Novel Thoughts blog

Star Wars, Star Trek, Inklings, Pixar, Sigrid Undset, and more

A Friday Link lineup

July 10, 2015 4:48 pm | 1 Comment


Next week my family heads out for a little vacation, so I’ll leave you readers with some links to enjoy.

First, at the Word on Fire blog Daniel Stewart wades into the Star Wars vs Star Trek argument:

As I considered the “Star Wars vs. Star Trek” question again, I was struck not by the differences in laser strength or ship speed but by the different kinds of storytelling (and world views) each represents. Star Trek, for the most part, is straightforward science-fiction. Gene Roddenberry and his predecessors attempt to imagine a future in which mankind makes impressive technological advancements and takes to the stars, encountering alien civilizations along the way. Despite the many conflicts that dominate the world of Star Trek, the basic outlook is still optimistic and humanist at its core. The series is also materialist. In general, characters are disdainful of religion and any belief that could be seen as unscientific. In a way, science IS the religion.

Read more here.

Next up, there’s a new book on the Inklings out and it looks fascinating. The authors are concentrating on showing a more even depiction of the famous circle of writers. Usually C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien crowd out the others when the Inklings are spoken of, but this new book by Philip and Carol Zaleski gives equal treatment to Owen Barfield and Charles Williams. I haven’t had the chance yet to grab a copy but look forward to it. You can read Artur Rosman’s interview with the authors here.

This past week we took our kids out to the movies, a rare occurrence in our household, and saw Inside Out. It was very good. After seeing the movie I read Steven Greydanus on what sets Pixar’s protagonists apart from other movie protagonists: they have flaws and those flaws must be corrected. Read his piece here: it’s very good and can prompt some worthwhile discussions with your kids.

On my commute into work I’ve been reading Ida Elisabeth by Sigrid Undset. Unlike her most famous work Kristin Lavransdatter, Ida Elisabeth is set in the modern era. The characters are so real that the book is almost difficult to read. But so good. I’ll be writing a review once I finish it.

Over at Catholic World Report, Ann Applegarth has a look at the fiction of Robert Hugh Benson, author of Lord of the World, a dystopian novel praised by both Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI. I haven’t read any of Benson’s other work, so Applegarth’s guide is a handy place to look for further exploration of his writing.

Finally, my oldest son has become somewhat obsessed with Georges Méliès, the pioneering silent-film director. A strange role-model for a seven-year-old, perhaps, but once he gets interested in something he really latches on. We watched A Trip to the Moon, which led to reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret and then to the film version of that book by Martin Scorsese (very well made and worth your time).

Image: my son’s tracing of a Georges Méliès sketch.


John Herreid

John Herreid

John Herreid is catalog manager at Ignatius Press. In addition to catalogs and ads, he has also worked on the cover design for many Ignatius Press books and DVDs. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and four children.

Tags: Georges Méliès Pixar Robert Hugh Benson Sigrid Undset Star Trek Star Wars The Inklings

1 Comment

  1. July 16, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    I must respectfully disagree about “Star Trek” being “materialist” and “disdainful of religion.” The many copycats may be, but Roddenberry’s creation (the original series) was certainly not. In at least two episodes, Christianity is assumed to be the correct and irrefutable worldview. In “Bread and Circuses,” the crew encounters a planet with a “parallel development” where everything is just like 1960’s earth, except the Roman Empire never fell. Lt. Uhura monitors the communications throughout the episode, regarding the mysterious “Sun Worshippers” that the Captain and others can’t make sense of–everything else is just like ancient Rome, but “Rome didn’t have sun worshippers,” the Captain notes. Then this exchange:

    Spock: [referring to Flavius] I wish we could’ve examined that belief of his more closely. It seems illogical for a sun worshiper to develop a philosophy of total brotherhood. Sun worship is usually a primitive superstition religion.

    Uhura: I’m afraid you have it all wrong, Mister Spock, all of you. I’ve been monitoring some of their old-style radio waves, the empire spokesman trying to ridicule their religion. But he couldn’t. Don’t you understand? It’s not the sun up in the sky. It’s the Son of God.

    Capt. Kirk: Caesar – and Christ. They had them both. And the word is spreading… only now.

    Dr. McCoy: A philosophy of total love and total brotherhood.

    Spock: It will replace their imperial Rome; but it will happen in their twentieth century.

    Capt. Kirk: Wouldn’t it be something to watch, to be a part of? To see it happen all over again? Mister Chekov, take us out of orbit. Ahead warp factor one.

    Chekov: Aye, sir.

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