GREENBELT TALKS

I’ve now given a total of three talks at Greenbelt, the liberal Christian arts festival which takes place annually over the August Bank Holiday weekend at Cheltenham racecourse. Transcripts of all of these talks are now available online.

A couple of things to bear in mind when reading the talks:

Firstly, these are for the most part direct transcripts of talks which were delivered ex tempore from notes. What’s more, the ‘Science Fiction and the Bible’ talks in particular were an attempt to present a rather abstruse subject to a non-specialist audience. They’re therefore worded in an informal style, and lack the accuracy and the precise phrasing which I would have used in an essay. I have done a little tidying up at a few points when what I said is actually confused or unclear, as well as excising hesitations, repetitions of words, meaningless interjections of ‘kind of’, ‘sort of’, ‘basically’ and the like.

Secondly, the talks were written for a Christian audience (albeit an unusually broad-minded and tolerant one – Greenbelt is the only large-scale Christian venue in the UK where I’d expect to get away with some of the things I say here). I hope that what I do say will nevertheless be of interest to secular readers, or those of other faiths. Such readers will, however, have to forgive the explicit assumption in the talks that most of the audience will be of a Christian persuasion.

Some years later I contributed to an artwork at the 2008 Greenbelt festival entitled A Quantum of Sol: Rising Sun.


2005: THE SPIRITUALITY OF DOCTOR WHO

Most recently, I spoke at Greenbelt 2005 on the spirituality of the revived series of Doctor Who, starring Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor and masterminded by TV writer Russell T Davies. It was a popular subject, and there was an audience of some two hundred at the ‘Between the Lines’ venue. The following transcript is taken from a cassette recording provided by the venue.

Also available is the text of ‘Salvation Through Time-Travel’, an article on the same subject first published by surefish.co.uk, to tie in with the talk as part of their Greenbelt 2005 coverage.


2004: SCIENCE FICTION AND THE BIBLE

In 2004 I spoke on the complementary topics of ‘Science Fiction as the Bible’ and ‘The Bible as Science Fiction’. These seemed to go down well with the audiences (who numbered a hundred or more on both occasions), and I’m now seriously considering working them up into a book for one of the more tolerant Christian publishers in the UK.

Transcripts of both talks, taken from somewhat incomplete minidisk recordings, are now finally online. A fully hyperlinked Reading List on the topic is now available. (Also available online is ‘Tithonus Unbound’, a short science fiction story I wrote for the Greenbelt anthology-zine Unbound Freedom, produced on site by the ‘Between the Lines’ venue where these talks were delivered.)



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