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Don't skip the introduction of this book. It set an amazing context to how to approach the stories. Most of the stories are amazing, I just found one or two stories verbose and all over the place which you can skim through. Highly recommended if you are a into sci-fis & fantasies.
I haven’t finished reading this book yet, but the first few stories and the introductory essay are so compelling that I had to go ahead and write a review. In the intro, editor Andy Dibble suggests that speculative fiction is uniquely qualified to examine religion because it deals in emotions as well as facts—rather than merely describing someone’s lifestyle, it tells us how a person feels about their life. When you’re trying to understand a belief system, sentiment cannot be removed from the equation.
With that in mind, the stories in this anthology have been chosen not only for their excellent writing and layered characters, but for the windows they provide into real-world belief systems. Even when those religions are placed forward in history by several hundred years, or combined with advanced technology, the people in the stories act as people always have: with prejudice, faith, anger, hope, bitterness, isolation, belonging, compassion.
And by using speculative fiction to distance us from events that are all-too familiar in our world, we gain perspective. A bird’s-eye view into our own souls, in a way.
This collection of SF stories explores religion and spirituality from a variety of perspectives, which is a welcome change from the usual "Western Religions in Space." The characters tells stories in which their faith is a central component, rather than an afterthought, and the broad canvas of science fiction and fantasy permits the writers to address some weighty issues in unusual circumstances.
As a bonus, the publisher brought in academics who provide commentary and discussion questions for each story, making this a useful text for the classroom.
Can science fiction and fantasy help to think meaningfully think about theology? As aC.S. Lewis fanatic I say yes. These 20 stories run the gamut of religions and settings. From the serious "Al Muftiyah" space story of an interstellar hajj to the humerous "Irwin and Roskin Make a Discovery of Universal Importance" deep space story of opposing views of the existence of God.
Someone once said that religion is the most dialectical thing of all, what with its leaps back and forth from pure mythology to absolute truth (or at least claims to the latter), from dazzling storytelling to metaphysics. This volume engages with that dialectic in ways that are striking and fresh; it deserves to be widely read.
I loved the premise of this anthology. I found the discussion questions after each short story very insightful, and thought provoking. I love reading speculative fiction that doesn't shy away from irl religions. My favorite story included was Dying Rivers and Broken Hearts, I love good speculative historical fantasy, and it has a very cool culturally rooted take on witches that I enjoyed.