Def: Shaggy God Story

The lead in that I wrote for the Wikipedia entry.

Shaggy God story

A Shaggy God story is a minor science fiction genre characterized by an attempt to explain Biblical concepts with science fiction tropes. The term was coined by writer and critic Brian W. Aldiss in a pseudonymous column in the October 1965 issue of New Worlds (magazine). The term is a pun on the concept of a Shaggy dog story. In its original sense a Shaggy God story features a heterosexual pair of astronauts landing on a lush and virgin world and in the last line their names are revealed as Adam and Eve. The term has now spread into general usage to mean any science fictional justification of theology. It is widely considered a cliché.

The creation of the term is often misattributed to Michael Moorcock. Moorcock edited the issue of New Worlds where Aldiss coined the term in a pseudonymous column. It has been suggested that many assumed Moorcock to be the author of the column. The issue was cleared up in an August 2004 David Langford column in SFX magazine.

The genre as a cliché

"The shaggy god story is the bane of magazine editors, who get approximately one story a week set in a garden of Eden spelt Ee-Duhn."

--Brian W. Aldiss, writing as Dr. Peristyle, New Worlds October, 1965.

Brian Stableford notes in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2nd ed.) that “a considerable fraction” of stories submitted to science fiction magazines feature a male and female astronaut marooned on a habitable planet and “reveal (in the final line) that their names are Adam and Eve.”

The genre is also listed a cliché in the Science Fiction Writers of America's Turkey City Lexicon: A Primer for SF Workshops and David Langford's July 2004 SFX magazine column on the same.

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