Random thoughts generated by my wandering brain on this morning’s bike ride:
The setting is super weird. Weirder than Firefly and all the Chinese influences, because at least there you can sorta-kinda extrapolate Chinese culture taking on greater global prominence even within our lifetimes. But in Coriolis it’s not Islamic culture, it’s pre-Islamic. Whyyyy?
Then I started thinking about a sci-fi future where we passed through Christianity at some point in the timeline and reverted to something pre-Christian (and IMO pre-Judaic). That’s a grab bag of course: the Romantic and Hellenic, Zoroastrianism, Gnosticm, European paganism. I mean, I dig the aesthetics of a pagan future but getting there seems just impossible.
Then again maybe we’re already on our way to reinstating some kind of fertility-slash-prosperity divinity, yeah? I mean the prosperity gospel folks call it “God” but that’s a marketing decision. They could accurately call it “Trump” and 800 years from now, we could have a whole pantheon of war gods (Blackwater) and wisdom gods (Google) and messenger gods (Facebook) and gods of health (Kaiser) and death (Armalite) and beauty (Instagram) and love (Tinder) and on and on.
But because we’re writing this wild future for a modern audience, and because it seems reasonable, we might have this pantheon but still dress it up in the rites of western Christianity, with churches and tithing and big splashy capitalistic holidays and televangelists.
Which brings me back to the Coriolis aesthetic, which is clearly culturally Islamic but dressed up in pre-Islamic art, the Ali Baba and Aladdin (yes yes, a 17th century invention) and 1001 Nights stuff. I don’t really know much about pre-Islamic rites: were there calls to prayer throughout the day? Was there tithing? Pilgrimages to holy sites? Those things all remain in this distant future setting and yet they’ve relegated Islam to a minority faith.