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Religion in SF -- Recommended Reading List - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Religion in SF -- Recommended Reading List
This is the recommended reading list that I handed out for my panel on religion and magic in speculative fiction. Please feel free to add your own thoughts and recommendations, or pick up the discussion.



Recommended Reading List from Hypatia’s Hoard for
“Preaching from the Bookstall: How Religion, Magic and the Occult Are Treated in SF, Fantasy and Horror”
Panel at Archon/NASFiC, 2007

Archangel by Sharon Shinn. Ace, 1996. Science fantasy. Samarian colonists worship the starship Jehovah – except for the Edori, who still remember the transcendent Yovah. Jovah has angels to watch over his flocks: winged humanoids who care for the more fragile humans.

The Awakened City by Victoria Strauss. Eos, 2006. Fantasy. A disturbing story of a magical/religious cult that creates upheaval throughout a whole society.

Belladonna by Anne Bishop. Roc, 2007. Fantasy. Somewhere between woman and goddess, Glorianna Belladonna is the heart of Ephemera and only her magic can make it whole.

Brain Plague by Joan Slonsczewski. Tor, 2000. Science fiction. Imagine hosting swarms of microbes who consider you a deity, pray to you, and inspire you to become a better artist.

Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson. Warner Aspect, 1998. Urban fantasy. A brilliant portrayal of Afro-Caribbean spirituality, in which gods themselves take the stage in the final act.

The Compass Rose by Gail Dayton. Luna, 2005. Fantasy. Followers of the One are bound together magically, spiritually, and romantically to battle demons.

Dark Water’s Embrace by Stephen Leigh. Avon Books, 1998. Science fiction. The religion of the tri-sexed Miccail aliens includes the deity VeiSaTi, who oversees the third sex, the Sa.

Dead Inside: The Roleplaying Game of Loss and Redemption by Chad Underkoffler. Atomic Sock Monkey Press, 2004. Fantasy role-playing game. This fascinating game guides soulless characters through a quest to find their stolen souls or gain new ones.

Deryni Rising by Katherine Kurtz. Del Rey, 1970. Fantasy. This introduction to the magically gifted Deryni also sets the running theme of the Christian Church hating and persecuting them.

Exile’s Honor by Mercedes Lackey. DAW, 2002. Fantasy. Raised to worship Vkandis, the Sun God, Alberich finds himself banished from his homeland and cast into Valdemar, a country he believed ruled by demons. Religion underlies much of the plot and characterization.

Flight of the Godkin Griffin by M.C.A. Hogarth. LiveJournal, 2003-2007. Fantasy. Read ongoing story at: http://godkin.livejournal.com/ The Godkin Kingdom believes in crossbreeding to divinity; the Shraeven country-cum-province believes in inbreeding to simplicity.

The Guild of Xenolinguists by Sheila Finch. Golden Gryphon Press, 2007. Science Fiction. Xenolinguists struggle past thought and language to find “the naked face of God.” See also author’s homepage at: http://www.sff.net/people/sheila-finch/index.htm

The Harlequin by Laurell K. Hamilton. Berkley Books, 2007. Anita Blake becomes more secure in her faith, though it’s of limited help against the current bad-guy vampires.

Hell to Pay by Simon R. Green. Ace, 2007. Urban fantasy/crime. In the wake of the godwar that almost destroyed the Nightside, one man’s quest for immortality creates chaos.

Hinterland: Book Two of the Godslayer Chronicles by James Clemens. Roc, 2006. Fantasy. Tylar ventures out of the Blessed Lands into the Hinterland where rogue gods roam.

Hurricane Moon by Alexis Glynn Latner. Pyr, 2007. A starship's astronauts, pilots and researchers – who are variously Humanist, Atheist, Christian, Jewish, and Pagan – all find their faith challenged by encountering the /unknown unknown/. See also author’s homepage at: http://www.sff.net/people/alexis-latner/

The Mountain’s Call by Caitlin Brennan. Luna, 2004. Fantasy. Divine spirits take the form of horses who bond with human riders to foretell and shape the future.

