“For me, it’s one of those stories that does what SF does so very well, shining a light into those murky places where mundane fiction either will not or can not go: asking difficult questions about the nature of faith, belief and pride (and taking a few well aimed and accurate shots at the nature of colonialism along the way).” – James Lecky
The Streets Of Ashkelon is a terrific tale audiobooked as part of last month’s issue of Lightspeed. Sometimes classified as a horror, often reprinted, it’s a classic SF story that’s in dialogue with James Blish’s A Case Of Conscience. Maria Doria Russell’s The Sparrow could also be considered a part of this long conversation. But unlike either of those novels this fifty year old short story takes the other side, stridently offering a challenge to the authority of faith’s promulgators. It asks an important question:
Ought evangelists and proselytizers have any business promoting their religion to aliens?
This is an SF story in the vein of Star Trek and H.G. Wells, so ought we not to read the innocent aliens as an allegory for something a little closer to home?
Decide for yourself.
Lightspeed – The Streets Of Ashkelon
By Harry Harrison; Read by Paul Boehmer
1 |MP3| – Approx. 49 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcast: September 2012
First published in New Worlds Science Fiction, #122, September 1962.
Posted by Jesse Willis
One thought to “Lightspeed: The Streets Of Ashkelon by Harry Harrison”
If missionaries have no right to spread their ideas, then writers have no right to publish ideas or stories.
So yeah, another “saw off the branch I’m sitting on” sf story, right up there with “I’m not sure if science actually has any place in life” tales….