Yesterday, I went up to CPAC for a day, and I spent the final three hours drinking with some folks from Liberty Island and the National Review -- including Patrick Brennan, who got an earful on the politics of the science fiction fandom and the continuing implosion of SFWA. (Hello, conservative journalist who's younger than I! Let me tell you how science fiction is yet another front in our culture war. Etc., etc.) At any rate, during the course of our conversation, an interesting question arose: Is there such a thing as traditionalist (aka socially conservative) science fiction?
Because when I think about the science fiction authors past and present with whom I'm familiar, Orson Scott Card is the only one I can think of off the top of my head who's expressed an identifiably traditionalist viewpoint on a particular issue (and his stance on gay marriage certainly doesn't guarantee equally traditionalist stances on other issues). The rest of my mental list is populated by leftists and libertarians. (And thank goodness for the second group!)
Fantasy, of course, has plenty of traditionalists, but do they exist in science fiction? Brennan seemed to think that a traditionalist wouldn't be interested in exploring technological progress or space exploration, but personally, I'm not so sure. After all, the Vatican - arguably the most powerful proponent of traditionalism in the modern world - has an astronomer -- who, by the way, once commented on the possibility of alien lifeforms having immortal souls. And let's not forget that several early scientists were members of monastic orders -- Gregor Mendel, for one.
Unfortunately, while I have been reading science fiction for most of my life, I certainly cannot boast that my knowledge of the genre is complete. So let me throw the above question out to the peanut gallery: Can you name any science fiction works that are clearly traditionalist? Suddenly, I have a mighty need.