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. Warner Books, 1993, 2000. Science fiction. This book chronicles the advent of a new religion, in which God is Change.

“Peaches from the Tree of Heaven” by Elizabeth Barrette. newWitch #15, 2007. A young Chinese-American man struggles with issues of abortion and Buddhism.

The Pillars of the World by Anne Bishop. Roc, 2001. Fantasy. The Witch Ari flees from Inquisitors. The Fae worry about their world dissolving. The complex spiritual and magical connections between Witches and Fae emerge only gradually as the story unfolds.

Rowan Gant Investigation series by M.R. Sellars. Willow Tree Press, 2000-2006. Mystery with a touch of fantasy. Wiccan characters and plot complications. Strong interfaith dynamics with non-Wiccan characters. See also author’s site at: http://www.mrsellars.com/

The Sharing Knife by Lois McMaster Bujold. Eos, 2006. Fantasy. Lakewalkers and farmers of different faiths both fear demonic malices; only Lakewalker magic can teach a malice to die.

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. Ballantine, 1996. Science fiction. Starflight “for the greater glory of God” gets your friends killed, nearly destroys a world, and ruins your life. You still believe in God, since “if God is vicious, then at least I have the solace of hating God.”

Sympathy for the Devil by Holly Lisle. Baen, 1996. Urban fantasy. You complain to God that Hell is unfair. God answers your prayer by releasing thousands of Hell’s denizens into your home state, where they promptly tell all your neighbors who made this possible.

Sythyry’s Journal by Bard Bloom. LiveJournal, 2002-2004. Fantasy. Read ongoing story at: http://www.livejournal.com/users/sythyry/ The World Tree exists at the behest of the 7 Verb Gods and 12 Noun Gods, who also created its people and continue to power its magic.

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(Deleted comment)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 9th, 2007 12:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, Storm Constantine's "Wraeththu" books are fascinating. Thanks for extending the list of recommendations!
lupagreenwolf From: lupagreenwolf Date: August 8th, 2007 10:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
The Firebringer Trilogy by Meredith Ann Pierce. (YA Fantasy). A herd of unicorns practices a very formal Goddess-based spirituality, while their plains-dwelling cousins have a more free-flowing interpretation of the Divine.

Both Wraeththu trilogies by Storm Constantine. Chaos magic and sex magic are woven into the fabric of post-apocalyptic sci-fi/dark fantasy

War For the Oaks by Emma Bull. A tale of the fey folk set in an urban fantasy (more traditional than Mercedes Lackey's saccharine descriptions, though not as dark as Charles de Lint's novels)

There are also several other authors who treat Wicca similarly in their works, including Morven Westfield and Rosemary Edghill
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 9th, 2007 01:08 pm (UTC) (Link)

more titles

GRASS by Sherri Tepper--what is the religious stance on stopping evil, caring for the oppressed? Starts with a Catholic character in a future world who transcends and (I believe) ends up critiquing Peace religions.
(actually, anything by Sheri Tepper)
THE RAGGED WORLD (and other hard to find titles) by Judith Moffett--Thr alien Hefn come to earth to save a dying planet. She writes from a Quaker place.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 9th, 2007 01:13 pm (UTC) (Link)

Other titles, continued . . .

The last comment had a mind of its own!

Also A DOOR INTO OCEAN and other wonderful environmental explorations by JoanSlonczewski.

(I am Susan, new to blogging.
For one of my identities, see http://susan-on-line.blogspot.com/ )
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 9th, 2007 10:29 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Other titles, continued . . .

Welcome to LiveJournal! I've been writing this blog for a couple of months now, and learning a lot from my more experienced friends. Blogging is great fun -- I think you'll love it.

The best ways to get involved are to read lots of other blogs so you can spot good things to do and bad things to avoid; and write plenty so you get lots of practice fast. Commenting in other people's blogs is also helpful.
beckyzoole From: beckyzoole Date: August 9th, 2007 09:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
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