Transcendental Science Fiction and the magic of contrast

January 9, 2013


‘..that quest for new and relevant cultural expressions of the Dharma is of the foremost importance if Buddhism is to have a major impact on the world.’
Subhuti, A Buddhist Manifesto.

I came to Buddhism through the catalyst of Speculative Fiction (SF), which includes, amongst others, the science fiction and fantasy genres.

At the root of Speculative Fiction I saw a spiritual urge; the desire for transcendence. In it I recognised what could almost be seen as a new spiritual movement.

I place the origins of Science Fiction in the nineteenth century with the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, as does Brian Aldiss in his book Billion Year Spree. I don’t think it’s a … Read more »

Drops in the ocean: Buddhist reflections on David Mitchell’s “Cloud Atlas”

September 14, 2011

cloud atlasCloud Atlas, by David Mitchell, is a ripping good read with plenty of action and suspense. It’s also a cautionary tale of karma-vipāka (how our actions set up complex results, short- and long-term) and how failing to choose is itself a choice just as much as a conscious decision is.

Populated by clever and colorful characters from different places, pasts and futures, the six stories making up this diverse sampling of human experience nonetheless weave together, surprisingly, into a poignant and epic tale of suffering and kindness. From the story of a rather naïve young man on a return voyage to San Francisco from the South Pacific, in perhaps the 1800s, to a nearly … Read more »

“Sitting Practice,” by Caroline Adderson

September 17, 2009

Sitting PracticeA Canadian author’s sophomore novel deals with the serious subjects of disability and unrequited incestuous love, but brims over with life and laughter as it provokes the reader to reflect.

This is Caroline Adderson’s second novel — and one filled with humor, likable characters and great writing that make for an easy weekend read.

Ross and Iliana are three weeks into their marriage when a car accident and a moving tennis ball change the dynamics of their lives and lead them both into a journey of self-reflection and faith.

Ross Alexander is a funny, charismatic and passionate chef who runs his own business, Reel Food, catering to the film industry. He meets Iliana, a nurse, … Read more »

“Jake Fades” by David Guy

April 13, 2009

Jake Fades, by David GuyAs Buddhist ideas become more commonly known in the west, they increasingly pervade art and literature. Reviewer Hazel Colditz, herself a Buddhist and artist, was impressed by David Guy’s new novel of impermanence, Jake Fades. Author David Guy is a teacher and writing instructor residing in North Carolina. A graduate of Duke and author of several books, he reviews books for newspapers and is a contributing editor to Tricycle: The Buddhist Review.

Jake Fades is a novel of impermanence. It is a simple yet enriching read based on the day-to-day lives of two main characters: Jake, an aging teacher of life, and Hank, his sidekick and student. Jake’s mission in life is to … Read more »