Friday, July 08, 2005

A Case of Conscience.

Recently, I had the opportunity to read A Case of Conscience by James Blish...hmmm...what can I say ? Anything that I say would seem too less...but here goes...

This Hugo-award winning "Science fiction" book is a great read, and is one of the first, and I must say very successful attempts at considering science within religious confines.

What I like about this book, is his viewpoint (subtly but yet very clearly demonstrated) that although religion and science are meant to exist for the betterment of humanity( one supports the mind while the other pampers the physical, the body ), at times, they are so lost in their eternal conflict with each other, that they neglect their true purpose, and at times crush humanity !

Through the eyes of a Jesuit preist, he unravels an interesting plot...can there exist a real, physical eden ? Can Satan, "the second-best authority in the universe" (as described in the book) create physical worlds and universes and not just metaphysical and psychological ones ? Can the convinctions of religion prove that what the eyes see as a cornucopia of ideals, is not just that ?

The beauty of this book, of course, is that you are welcome to believe that the priest, and his ideas, are entire fantasy and there exists no such thing as a God. You also welcome to believe that the actions of the characters and what subsequently follows is a result of the socio-political setup of the times, and the upbringing of each character...also, the end, can also be viewed as an after-effect of religious contrivance or maybe scientific tampering. He does not take a stepping back and forth between the ideologies, we see why James Blish was such a fantastic practitioner of "science fiction".

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