Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What is Religion anyway, and how do you handle it in Science Fiction?

I posed that question to myself when I started Sword of the Dajjal. I was postulating a brushfire war on a planet far away but rich in important natural resources settled by a wide range of Muslims. One of those groups was trying to foment a rebellion in the name of religious orthodoxy and willing to play off the two powers that be in hope of riding the tiger to safety and prosperity.

Well, if you are going to dredge up one religion why not go whole hog?

Sword is a novel that investigates how politically motivated individuals can wrap themselves in sacred text to cause the masses to support them in their ambitions. To put it bluntly, I cribbed the story idea from the daily headlines from Iraq and Afghanistan. Science Fiction should always have a direct tie to the modern day we live in or it tastes flat, like soda pop left open too long.

I've been a Baha`i for thirty plus years, so I trotted out the example of the Baha`i writings about how society can save itself by giving up nationalism and racism and regarding all of the human race as one body. My main character is a naval officer in the Terran Alliance—a military force dedicated to security for it's members in the face of any offensive act against it. In many ways the hands of the Alliance are tied. They cannot intervene, at least openly, in an internal affair even on a member world.

My main antagonist is a radical Islamic cleric who foments a rebellion on a backwater world. To do that he brings in the star nation that tore itself bodily out of the Alliance a couple centuries before and is based on placing the human race above any other for the purity and well-being of humanity. The Pan human Hegemony is officially non-religious.

A great political stew needs just one thing to come to a boil, that dash of religious prejudice. All hell breaks loose until the discovery of new sapient species on the world must be saved from extinction by the Alliance's own commitment to the fight.

It's a fight for the right, where every side in the conflict clearly claims the right for itself.

Keep Reading and writing,

Scott

4 comments:

Sam said...

Tnis is nothing more than intellectual gibberish. Listening to you rant about religion is analogous to someone watching “The Exorcist” for its musical score.

I honestly feel that you cannot "think" your way into religion, but you must feel your way into it. You, sir, are such a know-it-all in virtually every way. . . .so much so, in fact, that you are what they call unteachable. You know everything. How can you be taught anything? Who came first, Scott Saylors or Mohammed? In your twisted mind, who knows. But in your zeal for Tnis is nothing more than intellectual gibberish. Listening to you rant about religion is analogous to someone watching “The Exorcist” for its musical score.

I honestly feel that you cannot "think" your way into religion, but you must feel your way into it. You, sir, are such a know-it-all in virtually every way. . . .so much so, in fact, that you are what they call unteachable. You know everything. How can you be taught anything? Who came first, Scott Saylors or Mohammed? In your twisted mind, who knows. But in your zeal for the Muslim faith, your own arrogance, ignorance and total disregard for anything and everything sacred makes you an Islamic blasphemer. After thoroughly becoming acquainted with “Sword,” I can’t see how any truly religious Muslim would take “Sword” as anything less than a hideous, egregious insult of the worst spiritual variety!!!

No matter how you sugarcoat your writing and your motives, I have a hard time trying to understand a writer who sensationalizes a Jihad in outer space. Just the notion of this farce is good enough fodder to build a comedy routine around. And, of course, you took this whole thing a long way - to your advantage, I might add, in promoting your writing and getting your writing accepted by an online publisher in such a cheap, theatrical, drama-queen way that you actually deserve not a star, but a “black hole” on Hollywood Blvd.. Much of this was at my expense for all the slanderous rhetoric you put out on me - that "take no prisoners" approach you took with the Absolute Write Water Cooler is an actual case in war studies. Nice war game, Saylors.

The real tragedy is that America is at war in the Mideast and your own science fiction account of the Muslim outer space battles seems to go against the grain a lot. I see you as being nothing more and nothing less than an unpatriotic traitor who spits in the face of our courageous servicemen. Well, let me rephrase this just a bit, for the sake of argument only - I'm not calling you a traitor, and I believe in the First Amendment as much as the next writer (and aren't we all controversial writers in one way or other, can we agree here, at least, Scott?) but your unabashed glee in the “between the lines” margins of your horrid, ultra-violent sci-fi nutwagon is appalling and treasonous!

