I spent most of the morning talking with a filmmaker working on a documentary on religious minorities in Iraq. Even so, I managed to cross paths with lots of old friends at least briefly. My first actual session I have gotten to is thus the AAR session on Religion and Science Fiction.
The first paper looked at a concept from Kurt Vonnegut's novel Sirens of Titan, the Chrono-synclastic Infundibulum, a space-time warp which allows one who enters it to experience all points of view and the rightness of them.
The second talked about TRON as an analogy for the Christian doctrine of the incarnation, complete with great puns such as the “Flynncarnation” and the “Definition of Chalcetron.”
The this paper was about the emergence of Scientology in the context of the era of the Cold War and space opera. It also looked at L. Ron Hubbard's fascination with the occult and supernatural.
The last paper focused on animals and animality, focusing on Philip K. Dick's turning of the divine into an animal (connecting this with the suffering Dick experienced within his own animal body).