Reviewer Praise for Transhuman and Subhuman

Mr. Chris Chan has kind words for my book of essays:

http://catholicbookreviewsmonthly.com/archivedReviews.aspx, December
2015. The review can be downloaded, but not read online.

Transhuman and Subhuman is a collection of sixteen essays, most of which address science fiction themes, with special stress on spiritual and theological matters.

The famous science-fiction Arthur C. Clarke’s book Childhood’s End features a scene where aliens show humanity a series of “revelatory” images on a television screen, and the supposed truths of these images convince humanity to give up on religion completely.  In “Childhood’s End and Gnosticism,” Wright pours scorn upon the puerility of this scenario, noting that it the situation that Clarke describes would be hardly enough to destroy the faiths of a planet.  He writes:

“It is with a sensation of unutterable disbelief that I read a passage saying one or two days of looking at a picture on a screen provided by the “magic” produced by creatures who look like devils, (whose mission, remember, is to facilitate the extinction of mankind), would be believed without reservation or complaint by everyone from Moscow to Bombay to Lhasa to Rome to Mecca. In the world I live in, people are stubborn and cantankerous. Some have faith that will not be swayed and some of us are nuts.”

In order to believe that faith is so fragile and easily destroyed, one must have a very poor understanding of how many people come to embrace religion.  Throughout these essays, Wright attacks the view apparently held by many science fiction writers that people of faith are sheeplike buffoons, or that faith itself is inherently a form of mental weakness.

Mr. Chan discusses one or two other essays (my favorites, by no coincidence) and concludes with high praise indeed.

Wright is one of the sharpest and most interesting cultural commentators working today, but he does more than just comment on other people’s work– he creates work of his own, reflecting his ideals of what constitutes good writing through fiction, and addressing issues of society and religion through his non-fiction essays. People might not expect to gain a better understanding of religion through science fiction, but Wright shows how God is always present, even in the writings of people who deny that He exists.

 

If, as I have cause to doubt, my humble self is one of the sharpest and most interesting commentators working today, all I can say is that you other sharp men should perhaps dabble in cultural commentary, and let your silent voices be heard; and likewise you other cultural commentators who are dull and uninteresting should muzzle yours alleged eloquence for a decade, or until you realize how shallow and foolish your columns are.

I direct this comment particularly at gargling nitwits working at the Guardian newspaper, or Buzzfeed, who seem peculiarly wedded to clamor, falsehood and unsobriety as a way of life. If I shine, it is only in contrast to the dullness of the drab. Compared to them, anyone would seen sharp. These fellows reach levels of absurd and turgid thought I can only describe as nongenderbinaryexpeallidocious.

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