Due to the production lag of academic work appearing in public (peer review, people working for no remuneration, etc), some of the early work I’ve done on Science Fiction and Buddhism is only now emerging in print/pixels.
The first chapter of the slowly emerging book, which looked at Buddhist Reception in Pulp SF, appeared about 18 months ago, as I noted at the time.
Now two more chapters have emerged, long awaited and then arriving in tandem, like buses of legend. The first of these examines the crypto-Buddhism of Arthur C. Clarke, and can be found in a very excellent essay collection entitled Rendezvous with Arthur C. Clarke: Centenary Essays, published unsurprisingly to commemorate 100 years since ACC’s birth.
The second publication likewise focuses on a single author, this time Frank Herbert of Dune fame, and therefore it will come as no surprise that it’s entitled “The Dharma of Dune: Frank Herbert and Zen Buddhism”.
It can be found in volume one (of two) of Fantastic Religions and Where to Find Them, or, to name it in its original language, Religioni fantastiche e dove trovarle: Divinità, miti e riti nella fantascienza e nel fantasy. If you follow that link, it will take you to the page of publisher Edizione Quasar where you will find both volumes, which contain an eclectic range of clever and considered takes on religion in a vast array of SFF texts, literary, televisual, cinematic and cultural.
Many thanks are due to the editors of both volumes, Paul March-Russell and Andrew Butler in the first instance, and Igor Baglioni, Ilaria Biano and Chiara Crosignani in the second.
You might reasonably wonder why all three of these chapters feature rather old SF. That’s partly because I’ve been working on this book chronologically, though I’d expect that the next chapter to emerge blinking into the light might jump a few decades to consider Cyberpunk. Don’t ask me when that will be though. The gestation period of academic texts is an arcane mystery. When it happens, I’ll be sure to let you know though.