Tag Archives: Chosen One

Science Fiction and Religion – Prophecy, Part 2 (Science Fiction)

So recently I wrote a part 1 about prophecies in fiction – mainly in Fantasy. Prophecy is a frequent plot scheme in Fantasy, playing a big or small part, and generally about the main character and/or the main plot. The prophecies are generally old, and predate the plot itself – often causing the plot, as the villain takes action based on it (like Harry Potter), or else just pointing to our main character as a chosen one.

That all sounds a lot like the Bible, full of prophets and prophecies of the Messiah. And thinking of villains taking action based on the prophecy, I referenced that as well (via the Inhumans) – Herod, killing the babies to try to kill the Messiah. All of which to say is that these prophecies in Fantasy have a strong cultural connection to the Judeo-Christian tradition. We’re rarely following the action of the prophet themselves – which is some of what makes Dominic Deegan so much fun!

In Science Fiction, however, it seems like if there is prophecy – which is rare – you often get to meet the prophet as well. And here, prophecy is less supernatural, and more explained in science – in a quantum way, or a mathematical one. But when it comes to prophecy in Science Fiction, there’s one that stands well above the rest as an example – and which has a lot to say about religion as well. And that’s Dune.

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Science Fiction and Religion – Prophecy, Part 1 (Fantasy)

One of my favorite literary devices is prophecy. A good prophecy, sufficiently vague and mysterious, riddle-like and maybe rhyming, to keep you thinking back, keep you wondering. It can easily drive a plot. It usually points to a chosen one. Indeed, a recent favorite of mine hits all the important aspects:

“One day, a talented lass or fellow, a special one with face of yellow, will make the Piece of Resistance found from it’s hiding refuge underground, and with a noble army at the helm, this Master Builder will thwart the Kragle and save the realm, and be the greatest, most interesting, most important person of all times. All this is true because it rhymes.”

-Vitruvius, The Lego Movie

See? It rhymes. Must be true.

Prophecy, and indeed prophecy pointing towards a chosen one, is grounded in religion. Okay, so for our science fiction and religion series, this post is halfway there. But what about science fiction? One of the fundamental aspects of science fiction I have seen since the series started is that science fiction tends to stay away from religion. Meaning similarly, it stays away from prophecy in large part.

So I’m calling this post part one because I want to talk about prophecy, and the better way to do that is to talk about Fantasy. Then in part two, I’ll go into a couple of good science fiction examples and see how they differ. So onward for Fantasy prophecies, and an open thread!

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Science Fiction Today – Queens

QIt’s only a little bit of a stretch to include this in A to Z. Okay, I mean Queens and Kings, royalty in general. They still exist in our world today, often as figureheads to democratic or socialist (or democratic socialist) governments. Then there are leaders of other names who only wish they were Kings and Queens.

So now, a declarative statement: there are not a lot of democracies in Science Fiction. There are a lot of dystopias run by a small group holding all the power. There are a few bigger universes, with democracies, like Star Wars and Star Trek – for the former, that democracy falls; for the latter, we don’t watch that democracy in action, but instead the military arm. We get evil corporations working outside the law. We get captain’s rule like in Mass Effect or Battlestar Galactica.

And then, we get Queens and Kings. New royalty or ancient lines. Emperors and Empresses and Empires. So let’s look at one classic and one really recent example of royalty in Science Fiction!

Galactic Empire – Dune

By the time we get to Dune, the galaxy has had a monarchy for a long time. Hereditary rulers run the planets, a council of those monarchs meet and politic, and there’s an Emperor ruling over all of them. The Emperor can be shady and backstab, which makes the plot happen!

But hey, I called this post “Queens,” so let’s look at that for a moment. When there’s royalty, there’s so much stock taken in birth and breeding. It leads to characters like the Duke Leto, who can’t marry the woman he loves, because she’s not of the proper breeding. It is his greatest regret in life.

And the Lady Jessica is kind of a badass. And even up to the last line in the book, she understands royalty. Understands that necessity makes it so that they must marry each other, and carry on that way. But history? History will call women like her wives – she’s the real Queen in that story.

Galaxy as Royal Playground – Jupiter Ascending

Hey, let’s look at another Queen-like character – Jupiter in Jupiter Ascending. She shows part of the reason that royalty exist in Science Fiction stories – and some other fictional stories, as well. Having royal blood makes Jupiter a “chosen one” for no other reason than that.

And the movie somewhat functions as a tour of her royal family and their insane life. They inherit and control whole planets. They raise and cultivate the populations of these planets, for the purpose of harvesting them later. Because the souls of the innocent are delicious.

If the royalty in Dune seems bad, it’s because you just read a section about the Harkonnens. In Jupiter Ascending, it really is just a bad situation. We see three very different personalities and attitudes in her siblings, and it’s still a broken system and broken economy. Which is the sort of thing that royalty can perpetuate in a society, or maybe especially in a story.

Okay, little longer post. Here, have an A-to-Z music moment:

This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge, and also part of our occasional series on Science Fiction Today. You can read an explanation of both here. We are striving to keep these posts short, and know that we have not covered every example or angle – plenty of room for discussion!

Jupiter Ascending Movie Review

This weekend we went to see Jupiter Ascending, something we were debating doing. In the end, all the reviews telling us the movie was terrible, you should see it made the difference!

I feel like reviewing the movie is pretty quick and easy for me. I did not find it as bad as some did. I definitely feel like the ideas – both story/world ideas and visual ideas – were much better than the character interaction and dialog. And maybe their biggest problem is how easy it is to compare to Guardians of the Galaxy – a movie which they could have come out before, but instead came out after. So Channing Tatum comes across as a poor-man’s Star Lord, rocket-skates and all.

I guess he knows how to rocket skate really well because he used to fly? Found on http://collider.com/jupiter-ascending-review/

I guess he knows how to rocket skate really well because he used to fly?
Found on http://collider.com/jupiter-ascending-review/

So I want to look more at two aspects of the film. One is the comparison to other science fiction, where I have found people comparing it to all sorts of other movies – but for me, there’s really only one main comparison. The other aspect I want to look at is the thing that I think could have made the film better – more characters! Maybe some spoilers to follow for Jupiter Ascending.

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