Sacred Space: The Quest for Transcendence in Science Fiction Film and Television

Sacred Space: The Quest for Transcendence in Science Fiction Film and Television


By (author) Douglas E. Cowan

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  • Publisher: Baylor University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 326 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 224mm x 25mm | 567g
  • Publication date: 15 August 2010
  • Publication City/Country: Waco
  • ISBN 10: 1602582386
  • ISBN 13: 9781602582385
  • Sales rank: 1,005,741

Product description

As humans, it is our trust in something larger than ourselves that invests our lives with meaning and value. We hope that outside the boundaries of everyday living there lies something greater. As Doug Cowan argues, science fiction is the genre of possibility and hope, a principal canvas on which writers, artists, and filmmakers have sketched their visions of this transcendent potential for generations. In Sacred Space, he leads readers in a compelling exploration of how this transcendence is manifested in science-fiction cinema and television of today. From the millennial dreams of a future bright with potential to the promise of evolution from some as-yet-undreamed engine of creation, science fiction's visions of transcendence animate the pages of Sacred Space. Drawing on the most popular examples -- Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Babylon 5, and Stargate SG-1 -- as well as the lesser known but no less important, Cowan reveals the multivalent religious ideas present in this media. Why do these themes that consistently appear in science fiction matter? What do they reveal about the often ambivalent relationship between outer space and our spirits? Cowan insightfully shows how these films and shows express and reinforce culturally constructed conceptions of transcendent hope, and along the way provides a provocative reflection on what this ultimately says about our culture's worldviews, hopes, and fears.

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Author information

Douglas E. Cowan (Ph.D. University of Calgary) is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Social Development Studies, Renison College, University of Waterloo. The author or editor of nine books, his most recent publications include: Cults and New Religions: A Brief History (with David G. Bromley, 2007), Cyberhenge: Modern Pagans on the Internet (2005), and Religion Online: Finding Faith on the Internet (with Lorne L. Dawson; 2004).

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To infinity and beyond, SciFi's missions to find humanity's great purpose

Table of contents

CONTENTS Preface Part I. Science Fiction and the Quest for Transcendence 1. The Brightness against the Black 2. Pinocchio's Galaxy Science Fiction and the Question of Transcendence 3. First Contact Human Exceptionalism in the Calculus of Hope 4. "Intellects Vast and Cool and Unsympathetic" The War of the Worlds and the Transcendence of Modernity Part II: Science Fiction and the Modes of Transcendence 5. Heeding the Prophet's Call Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 6. The von Daniken Paradox Stargate SG-1 7. All Alone in the Night Babylon 5 8. So Say We All Battlestar Galactica 9. The Truth is Out There Transcendence and the Neverending Quest Filmography Bibliography Index