Upcoming events…

Quick events post:
I’m speaking tonight at a homeschool community gathering. I’m looking forward to a discussion on apologetics as well as Magnus Kir.

I’m starting an apologetics series at Team Church on Wednesday nights. Would you like to join us? http://www.teamchurch.com/

I just noticed that the National Apologetics Conference is a little over a month away! Wow… I am speaking on atheism and our response to modern atheists. http://conference.ses.edu/

Lastly, keep an eye out for two things: 1) I’ve been asked to write an article for the Resident Aliens website. I’ll post a link when it’s finished and posted. 2) I’ll hopefully have a signing at Park Road Books in the next few months…it’s in the works!

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Day Three of CSFF tour of ResAliens.com- articles on Christian Fantasy

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?)

Comments welcome!

 
*Participants’ links

Noah Arsenault
Brandon Barr
Thomas Clayton Booher
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Jeff Chapman
CSFF Blog Tour
Carol Bruce Collett
D. G. D. Davidson
Dean Hardy
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Lyn Perry
Sarah Sawyer
Jessica Thomas
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler

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Day two of CSFF blog tour of the ResAliens Website- seeking short stories!

In yesterday’s blog about the ResAliens website   I focused more on one of the short stories than I did on the actual web/webzine, so, here’s a little more on this cool website.

Lyn Perry is the editor of ResAliens as well as the publisher of the print format of their magazine.  (e-copies are usually 2-3 bucks and well worth it, print copies are $7-8, see link to purchase!)   Well, why the name “ResAliens?” Lyn answers, “ResAliens is short forResidential Aliens. A resident alien is, of course, a foreigner who is residing temporarily in a country not her own – an expatriate of sorts. Believers in heaven (or a “coming new age”) often consider themselves to be simply passing through this world on their way to a better land. The idea is that, although we’re currently inhabitants of earth, we’re really citizens of heaven and thus pilgrims, or aliens, on this planet.”

Great, so, is ResAliens only written by Christian writers? Lyn continues, “I am a believer and follower of Christ, yes. The authors and audience, however, may or may not come from a position of faith. But what I think you’ll find here is a collection of quality stories with a moral or spiritual thread that appeals to the broad and varied interests of fans of speculative fiction.” (This may have been helpful yesterday, as I was wondering if the article I read was written from a Christian worldview. While I’m still unsure (it wasn’t mentioned in his bio), it does help me to understand that the writer’s worldview may not have been Christian in the first place.

The other cool think about the site is that they are actively seeking writers to write for the magazine. They accept family friendly (PG-Pg13 max) writing of speculative fiction in the following lengths:

+ Flash Fiction (900 to 1500 words)

+ Short Stories (1500 to 6000 words, firm; 7k to 9k stories are too long)

Query First: Serials (2 to 4 episodic installments; up to 20k words)

Query First: Poetry/Verse (Limited! Note: This is a very hard sell.)

Query First: Artwork/Artist Interview. Email: lyn at resaliens dot com.

Visit here to learn more about how you can write for ResAliens!

Noah Arsenault
Brandon Barr
Thomas Clayton Booher
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Jeff Chapman
CSFF Blog Tour
Carol Bruce Collett 
D. G. D. Davidson
Dean Hardy
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Lyn Perry
Sarah Sawyer
Jessica Thomas
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler

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“Considering A.I. in Christian Fantasy” : Day One of CSFF tour of ResAliens website! (Free book offer within)

The ResAliens website quickly enthralled me. There was so much to READ and I couldn’t even choose where to begin!  (visit Web site link – http://www.resaliens.com/ )  They have an e-magazine which I quickly downloaded for FREE and will have to comment in a later blog, as well as short stories and interviews with artists and authors.

So, where did I start? Call it laziness, or following the direction of the webmaster, I started at the top at the most advertised piece: T.M. Hunter’s Dead or Alive anthology of short stories.  “Some assembly required” was a pretty cool read. I immediately thought of a Blade Runneresque  bar scene and the subject matter was Asimovian (which I love).  Throughout the story I was impressed by the overall writing skill and the development (albeit short) of Aston. By the end I was hoping that he’d leave Libby behind and get out with his cash, and life. If you’d like to read the story please do, but if you are not interested, read on. (There’s a little bit of spoiler in the next paragraph.)

You see, Libby is a machine. It takes Aston a little while to realize it, but yes, she’s a robot (that used to happen to me all the time in my college days). By the end he’s hoping to “save her” from being deprogrammed at the risk of his own well-being, but this brought up an interesting dilemma in my feeble philosophical mind. As Christians, how should we integrate AI into our sf writing? How are we supposed to respond to AI as readers? Biblically, man cannot create life or “make souls” and I’m considering if it’s problematic to raise a robot’s worth to the same status as a human. For instance, I am a huge fan of the Star Wars series, and while C3PO was constantly dismantled and dismembered, the director never made us even attempt compassion for him. We all knew he could be reconstructed and reprogrammed. (It’s intention usually was comedic, not to evoke compassion.) In contrast, the movie A.I. constantly attempted to make us feel compassion for a robot; I couldn’t take it. Was I the only one who wanted to see David (the boy) finished off at the carnival? Well, maybe that was a little harsh, but at the same time, just like C3PO, couldn’t he have just been reconstructed?  But I have to admit, I’ve got a little place in my heart for WALL-E, who was programmed to collect trash, but inexplicably falls in love with another robot who was, rather ironically, searching for life on earth.

