Call for Book Chapters: Jesuits in Science Fiction: The Clash of Reason and Revelation on Other Worlds

Edited by Richard Feist (Saint Paul University, Ottawa, Canada)

To be published by Vernon Press

Science fiction authors have long drawn deep upon philosophy, theology, history, science and various other disciplines. In the early 20th century a distinct sub-genre of science fiction emerged and continues today; it deals with Jesuits (and the like) exploring and experiencing the clash of reason and revelation within in alien cultures and future societies.  Classic writers such as Isaac Asimov, James Blish, Arthur C. Clarke and Walter Miller Jr. come to mind followed by contemporary writers such as Mary Dorion Russell and Dan Simmons—to name but a few.

Philosophers have long engaged in thought experiments to tease out underpinnings and implications of concepts.  Science fiction writers do the same.  Characters as Jesuits or modelled on Jesuits are readily found in this literature.  Novels and short stories provide a rich context for thought experiments regarding the foundations of metaphysics, morality, science, broader issues in theology and, of course, science fiction’s staple: social critique and critical satire. 

Several scholarly analyses of science fiction and its sub-genres exist but hitherto none has specifically focused on Jesuits and the like, so this book will be an early voice in this conversation. The goal is to construct a collection of papers by philosophers, theologians and other interested scholars to provide a solid overview of the origins, continuity, future projections and analysis of this fascinating area of literature.

Suggested Possible Topics (but by no means limited to):

  • Adumbrations of the Jesuits in Science Fiction tradition such as C.E. Jacomb’s And a New Earth (1926) and other works from the 19th century
  • The clash of reason and revelation in novels and short stories such as:
    • Asimov’s Foundation Series and Robot Stories
    • Arthur C. Clarke’s works (Eg.“The Star” and “The Nine Billion Names of God”)
    • James Blish’s A Case of Conscience and After Such Knowledge trilogy
    • Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles
    • Anthony Boucher, “The Quest for Saint Aquin”
    • Walter M. Miller Jr.’s A Canticle for Leibowitz
    • Frank Herbert’s Dune
    • Harry Harrison’s “The Streets of Ashkelon”
    • Dan Simmons Hyperion
    • Mary Dorian Russell’s The Sparrow and Children of God
  • Examinations of reason and revelation in film and video game universes are also welcome, such as Warhammer 40K.

Important Dates/Submission Guidelines:

Please submit a 500 word abstract no later than September 25th, 2020, to:

Richard Feist –

Authors will be informed as to whether to proceed or not by:  October 5th, 2020.

(Full formatting details will be provided upon acceptance of abstract.)

Full papers (maximum 25 pages) will be due by January 30, 2021.

For Further Information:

Please feel free to email me, Richard Feist,, if you would like to know more about this project.  I am happy to address any questions or concerns.

This proposal is due on September 25th 2020.

Page last updated on July 31st 2020. All information correct at the time, but subject to change.