The Reading List – July 23 – 30

Scientific Mythologies by James Herrick. Herrick basically goes through science fiction and unveils the quasi-religious nature of some the fantasies on offer. A short summary might be this, to borrow from Qohelet: there’s nothing new under the sun – when someone says “Look, something new!”, behold, it has already been. What he basically reveals, but does not say himself, is that science fiction offers authors and interested scientists an outlet for propagating their own preferred worldviews and mythologies in the dress of the future, or aliens, or whatever. These worldviews and myths are simply old ones in these new clothes – e.g. gnosticism, the myth of the Fairly Awesome Land We Haven’t Discovered Yet But Clearly Has A Mountains Of Gold And Maybe A Fountain Of Youth. The book is ok, but I thought his analysis could be tighter, and there are some glaring factual and spelling errors (e.g. talking about Yoda being in A New Hope). All in all, I’ll have an extra set of eyes on when I next read some SF.

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