I digress from my philosophical tirade. Whether or not AI should be used in Christian SF is up for debate and I’d love comments or even links to other articles on the subject.  From the one short story I read from Hunter’s book on the ResAliens website, I’m definitely down for reading more. There is a book giveaway on goodreads which I quickly entered HERE.

Hope you enjoy the site!

Participant Links:
Noah Arsenault
Brandon Barr
Thomas Clayton Booher
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Jeff Chapman
CSFF Blog Tour
Carol Bruce Collett
D. G. D. Davidson
Dean Hardy
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Lyn Perry
Sarah Sawyer
Jessica Thomas
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler

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A post on Hunger Games… (a review and being on set of the movie)

Hunger Games (HG) was a very unique read for me for two reasons.
1) It was written in first person. I found this strange, yet, for the most part it was smoothly written. A few times during the read something “felt strange” with the wording, then I reminded myself that it was written in a different person that I was accustomed to.
2) The intensity level of the book begins immediately on the first page and lasts the entire way through. Personally, I read books that give me time to breathe, reflect, and wonder what’s going to happen next. In HG, you are thrust into Katniss’ world of Panem, and there’s no release… even at the end you are thrust into a different sort of turmoil.
Quick review:
The HG plot revolves around an oppressive regime centered in one city (the Capitol) which has totalitarian control over 12 separate districts. (It used to be 13, until it was destroyed in a revolt.) The members in each district severely struggled for basic sustenance. Then, every year, the Capitol randomly chooses a boy and girl in each district to have the honor of being a part of the hunger games. What’s the honor? Fighting the other tributes to the death while all the rest of Panem watches. Yes, there are severe moral implications to this sort of entertainment, of course, can you imagine a worse dystopian universe than a government that kills kids for fun?

On set of the movie:
This may sound strange, but I have to be careful what I write here. As a background extra you do sign a release stating that you won’t talk about the specifics of being on set. I can’t speak on my make-up, outfit, set design, or anything else for that matter. All I can say is that I was a member of “Captiol” and had to cheer and encourage what was likely immoral. (Not giving anything away here…this is clearly in the book!) It was strange; I had actually become a person that I had demonized while reading HG. Thank goodness after ten hours I could take off the outfit and make-up… That being said, I’d do it again in a heartbeat; and if they come to do the next movie in the series here in Charlotte, that might be a possibility!

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Signing at Barnes and Noble- August 27th

It’s been a crazy summer…but I actually got more reading done than expected. I highly recommend Neil Postman’s “Amusing Ourselves to Death”- it’s an interesting take on how tv and media has changed how “we know.” My wife and I both loved Suzanne Collins’ “Hunger Games”. I’ll give my take on the rest of the series once I’m done with them… I’d also recommend another book I read this summer, but I think I’m a little late on the Harry Potter bandwagon! 🙂

I have much to look forward to for the rest of the year. Barnes and Noble has welcomed me into the store on August 27th for a signing, I’m speaking to the PATH homeschool community in September, I’m leading an apologetics small group at TEAM church, and I’m speaking at the National Apologetics Conference in October. That doesn’t even count the other events we have in the works!

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Recent Updates! Family Christian and other events…

2 major updates:
1) Magnus Kir is on the shelves at Maranatha Bookstore in Monroe, NC. Stop by and say hello to Doris! She’s a super cool lady!
2) The Publisher met with Family Christian Bookstore’s Corporate buyers about a week ago. Please pray that they decide that MK would be great for their stores!

Some other upcoming events:
-Working with a local homeschool group to do an event for Magnus Kir- it may even include a blog tour. We’ll see what happens!
-Of course, the Youth Apologetics Conference kicks off- July 11-15th! Visit http://www.youthapologetics.com for details!
-I’ve been giving away books on my facebook page…have you joined? Have any contest ideas? http://www.facebook.com/magnuskir2
-Hopefully have two signings lined up- one at a Barnes and Noble in August the other is in February of 2011 in Lumberton, NC. I’ll post when these are confirmed!

Thanks for checking in!

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Quick update…

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Much has happened since the release….but mostly in the marketing of the book. We’ve been meeting with independent book store owners/managers, establishing an online presence- mostly facebook and amazon as well as good reads (see below), and praying that the main Christian bookstore chains will pick up the book. The publisher is meeting with Family Christian bookstores on June 7th in Grand Rapids to present their new books including Magnus Kir. Pray that they pick it up! This would take Magnus Kir to every one of their shelves in the US.

Tim (pubslisher) has a call into a Barnes and Noble for a signing…hopefully it will go through!

Would you be willing to visit goodreads.com and give a review for either book? Thanks!
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1775349.Dean_Hardy

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Update: Book Release at Charlotte Christian…

The Book Release after school on Wednesday went very well. We had over 50 people show up, some were even friends from off-campus! It was great to see all of you. I especially appreciated our fifth grade teachers (and their students) – thanks to Mrs. Lister and Mrs. Veit for your encouragement and support.

I’m hoping that New Creation will come through with a signing….possibly the 13th or 14th. I’ve also contacted Park Road books as well. If you do happen to have a relationship with a book store manager/owner/worker, would you share my book with them?

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Book Release & first promotional meeting.

This Wednesday is the Book Release at Charlotte Christian… an obvious choice for the first venue for a release. These are my students, friends and my extended family!

I stopped in New Creation this weekend to discuss a signing at the store- I don’t know if that will happen. I have my first “promotion/marketing” meeting with the Publisher later this afternoon to discuss if local signings are something I should pursue full-throttle, or if I should take a different approach.

I’ve gotten the book in the hands of Pam Kelley at the Observer. Hopefully she will like it enough to review it…

I’ll keep you posted!

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