The Science Fiction Mythmakers

Religion, Science and Philosophy in Wells, Clarke, Dick and Herbert


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About the Book

A literary genre that pervades 21st-century popular culture, science fiction creates mythologies that make statements about humanity’s place in the universe and embody an intersection of science, religion and philosophy. This book considers the significance of this confluence through an examination of myths in the writings of H. G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick and Frank Herbert. Presenting fresh insights into their works, the author brings to light the tendency of science fiction narratives to reaffirm spiritual myths.

About the Author(s)

Jennifer Simkins is an English teacher in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia.

Bibliographic Details

Jennifer Simkins

Series Editors Donald E. Palumbo and C.W. Sullivan III

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 200
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6809-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2725-0
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Critical Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  ix
Preface  1
Introduction  3
Chapter 1. Evolution, Morality and Religion in H. G. Wells  19
Chapter 2. Materialism and Mystery: Mixed Myths in Arthur C. Clarke  53
Chapter 3. Science Fiction as Truth: Sociology, Philosophy and Theology in Philip K. Dick  86
Chapter 4. Resisting Tradition: The Messiah Myth and Authentic Dasein in Frank Herbert’s Dune Series  121
Conclusion  153
Chapter Notes  159
Works Cited  175
Index  187

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Simkins compares four noted science fiction authors and the use of creation and messiah mythologies in their work…heavily annotated with footnotes…sure to be enjoyed”—SFRevu Review
  •  “An exceptionally clear and penetrating study of the historically nuanced relationship between sf and the “discordant philosophies” of science, religion, and social theory.”—Van Ikin, University of Western Australia