Sacred Space : The Quest for Transcendence in Science Fiction Film and Television
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 examplesa Star Wars , Star Trek , Battlestar Galactica , Babylon 5, and Stargate SG-1a 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.
- Paperback | 326 pages
- 152 x 228 x 24.64mm | 500g
- 15 Aug 2010
- Baylor University Press
- Waco, United States
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. Pinocchioas 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 Prophetas 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
An intriguing and entertaining look into some of the questions that science fiction raises, especially what it means to be human, and sometimes more than human....[E]ven casual Trekkies and sci-fi buffs will be engaged by Cowan's interpretations and possibilities. -- Publishers Weekly Highly recommended. Here we learn that science fiction is more than bug-eyed aliens and saucers--and that it often reveals our quest for the sacred. -- John W. Morehead, editor -- www.theofantastique.com Sacred Space is a valuable exploration of the place of God through a particular genre. It is an original contribution to an underexplored subject, and it establishes an important reference for future research on this element of life. -- David H. Pereyra -- Religion and the Arts ...Cowan has written a penetrating and thought-provoking book that both scholars or religion and science fiction fans will find engaging. -- Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
About Douglas E. Cowan
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).