“The Science Fiction Makers” Documentary–and I am In It!

As I am a perennially awkward person, I don’t mind admitting that I have always wanted to be on one of those History Channel-type documentaries. True, I hardly ever watch them as it seems when I am in the mood to sit and watch TV, they are always uncovering the secret alien history of the Bible or some such nonsense. You can guess, then, that I was fairly pleased to be asked to be part of Andrew Wall’s newest documentary, The Science Fiction Makers: Rousseau, Lewis, and L’Engle.

Andrew Wall is a strangely productive film-maker. I’m amazed at his output. But he also has an admirable level of quality. The Science Fiction Makers is Part 2 of the Faith in Imagination Series. When I screened–us seasoned film folk say “screened” instead of “showed”–when I screened the first film in the series, my family said, “Oh, that’s actually pretty good.” High praise for our critical household. And I agree. The Fantasy Makers: Tolkien, Lewis and MacDonald was informative and enjoyable, setting a pretty high standard.

Andrew Wall’s company, Refuge 31 Films, recently released his new documentary The Science Fiction Makers: Rousseau, Lewis and L’Engle. This feature documentary examines the unique story of the Christian Science-Fiction sub-genre and three writers that played a role in its emergence. In the midst of pandemic social distancing rules, unable to travel across the world to interview scholars of imaginative literature, Wall managed to produce a strong documentary about the lives and literature of C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle, and an obscure, interesting, and unusual 20th-century Christian sf writer, Victor Rousseau.

What I love about this film is how Wall gives the scholars and artists time to share deeply and meaningfully about the work of these intriguing and ground-breaking figures. The Science Fiction Makers then frames those scholarly comments within a narrative that makes sense of the whole. Well done to Andrew Wall and the Refuge 31 team!

For those who have trouble spotting me, I’m the guy in the trailer not wearing a cool t-shirt under his blazer–in contrast to Emily Strand, who now rates #1 for me in documentary dress wear. In this film, you can also hear the elfin voice of Malcolm Guite, the clear and evocative ideas of Diana Glyer, and a number of other scholars and writers who provide so much depth to the question of 20th-century Christian science fiction. You can find The Science Fiction Makers on Amazon Prime, specifically on the Super Channel, depending on where you live. You can find the website here.

Enjoy, and here’s the trailer for The Fantasy Makers:

About Brenton Dickieson

“A Pilgrim in Narnia” is a blog project in reading and talking about the work of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the worlds they touched. As a "Faith, Fantasy, and Fiction" blog, we cover topics like children’s literature, apologetics and philosophy, myths and mythology, fantasy, theology, cultural critique, art and writing. This blog includes my thoughts as I read through Lewis and Tolkien and reflect on my own life and culture. In this sense, I am a Pilgrim in Narnia--or Middle Earth, or Fairyland. I am often peeking inside of wardrobes, looking for magic bricks in urban alleys, or rooting through yard sale boxes for old rings. If something here captures your imagination, leave a comment, “like” a post, share with your friends, or sign up to receive Narnian Pilgrim posts in your email box. Brenton Dickieson is a father, husband, friend, university lecturer, and freelance writer from Prince Edward Island, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter, @BrentonDana.
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18 Responses to “The Science Fiction Makers” Documentary–and I am In It!

  1. robstroud says:

    The documentary looks fascinating. Coincidentally, just today I was reading a story by Frederik Pohl about a future (corporately-managed) war.

    I’m a big scifi fan, and I was introduced to C.S. Lewis through his Space Trilogy.

    Your post has really refreshed the sandbox of my imagination!


  2. robstroud says:

    Reblogged this on Mere Inkling Press and commented:
    I’ve never reblogged anyone’s post before, but my friend Dr. Dickieson just announced a recent Canadian documentary that looks amazing. I just visited Amazon Prime (US) to view it, but apparently it’s not yet available here–you Canadians always have first access to the good stuff. Check out the trailer, and I will announce in the future when it’s available to a broader audience.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. John Gough says:

    I had never heard of Victor Rousseau (or any of his pen-names), and found a Wikipedia article that outlines his life and works. I am surprised that he would be rated the same treatment as L’Engle or Lewis.
    Two of Rousseau’s works are available at Project Gutenberg: one 1930 issue of “Astounding Stories of Super-Science”, and “The Messiah of the Cylinder” (1917), a futuristic dystopia that others have compared to H.G. Wells’ “When the Sleeper Awakes”, which, in turn, influenced Huxley’s “Brave New World” and Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty Four”.


    • It is more the intrigue of Rousseau, I think, than anything else. His impact, of course, is not nearly as high. But I kind of thing that without Tolkien & Lewis, Geo MacDonald’s readership would be pretty low today.


  4. L.A. Smith says:

    Oh, fantastic! I would love to see this…I have AMazon Prime but not SuperChannel, but you can sign up for a free 30 day trial of SuperChannel, so I will have to do that to view it. Look marvelous!


  5. Nancy Ruegg says:

    A Wrinkle in Time by L’Engle was my favorite book out of dozens we read for “Kiddie Lit” in college, part of our elementary education preparation. I’m glad L’Engle was chosen as a groundbreaker for Christian science fiction; she is most deserving. Congratulations for being chosen to participate in the documentary!


  6. Lizzy Timlin says:

    I’ve been wanting to learn more about L’Engle, for sure! Thanks for this recommendation.


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