Extraterrestrials in the Catholic Imagination

Extraterrestrials in the Catholic Imagination: Explorations in Science, Science Fiction and Religion is now for sale from Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Yours truly is a contributor to this work.

More to the point, the wise and learned Mike Flynn, author of WRECK OF THE RIVER OF STARS, also contributed to this volume, as did Science Fiction Grandmaster Tim Powers of ON STRANGER TIDES and ANUBIS GATES fame.


The publisher’s description:

What do scientists know about the possibility of life outside our solar system? How does Catholic science fiction imagine such worlds? What are the implications for Catholic thought? This collection brings together leading scientists, philosophers, theologians, and science fiction authors in the Catholic tradition to examine these issues.

In the first section, Christian scientists detail the latest scientific findings regarding the possibility of life on exoplanets.

The second part brings together leading Catholic science fiction authors who describe how “alien” life forms have been prevalent in the Catholic imagination from the Middle Ages right up to the present day.

In the final section, Catholic philosophers and theologians examine the implications of discovering intelligent life elsewhere in the universe.

Rather than worrying that the discovery of intelligent extraterrestrials might threaten the dignity of humans or their existence, the contributors here maintain that such creatures should be welcomed as fellow creatures of God and potential subjects of divine salvation.


Sciopods, Blemyae, and the Green Children of Woolpit:
“Aliens” in the Catholic Imagination, Premodern Era
Michael F. Flynn

What Has Outer Space to Do with Christ?
John C. Wright

Catholic Questions in Science Fiction and Fantasy
Tim Powers

I was honored to be asked to pen an essay titled “What Has Outer Space To Do with Christ?” for this volume. The burning question of whether soulless and dispassionate Vulcans can be baptized is not necessarily addressed, but questions of like magnitude are.

However, as is only to be expected, Mike Flynn’s essay on Sciopods and Blemyae is the more interesting. It is the first I ever heard about the Green Children of Woolpit — and if you have not heard these names before, prepare to be fascinated.