Well, it’s my turn to introduce myself, though Shannon started to do just that last Thursday. As she explained, we’re sharing days, so you’ll read a post from me, Beth Goddard, every other Thursday. This week has been an exceptionally busy week in terms of blogs focusing on Christian science fiction and fantasy. I hope you joined the tour and enjoyed it.
Now for a quick introduction. Last week, the contributors told you about how they first fell in love with this genre—and from the sound of it, their “first love” still burns strong. I must admit my humble beginnings as a SFF genre lover began with 2001: A Space Odyssey, which I read in fifth grade (though I had to start over and over until I could finally get into the story). From then on I was drawn to SFF, though my interest in reading fiction took me through the gothic novels to historicals.
I’m different from many of the Speculative Faith bloggers, because I did not return to the love of this genre until the last few years, when you could say I “rediscovered my first love” through reading Oxygen, Arena and Firebird. As one who loves to read Christian fiction for those timeless lessons and to simply hear God speaking to me, I’ve steered away from the secular novels of any kind.
After meeting with an editor at a conference regarding my first attempt at writing fantasy, he encouraged me with a long list of SFF novels—all from the secular market—so I’ve added such titles as The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever to my reading list. Still, I’m enjoying imaginative new Christian authors such as Kathryn Mackel, Karen Hancock, Linda Wichman. . the list goes on. But mostly, I love stories that reveal a deep message that resonates for days, weeks even. Over time, I believe and hope the Christian SFF offerings will increase. . and I hope to be one with something to offer.
I also participate in another team blog, Favorite Pastimes, that focuses on historical fiction. I write about the Middle Ages and of course, use the opportunity to plug historical fantasy as well. Though the contributing bloggers are Christian, we want to attract a broad audience and haven’t labeled ourselves as such. Interesting, though, a reader contacted one of us to find out if we were Christian. Apparently much of what we write leans in that direction even though we’ve tried not to use “Christianeze”.
I find this fascinating in light of the recent Spec Faith discussion on Tuesday. I know there are Christian authors writing for the secular market and many of them have no message of faith at all. But I’m not sure I can grasp how they do this. I’m only considering how it’s possible, as a Christian, to write any story without some spiritual elements of the Christian faith shining through.
Then there’s the other side. I’ve read Christian novels that I KNEW the person writing it did not know Jesus. . or at least had a distant relationship to Him. My guess is that I could read a SFF novel by a Christian author written to the secular market, absent of even subtle Christianity, and I could still find Christ in their book because I’m forever looking for the spiritual elements in everything I read and watch (and listen to).
To be fair, though, some stories lend themselves to religious discussion more than others. In medieval times, religion permeated society and if I’m writing a historical fantasy set in this period, I would be hard pressed to leave out the Christian element, though how I portray it could easily be in a negative sense.
I look forward to your comments