Still more on the question Is science fiction dying? I'll begin with a long quote:
One morning in 1938, shortly before leaving the Communist Party, while feeding his young daughter, [Whittaker] Chambers concluded that the shape of her ear could not be explained by Marxist materialism. Something this beautiful and unique, Chambers observed, implied design, which implied the existence of God. Understanding the divine gift of his daughter Ellen, also strangely related to the horrific irruption within Chambers of the "screams" from Communism's suffering victims. He writes "[O]ne day the Communist really hears those screams. [The screams] . . . do not merely reach his mind. They pierce beyond. They pierce to his soul." A soul in agony, in this case, a person under persecution by Communist authorities, has attempted to communicate with another soul through memory and across time. The crucial significance of both episodes rests in Chambers embracing the presence of his soul, thus denying the false materialism of Communism and the darkness it had covered him in. As Chambers observed, "A Communist breaks because he must choose at last between irreconcilable opposites--God or Man, Soul or Mind, Freedom or Communism."
The quote is from an article called "Two Faiths: The Witness of Whittaker Chambers" by Richard M. Reinsch from Religious Liberty (Vol. 22, No. 1). You can read it by clicking here. Whittaker Chambers was vilified, as the True Believer is always vilified (if not imprisoned, tortured, exiled, or murdered), by his fellows when he finally awakes. In any event, he was not alone, though his conversion may have covered a greater distance than most.
Chambers' thoughts are echoed in popular culture, in the lyrics of "Isn't She Lovely" (1976) by Stevie Wonder, written on the birth of his daughter Aisha:
We have been heaven blessed
I can't believe what God has done
Through us he's given life to one
But isn't she lovely made from love
And in the lyrics of "Heaven" (2003) by Live:
I don't need no one to tell me about heaven
I look at my daughter, and I believe
Ralph Waldo Emerson famously wrote "Hitch your wagon to a star." That exhortation is as good for the science fiction writer as anyone--maybe even better. But if science fiction has hitched itself to science, and science has hitched itself to materialism, which says that parents love their children only because we all have selfish genes, then it can be no wonder why science fiction--or our society as a whole--is in trouble.
Text and captions copyright 2014 Terence E. Hanley