Fantastic theology of Robert Sheckley: a pseudo-secular world 

Ryazanova S.V. (Perm, Russian Federation)


              page 167176


The article considers one of the views on God existing within the modern Western literary tradition and outside of religious systems. The image of God was chosen as a cultural phenomenon relevant for interpretation, which exists both in religious and secular discourse. The research involved the creative heritage of Robert Sheckley one of the most popular authors of fantastic literature in the mid-20th century. The analysis was based on fantastic tales, since they provide the opportunity to prove all strategies for social behaviour, as well as different views on life. The image of God created by Sheckley was reconstructed using intertextual analysis, which helps identify original mythological and religious narratives and individual allusions. This provides the opportunity to define the features of Sheckley's individual fantastic theology and find the reasons for using the image of God in secular literature. The analysis revealed that the used religious names, denominations and plots bear only formal similarity with the traditional ones. They are used and interpreted arbitrarily. God is interpreted as being anthropomorphic, pragmatic, partial and not interested in the fate of his creation. Communication with God is described as commercialised and is built on the model of the consumer society. The works of Sheckley indicate the possibility and necessity of contact between the man and God with the obligatory personal participation of the individual. The American writer creates texts that are modernised in terms of the plot using traditional Christian ideas about the spiritual development of people and the need to preserve the Christian value system as a universal one. In this connection, Sheckley offers possible behavioural models for the created image of God.

Key words: Christianity, modern fantastic tales, theology, image of God, Christian ideas, Robert Shekley.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted: 12.12.2019

Accepted: 19.12.2019

Article is published: 02.03.2020


Ryazanova S.V.

Perm Federal Research Center of the Ural Branch RAS, Lenina st., 13a, Perm, 614990, Russian Federation