Galactic Rapture

Galactic Rapture

by Tom Flynn

Now, called 'Terra', Earth has two lucrative exports: a perversely engaging mass entertainment medium known as 'senso' and Earth religions, of which the jaded Galactics can't get enough.

Terra's greatest success story, the Universal (Roman) Catholic Church, has left its birth planet to thrive on one of its own, fittingly called Vatican, where priestly sex abuse and imperial corruption take on astonishing new forms.

A theology called 'serial incarnation' teaches that God incarnates his son over and over, sending him to planet after planet.

All is well until celebrated mathematician and recent convert Fram Galbior is overheard telling the pope that his new formula can predict where God will send his son next - an Enclave planet where most Galactics, even those in power, are forbidden.

Called a landmark in the new alternative science fiction, "Galactic Rapture" is an engaging satire on the power of religion, worship, and 'infotainment' in the future.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Science Fiction
  • Rating: 4.06
  • Pages: 500
  • Publish Date: January 2000 by Prometheus Books
  • Isbn10: 1573927546
  • Isbn13: 9781573927543

Read the Book "Galactic Rapture" Online

Galactic Rapture by Tom Flynn Prometheus, 500 pages, paperback, 2000 The reason why there are so many technological civilizations in the Galaxy, and why they're all human, is this: Long, long ago an enigmatic supercivilization called the Harvesters went through the Galaxy. For purposes of their own the Harvesters took a sampling of proto-humans, food animals, plants, etc., from the Earth and used them to seed every other plausibly inhabitable planet in the Galaxy. Another point of oddity about Earth humans is that some of them are white; the standard colour of the members of the Galactic Confetory is black. Earth has been only recently discovered by the Confetory, and in the normal way, despite its unique status as the homeworld for all humanity, would have been placed under Enclave that is, quarantined off from any outside interference because as yet far too socially backward. However, the complete sensory complement of the savages from Earth makes them ideally qualified to be Spectators undercover operators who, loaded with bio-implants and transmitters galore, can move incognito among the barbarians of Enclave planets, broadcasting the full range of their experiences of sex, blood, torment, misery and mayhem for the titillation of the trillions of subscribers, Galaxy-wide, to the entertainment medium known as the senso. (Interestingly, this book was written through the decade of the 1990s, according to the author's note, and thus before the current cluster of pederasty scandals that's rocking the Catholic Church globally.) Even more significant is the doctrine of Serial Incarnation, which has it that Christ was not incarnated by God on just a unique occasion but has been or will be made incarnate once on each populated world in the Galaxy. Jaremi Four was a backward planet to begin with even more primitive than Earth but a Tuezi attack some decades ago has shot it back a good distance towards the Stone Age. Life is nasty, brutal and short there as countless local chieftains war upon each other, perpetrating the most revolting barbarities upon all around them. Even before the Tuezi attack, Jaremi Four had been one of the quarantined Enclave worlds; since the devastation there can be no question of the Enclave status being lifted not for many generations yet. However, although Confetory members may not interfere with the social evolution of Enclave worlds, this does not mean they may not land on and move around covertly on such worlds, just so long as the locals are never aware of the Galactic civilization or indeed the existence of life outside their own planet. With the aid of a few basic mentalist (conjuring) tricks, Parek is making a good living as a sort of peripatetic avatar of the sky gods, enjoying worship, viands and wenches in one community until they grow weary of his easy-going parasitism, at which point he swiftly moves on to the next. Using the latest technology, Latier secretly violates Enclave in order to present himself to Parek as one of the sky-gods, to enable Parek to perform miracles and so on (according to Arthur C. The Catholic Church, in two minds as to whether or not it would be to its own advantage if Parek were the Christ, cannot leave this alone, and so breaches Enclave even more comprehensively than anyone else . To take just a single example, it is generally assumed by atheists that the beliefs of others are sacrosanct: that it is a fundamental right of every human being to believe in the religion of his or her choice; that religion is a personal matter, not to be tampered with by others.* By the end -------------------------------------------------- * 2011 note: Attitudes have changed quite a lot among many atheists in the few years since I wrote this review. -------------------------------------------------- of reading the thought experiment that is Galactic Rapture, having seen plausibly exemplified the damage that religion can do and on a massively widespread scale one has to face what has become an inescapable question: Is that tolerant principle in fact a viable one? To continue with our current example, if we regard Jaremi Four as analogous to an individual (or to that individual's worldview), then its decreed status as an Enclave world whose inhabitants must not be tampered with by outsiders can be seen as analogous to the "accommodationist" principle of toleration expressed above. Whether or not you agree with all of Flynn's answers or with his general theme, he presents questions that we as a single-planet culture really need to face rather than forever dodge.