I’ve looked at a piece of fiction on day one, overviewed the actual website and its editor on day two, so how about a few pieces of non-fiction on the ResAlien.com website and blog?
First, John Ottinger’s Christian Fantasy: More than Tolkien and Lewis
When I read this post today, I quickly noticed that I was re-reading it. I had seen the post months before and even had posted it on my Magnus Kir facebook wall. It’s a great article that all who are interested in the genre should read. In the post, after reminiscing on his personal introduction to the world of fantasy, Ottinger notes how, “There are many accomplished Christian writers of science fiction and fantasy who are not recognized globally or even nationally. While some Christian leaders trumpet how much modern fantasy has been shaped and molded by Christian authors, few can name more than a handful of contemporary, faith-inspired fiction writers. And those in the pews have little knowledge of fantasy or science fiction beyond Lewis and Tolkien. Most people of faith are simply unaware of the wealth of speculative literature available today that both edifies and entertains.”
While I completely concur with John’s statement, I cannot help but wonder why it is so? Why haven’t any of our amazingly talented, modern Christian authors become “the face of modern Christian fantasy” in the way the inklings and others of their era did? Is it bad PR? Do they not have the wit and humorously plump tummy of Chesterton? Do they not have Lewis’ ability to speak to an entire nation over the airwaves of the BBC? It is pretty interesting that we live in the age of the interwebs and social networking, but for some reason, something is just not “clicking” with the public. Is the problem in the marketing, the quality (which it likely is not), the Christian public, or the fact that Christianity itself has been placed on the backburner? Your comments are welcome.
Second, in R. L. Copple’s Fantasy and Christianity he takes an apologetic approach and defends the genre of fantasy. He writes, “Therefore, on the issue of magic and fantasy, which on the surface can appear to be pagan, an attempt to apply the faulty logic of “guilty by association” derives from a view of the world where some elements are not from God and so should be avoided at all cost, even the appearance of a relationship. But this very division is not a Christian worldview.” I thought this was really interesting, but I sure he’d differentiate between the author’s promotion or demotion of these instances of “apparently pagan” magic. This would obviously cut a clear line between Christian and non-Christian fantasy.
While it was an interesting read, he didn’t really tackle the ideas that even I, as a writer of Christian fantasy, wonder about how my writing fits within the lens of Christianity. For instance, Copple writes, “So, one characteristic of good Christian fantasy is the underlying reality that all comes from God, whether the characters realize that or not.” For me this begged the question; can a Christian write a tale in which there actually is no obvious recognition of God as the source of everything natural and supernatural? He mentions Tolkien’s LOTR; but is there an obvious God figure there? I for one am still considering my answers to the former questions, but I think I will likely land at “no” for both. (Possibly we’ll discuss why at another time?)
Thomas Clayton Booher
CSFF Blog Tour
Carol Bruce Collett
D. G. D. Davidson
Rebecca LuElla Miller