October 19, 2005

Lewis and Serenity

So it isn't just me who thought that Serenity was a near-perfect SF movie. According to Bruce Edwards of the C. S. Lewis-oriented blog Further Up & Further In (as well as the excellent C. S. Lewis & The Inklings Resource Site) writes that Lewis, himself an SF writer and one of the most prominent critics of the genre in the first half of the 20th century, would have loved it too:

Now I said all that to say that I think Lewis would find Joss Whedon's speculative universe in the newly released (but previously envisioned in the late Fox series, Firefly) Serenity very satisfying. Serenity is that rare space movie that truly cares more about its characters than its special-effects, more about what human greed and sin do to the soul than whether or not everyone will live happily ever after. There is in Serenity what Lewis prized most about really good fiction of any sort: realism of presentation. There is, he said in An Experiment in Criticism, a modern penchant for prizing realism of content over realism of presentation; that is, fantasy and science-fiction tended to be dismissed out of hand as inferior "popular" genres - since, obviously, they lacked "realism of content." But, Lewis averred, realism of presentation can redeem a narrative focused on the fantastic - if it plays by a consistent set of rules, and stays within the genre to produce its own kind of realism. Even genre fiction, Lewis argued, could bring its own realism to its storytelling as long as it did not pretend to be something else. Lewis's favorite example of this: Middle-Earth.

[Read Serenity and C. S. Lewis]

(H/T: do I dare to eat a peach?.)