Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Oceanic, by Greg Egan

For my most recent read I went back to Greg Egan, a favorite author of mine. Oceanic is a Hugo award winning novella from 1999. It presents a study of Christianity lightly translated through a space colony, and takes on the difficult topic of whether religious faith can survive scientific discovery of its roots.

Spoiler Alert

I'll go ahead and give a spoiler here to make a point--go read it and come back if it is important. In Oceanic, the colonist's faith turns out to be biochemically induced. When the story was written this was purely speculative, but many scientific reductionists have believed all along that something like this was the case. Recent evidence is starting to lead in the direction that religious experiences can be stimulated from outside (see this Wired article for a skeptical view). If this turns out to go somewhere, whither faith? It will be interesting to see.

3 stars for the story itself.

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