Tag Archives: Prophecy

Five of My Favorite Things From Harry Potter

So in honor of the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child I thought it would be fun to remember some of my favorite moments from Harry Potter. These books are ones that David and I have both loved and I am excited to read this next chapter in the life of Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Throughout the books there have been just superb moments that were heartbreaking, funny, exciting, or just plain awesome. So here are some of my favorite moments, characters, or things from Harry Potter.

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Science Fiction Today – Hover Boards

I’ve been amused to hear that Hover Boards are finally showing up, that people have been pushing forward to create them. The deadline they were aiming for was the date from Back to the Future 2 last year. Which made Hover Boards like a prophecy: that they would happen in that year.

More than anything else in that movie, the Hover Board is what seems to have captured and held our collective imagination. Or maybe because it seems easier and more likely than flying cars or Jaws 19. Maybe because it’s a sellable commodity that you can hope to make a bunch of money off of – but no, I think more than that. It seems like a labor of love. Of trying to bring a bit of the “future” here to us now.

Because this world we’re living in – as we pass dates from future visions, like Days of Future Past and Back to the Future – looks nothing like what science fiction envisioned. And what did science fiction envision?

Thanks, Commander Sisko.

We were expecting flying cars. Hover Boards. Things that move us around faster. And space travel, moving us into the stars. What we got instead, as the commercial says (and which has stuck with me all these years) is the Internet. Or maybe, drones, which work as a networked extension of ourselves, rather than us moving ourselves.

Rather than transmitting ourselves via improved transportation, we’re transmitting ideas. Meaning that we get to both bring the world – information-wise – to us, and we get to send our ideas back out. In such a way as science fiction somewhat failed to predict. That’s part of the reason why something like Neuromancer (a 1984 novel) is seen as such a classic: it was far closer to right than wrong when it comes to predictions of the future. Certainly better than so much other science fiction.

I’m not saying the point of science fiction is to perfectly predict the future. Nor that it’s our job to try to build the future that has been predicted. Which makes the anecdote of the Hover Boards being created just in time for their “predicted” date just so interesting. It’s a little piece of trying to create not the future we’re building towards, but the future we dreamed up.

And so maybe, if we can perfect the Hover Board, we can create some of the other things science fiction has dreamed up. Or solve some of the other societal problems science fiction shows us moving past. Maybe we can avoid some of the pitfalls science fiction warns us of. Maybe, just maybe…

We can dream.

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 and Religion – Bioshock Infinite

It’s a big topic with this game – religion. It’s one of many real-world and historical issues that they decided to tackle and include in the game, along with other big topics like race, class, and ideology. They made the religion important, made it matter. Of course, they also pretty much made it a cult of personality for their leader.

However, the question of religion in regards to Bioshock Infinite is bigger than just religion in-game. People had reactions outside the game to the religious situations – situations that hit you within moments of arriving in Columbia. Minutes into the game, there were people too uncomfortable with it to move on.

And maybe they did eventually move on. This is a topic I’ve wanted to write about since last year – but we were avoiding the spoilers. And I wanted to see where it went – and I was not disappointed. So I want to talk about both the real-world reactions to the inclusion of religion, and the internal events and existence of the religion!

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