Normally when I opine about “things I would like to see,” I spend a little time with Google to make sure what I’m asking for doesn’t already exist. I’m a little busy today, so I’ll forgo that luxury. Besides, I have the feeling that if what I’m asking for already existed, I would have some idea (plus, dear readers, if I’m wrong I’m sure you’ll let me know*).
So, what is this dream? A science-fiction Bible. What I mean by this is a retelling of the grand narrative of Scripture mediated through the science fiction idiom. As a fan of both literary worlds, I am intrigued by the possibilities.
I realize there are difficulties in putting such a work together, not the least of which is the accusation of heresy. Any creative type of translation like this would naturally be a few steps away from the literal text, which in turn would make the author’s role in interpretation somewhat important. All the same, I’m not look for a rote, by-the-numbers repeat of every episode in the biblical narrative coated in a thin science fiction veneer. What I’d be interested in reading would be much different: a space opera of the Bible, with all the weight that idea entails.
The story of the Bible (or parts thereof) has already undergone adaptation in a number of ways: a modern paraphrase (The Message), a musical (Godspell), a children’s fantasy (The Chronicles of Narnia), talking vegetables (VeggieTales), an epic poem (Paradise Lost), a mythic retelling (The Singer) and more. Why not science fiction? As a work of literature it would be a fascinating undertaking, and–thinking in terms of the Christian faith–might be an interesting new way for believers and nonbelievers alike to consider the power of the story of God..
When I think of some of the great achievements in the science fiction world–Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series, the work of Ursula K. LeGuin, Orson Scott Card and the Ender books, Kim Stanley Robinson and the Mars trilogy, and so much more–all of these are powerful stories wrapped together with some big ideas. So: what if we took what I consider to be some of the most profound ideas in the universe and brought them together in this literary form?
I’m no science fiction author, but there are times when even I consider what it would be like to write such a work. Challenging, yes. But it could be powerful. Call me crazy, but it is another of the things I’d like to see.
*A friend has reminded me of C. S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy, which is exactly the kind of thing I’m thinking of here. What I’d like to see, then, is a thorough-going walkthrough of the entire narrative arc of Scripture similar to this.