The Star by Arthur C. Clarke, 1967
The magic trick:
Turning a science-fiction story into a comment about religion and philosophy
Well, I tried. This is the fifth – and mercifully final – day of Science Fiction Week here at the blog, and I can say these stories have done little to win my heart. I did enjoy “The Skull” quite a bit, but today’s entry – “The Star” – confirms my worst impressions of the genre. Not content to merely entertain his audience, Clarke loads his starship adventure with heavy doses of philosophical pontificating and religious guilt. And that’s quite a trick on his part. I give him credit, and should be so lucky to make such intelligent points in anything I ever write. It’s just not my cup of tea.
The Rubens engraving of Loyola seems to mock me as it hangs there above the spectrophotometer tracings. What would you, Father, have made of this knowledge that has come into my keeping, so far from the little world that was all the Universe you knew? Would your faith have risen to the challenge, as mine has failed to do?