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Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 12:08:04 -0600
From: James Jordan 
Subject: Re: (urth) The proper quote to define Catholic Fabulation

At 11:50 AM 1/20/2003, you wrote:
>Only because I don't know a better one.
>I had resolved to call it "Christian Mythopoeic Fabulation" - but the fact
>is it could as well be done in, for example, an Islamic world, if that world
>had any tradition of SF.
>But of course it doesn't.
>CF requires a fusion of Science Fiction and the religious worldview into one
>But SF is a hypostatisation of the European tradition of voyaging and
>colonisation, and that tradition does not exist in other cultures.
>Nor, really, in Eastern Europe, so far from the sea -
>Which is in fact why "Catholic" is not so bad a fit.  But I'd still prefer
>another name.

         Perhaps an example of Russian Orthodox SF Fabulation can be 
considered. I recently rewatched Tarkovsky's SOLARIS ("SolYARis" in 
Russian), which has been released on DVD by Criterion. The accompanying 
discussions were interesting, but I think missed something important. In 
Russian Orthodoxy, the Spirit of God empowers nature (that's really true in 
all Christian thought, but has been stressed in RO). The water and nature 
scenes in the film have to do with the Spirit. The watery planet Solaris 
also has to do with God and the Spirit. Tarkovsky could not do everything 
he wanted in the film, because Lem did not like the religious aspects, and 
Tarkovsky had to fool the censors. But on the space station near Solaris, 
near to the Spirit of God, men find themselves forced to confront their 
sins, and either repent or go mad. The Spirit is operating in this heavenly 
realm. Descending (ascending fully) to Solaris at the end, the now penitent 
son is reconciled to a "heavenly father" generated by the planet, in the 
pose of Rembrandt's "Prodigal Son" (which hangs in the Hermitage, and with 
which any Russian intellectual was very familiar). As the son begins to 
repent on the space station, we see an icon in passing as the camera 
surveys the room. In the last scene, on Solaris, the water of the lake is 
frozen, iconic. It is the heavenly "sea of glass" before the throne of God. 
In this way, Tarkovsky makes a religious allegory out of Lem's novel.



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