a story in which a religious (esp. biblical) myth is explained as having a science fictional origin
[punning on shaggy dog story ‘a tediously long story or joke having a pointless or absurd punchline’]
I confess to a weakness for the tale where it turns out that all mankind originated from a pair of escaping experimental animals from the lab of a visiting spaceship…. The story-type is a species of lay blasphemy; my label for it is ‘the shaggy god story’…. The shaggy god story is the bane of magazine editors, who get approximately one story per week set in a garden of Eden spelt Ee-Duhn.
And ‘Clean Slate’ by Ralph Nicholas (remember the name) is a neo-shaggy god story.
The Slab, of course, is never explained, leaving 2001, for all its lively visual and mechanical spectacle, a kind of space-Spartacus, and, more pretentious still, a shaggy God story.
For all the joking, Trout’s intention appears mainly serious. Or is it? Knowing Kilgore Trout, one is tempted not to take the book too seriously. It could even be a shaggy God story.
Finally, the short novel ‘The Mouser Goes Below’ begins with yet another minor deity’s pique and then wanders aimlessly, to its end—a sort of shaggy god story.
They are Shaggy God stories, revealing that everything is run either by a wizard, or by a showman who runs the wizard from behind behind [sic] a curtain.
Kraken is set in Miéville's darkly magical London of 'dissident gods'. Miéville has described Kraken as a lighter work, ‘a shaggy-dog story. Well, a shaggy-god story...a kind of a romp.’
Cat lovers might not like it, Native Americans may well take exception to one of the stories, folks of one religion or another might not care for the Shaggy God story in its pages, and if anyone is left unoffended, Paul Di Filippo’s tale is liable to ruffle their feathers.
Brian Aldiss, in New Worlds
Last modified 2021-10-08 13:11:25
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.