain Banks's novel, "The Player of Games".

Tim Bartik said...

And one further thought:

The 1930s novel by philosopher/"scientific romance" UK author Olaf Stapledon, "Star Maker", which, as the title suggests, presents a perspective on God and the nature of the universe. I would describe it as a pantheist perspective, although with plenty of caveats that make it compatible with much of humanism.

Daniel Bontempo said...

In the Mind, Self, and Soul, I would add two more robot movies: Bicentennial Man (1999, and A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001). The first examines mortality/existential issues and the definition of human. The 2nd explores what obligation we might have to a machine if we make a machine that can feel.

Also, overlapping but distinct are issues of technology and transhumanism, which have played out in utopian and dystopian sci-fi literature and film. The ancients of SG-1, the star-child in Clark's 2001, of the Overmind in Clark's Childhood's End. There is also the Greg Bears's Eon where the high-technology descendants of humanity live in the Way, control over genetic engineering, human augmentation, and matter itself are some of the main points of interest.

Unknown said...

Works by James Morrow like Towing Jehova and Blameless in Abaddon deal with a huge variety of theological issues - The Nature of God, Good and Evil, the Nature of Belief, etc.

Barbara S. said...

Surely my two favorite short stories, "The Nine Billion Names of God" and "The Star," belong somewhere on the list. . . .

Joel Monka said...

This movie would fit several categories, and is astonishingly good: The Man From Earth
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0756683/