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Mainstream Science Fiction and Fantasy
|Sample Quote and/or Description|
|Patricia Anthony||God's Fires. New York: Ace Books (1997)||mixed||1600||[During the Portuguese Inquisition, the crash-landing of a space ship presents a devastating moral dilemma when the Jesuits capture and imprison three beings, who escape the crash, and must confront the question about who or what these mysterious beings are.];
"Porra! Am I not worthy? I have been damned by sniveling Dominicans and... Cistercians; and yet before each battle Jesuits petitioned God for me. What sort of father are you, who would turn his back on a son who disobeyed Rom for you, who slaughtered Spaniards when you asked? Damn you Jesuits to Hell for serving the Holy Office. For leading this country from one war to another..."
|James Blish||A Case of Conscience. (1958)||?||2150?||This is a classic and important pioneering work in modern religious-themes science fiction. A variety of religious issues are explored in this about a Jesuit priest who gradually comes to believe that a planet full of intelligent, rational lizards is actually of Satanic origin.|
|David Brin||Earth. New York: Bantam (1990)||neutral||2038||[Jesuits are mentioned only in passing.] Pg. 208:
At minimum you've drawn an intriguing sophistry to delight your fellow Franciscans. And those neo-Gaian Jesuits, if they haven't thought of it already.
|Frank Herbert||Dune. (1965)||-||14000||The two central religious groups portrayed in Dune are the Fremen (Zensunnis), who are based to some extant on Muslims, especially Sufis, and the Bene Gesserit. "Gesserit" may be a transformation of "Jesuit." There are many obvious similarities between the powerful Bene Gesserit order and the Jesuit Society of Jesus. The appendix section detailing religious history of the far-future setting in the novel specifically cites Islam and Catholicism as important predecessor religions of the future religious environment.|
|James Morrow||Towing Jehovah. New York: Harcourt Brace and Co. (1994)||?||1994||One of the main characters in the book is Thomas Ockham, of the Society of Jesus. This is a very well-developed character, playing the role of the religious seeker in this novel about an expedition to retrieve a giant corpse from the Arctic, which many believe is the body of God.|
|Mary Doria Russell||The Sparrow. New York: Ballantine (1996)||positive||2019-2021
|This is one of most popular SF novels in recent years to explore religious themes. The "Sparrow" is famed as being the "Jesuits in Space" novel. It involves a Jesuit expedition to the first extraterrestrial sentient society that humans encounter. The author read dozens of biographies by current and former Jesuits in preparing to write this novel.|
|Mary Doria Russell||Children of God. New York: Ballantine (1997)||positive||2061||Sequel to The Sparrow.|
|Winston P. Sanders||"The Word to Space" (first published 1960). Reprinted in Mayo Mohs (editor), Other Worlds: Other Gods: Adventures in Religious Science Fiction. Garden City, NY: Doubleday (1971)||positive||2100||This is yet another story with a Catholic clergyman/linguist. Radio transmissions from the alien world Akron are detected from Earth, and scientists are excited to learn for the first time about an alien culture. Until, that is, the informative broadcasts are replaced by endless Akronite religious propaganda. A Jesuit linguist solves the problem for Earth and manages to do some reverse missionary work at the same time.|
|Dan Simmons||Hyperion. New York: Doubleday (1989)||mixed||2750||One of the main characters in this Chaucer-Cantebury-format novel is Paul Dure, an archaeologist, ethnologist, and eminent Jesuit theologian. Must of the lengthy section this character narrates deals with his work missionary and Catholic religious leader on the planet Hyperion.|
To be added in more detail: "The Star," one of science fiction grandmaster Arthur C. Clarke's most famous stories. The narrator is implied to be a Jesuit in this story about spacefarers far from Earth who discover the actual Star of Bethlehem.
Web page created 20 December 1999. Last modified 20 July 2004.