A classic sf novel about a Jesuit whose faith is tested by aliens who, to his shock and horror, seem to get along perfectly well without religion. They must be a plant by Satan to make humans think that a society can function without religion!

While I normally don’t have trouble setting aside my atheism in order to sympathize with religious characters’ crises of faith, this particular dilemma struck me as so profoundly non-troubling and the conclusion he draws from it so remarkably stupid, that I ended up reading the book feeling morally and intellectually superior to the hero. That is not actually an enjoyable experience. Surely the Problem of the Righteous Heathen is one which an intellectual priest would have encountered before?

I'm not quite getting the "classic" nature of this, though the aliens are pretty cool. Was it that most sf didn't tackle religion at all other than via made-up alien religions?

View on Amazon: A Case of Conscience (Del Rey Impact)

In which there is awesome depressingness )
A classic sf novel about a Jesuit whose faith is tested by aliens who, to his shock and horror, seem to get along perfectly well without religion. They must be a plant by Satan to make humans think that a society can function without religion!

While I normally don’t have trouble setting aside my atheism in order to sympathize with religious characters’ crises of faith, this particular dilemma struck me as so profoundly non-troubling and the conclusion he draws from it so remarkably stupid, that I ended up reading the book feeling morally and intellectually superior to the hero. That is not actually an enjoyable experience. Surely the Problem of the Righteous Heathen is one which an intellectual priest would have encountered before?

I'm not quite getting the "classic" nature of this, though the aliens are pretty cool. Was it that most sf didn't tackle religion at all other than via made-up alien religions?

View on Amazon: A Case of Conscience (Del Rey Impact)

In which there is awesome depressingness )
A boy recovering from an illness meets two magical tramps (English homeless people, not promiscuous women) and joins their battle against poorly explained magical evil people.

The entire thing depended on two tropes that annoy me: happy magical homeless people, and a race of motiveless evil people who never actually do anything bad, but are only evil because the heroes say they are. The evil people have glowing green eyes and follow the heroes, but that's all they ever do. When the boy asks what's so bad about them, the tramps explain in horrified tones that the green-eyed people would come to the tramps' world and bring more people like them with them! Probably not intentional, but I couldn't help thinking of a certain strain of anti-immigrant rhetoric: it's not that the immigrants are going to do anything bad per se, it's that their very foreign existence inherently ruins everything.

Weird and not in a good way.

ETA: I should note that Cresswell's Bagthorpes books are really funny, and the reason why I read this.
A boy recovering from an illness meets two magical tramps (English homeless people, not promiscuous women) and joins their battle against poorly explained magical evil people.

The entire thing depended on two tropes that annoy me: happy magical homeless people, and a race of motiveless evil people who never actually do anything bad, but are only evil because the heroes say they are. The evil people have glowing green eyes and follow the heroes, but that's all they ever do. When the boy asks what's so bad about them, the tramps explain in horrified tones that the green-eyed people would come to the tramps' world and bring more people like them with them! Probably not intentional, but I couldn't help thinking of a certain strain of anti-immigrant rhetoric: it's not that the immigrants are going to do anything bad per se, it's that their very foreign existence inherently ruins everything.

Weird and not in a good way.

ETA: I should note that Cresswell's Bagthorpes books are really funny, and the reason why I read this.
.

Most Popular Tags

Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags