Just war theory and the Cylons
This post could just as easily have been titled 'The Theology of Battlestar Gallactica'. As everyone knows, recent science fiction, even before The Matrix, has drawn heavily on theological themes and developed recognisably Christian allegories. But political questions continue to interest science fiction writers. In the re-made Battlestar Galactica, now in its fourth season in the US, "the gods" are on every other page of the script. This is an imagined future world were religious mysticism and ancient sacred texts still have their place.
Benjamin Plotinsky wonders: 'Now that science fiction again has politics to draw on, will it abandon its religious impulses?' He writes:
'The corny 1978 original mercifully died after a single season. Five years ago, however, the franchise was reborn--first as a three-hour miniseries, then as a weekly show--in a compelling new form. As in the original, the show's heroes, the last remnants of a human civilization destroyed by mechanical beings called Cylons, are fleeing their persecutors and seeking Earth, the legendary planet of their origin. But instead of the clunky robots of the 1978 series, the new Cylons are indistinguishable from human beings--a detail that helps turn the show into an ongoing examination of the War on Terror: Is it ethical to torture Cylons, for example? Other questions also echo our current conflict: How should the show's hero deal with members of a (human) fifth column that has tried to sabotage his ship? How much access to sensitive information should he grant to an apparently hostile reporter? The show declines to answer straightforwardly, instead presenting viewers with a world whose politics, like our own, are filled with moral ambiguities and difficult trade-offs.'