I hate to burst your bubble but in my humble opinion, your work is nothing more than a grammatical train wreck. You make such a hideous joke of the King's English that I'm opting not for a book burning in your case, but a book freezing. Global warming be damned – maybe if you freeze enough electronic volumes of that preposterous nightmare in Deep Space you cooked up, dear Al Gore himself could reverse the tides of Global Warming!!!

Get off your high horse, Saylors. William Shakespeare of the Cosmos you are definitely not. And since you have no problem adding insult to injury – I will certainly do the same: Your book is such a pathetic piece of alphabet soup (no plot, no theme, zillions of who-did-what characters and a rambling “Muslim macho mess” of consonants and vowels that I consider your "Sword" to be a literary freak show. Sad, sad, sad. It's a wonder you haven't created much angst with the good, patriotic people of the Greatest Country in the World. But hey, not many of us can speak or read whatever rueful language you've invented with "Sword".

Why don't you do yourself a favor - buy a high caliber handgun and shoot at some empty cans at the local landfill there in Okey City. Who knows, you might run into another old space G.I. at the dump.. It might make you feel better. It might convince you that you are actually a writer, you sad piece of ###. But anyone who reads just a few pages more than the first page of “Sword” will realize you’re a “real deal” hack of the first Big Bang-a-boom..

Oh, and by the way, check out your e-book rating by fictionwise. Some say the cup's half full. I say it's half empty and has a leak in the glass!!!

C. Scott Saylors said...

Hi, Sam,

Still stewing I see, and I bet you never read the book either.

Don't worry it comes out early next year in print and should be on book shelves in Florida.

If you like, get in touch, and I'll have a copy comped to you.

Regards,
Scott

ericenck said...

Notice how he was so mad he left the "h" out of "THIS" at the beginning of his so called validity?

And you can "think" your way into religion, you "feel" your way into faith.

#1 Scott Saylors did come before Mohammed, I saw it happen.

The Exorcist is known for many reasons, one of them is the musical score-, (what's the point Sam?)

#2 sounds like he has a problem with security and lacking a moral center. Maybe HE is Mohammed.

How do you sugar coat writing? Here is some words to eat, "Leave talent alone and find your own wit in something else" Sounds to me like somone is jealous of true talent. Like everything else, when something profound is excavated, like true talent, people want to try to tear it apart. You just increased the author's book sales. Thank him Scott.

The only black hole in Hollywood is Paris Hilton.

"AWE...me a wittle upset because we awe a wittle insecure?"

the only thing treasonous Sam, is trying to derail an author who is writing...(listen very closely...) FICTION!!! TA DA!

Yeah..you clearly believe in the first amendment Mr. Sam. It is so evident in your ignorant rant that means nothing. Are you Nickolaus Pacione's girlfiend by any chance?

Yeah...SWORD OF DAJJAL is so bad, it's getting published! Taht's terrible!

Did you even read the book? After you were done, did you find a bossom to cry tears of hatred in? Maybe you should write a book called the sword of Insecurity by SAM...that way, when Scott Saylors becomes a best seller you can run around ranting and raving and pretending to be like him...YAY!

C. Scott Saylors said...

I made the big mistake some time ago to check into Sam's announcement of a new literary agency. He responded to my query with a request for a hard copy of the entire manuscript. Meanwhile I had asked on The Absolute Write Water Cooler what anyone might know about Sam and his agency.

The answer was a thunderous silence. It turned out Sam had set up his agency without getting any experience in the publishing industry at all.

In the meantime, Sam got upset with what he considered slanderous remarks on the Water Cooler nad rejected my submissions with the venom shown in his remarks on the blog.

It was not a great moment for professional behavior.

Since then his agency failed andwent out of business and he blames me, Victoria Strauss and Dave Kuzminsky.

I'm in good company with Victoria and Dave for sure. He also bombed Victoria Strauss's blog on the 28th.

Regards,
Scott