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Guest Blog: Wayne Thomas Batson

Soul Searching Through Fantasy by Wayne Thomas Batson Life’s hard. I don’t care who you are or what tax bracket you’re in, you are going to get hurt. Scripture tells us that, as Christians, we’re not exempt from this broken, […]
| Mar 4, 2011 | 15 comments |

Soul Searching Through Fantasy
by Wayne Thomas Batson

Life’s hard. I don’t care who you are or what tax bracket you’re in, you are going to get hurt. Scripture tells us that, as Christians, we’re not exempt from this broken, sin-sick world or the pain that comes with it. In fact, we get the comforting news that, as Christians, we might just expect to get more suffering. Yay. Count it all joy, right? I’m trying to; I bet you are too. But it’s not easy.

If you’re reading this, you’re likely a fan of Fantasy Fiction already, so I’m probably preaching to the choir. But I submit that one of the most redeeming values of reading and writing fantasy is that it’s fertile ground for your heart…your soul to go searching. We find ourselves enchanted by quaint Hobbit villages like the Shire where all things green and growing are held in high honor; where friends gather nightly over a pint–and talk; where children can play with no fear. We think, “Ah, if only life could be that simple…and good.” I believe that our souls are hungry and thirsty for heaven. And fantasy can give us a little taste. But only a taste. Christian and non-Christian readers alike, know that heaven is far greater than any fantasy author’s imagination could ever conjure. And it’s ours for the asking. Jesus said so. “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” John 10: 9-10.

We cheer for the unsung heroes of fantasy: the Frodo’s, the Charlie Bones’, the Edward’s, the Meggie’s, the Luik’s, the Aidan’s, the Willow’s, and the Kale’s. When they rise up and defeat some hideous evil, a piece of us rises up with them. It’s exhilarating and often inspiring. We want to see good triumph and evil thrown down once and for all. Fantasy provides an echo of our longing for God, His justice, and His eternal victory.

When I was a “wanna-bee” author and mainly a fantasy reader, I used to think that maybe this next point was just me. But after receiving numerous letters and emails from my readers, I’ve come to learn that many people come to fantasy to wrestle with the big questions. Who am I? Why am I here? Does my life mean anything…anything at all? And the big one: does anyone out there really love me? You might be thinking, those are questions for non-Christians only. I disagree. Os Guiness, Phillip Yancey, James Dobson, among others, disagree as well. Still, I might be in the minority, but I wonder about these things. Oh, I know what the Bible says about each of these issues. And thank God that God addresses each question mightily. But still, I sometimes wonder.

First in The Dark Sea Annals series

My soul continues to search. Why isn’t cancer cured yet? Why are there so many denominations when Jesus called us to unity? Why won’t God audibly speak to me like He did to folks in the Bible? Why do my own children fight me when I’m just trying to help them? Why is sin still so tempting? Why do Christians fight and slander one another over the dumbest things? And why do people I trust let me down? Honestly, writing fantasy has helped me in this varied search. In some ways, Aidan, Antoinette, and Robby in The Door Within Trilogy each mirror a different stage of my Christian development. And in my new book Sword in the Stars (AMG, 2010), I’m a lot more like Alastair Coldhollow than I’d care to admit. But the fantasy helps. Genre conventions such as world-building allow me to strip away some of the superficial gunk that builds up on us over time in our world. Immersed in new races and cultures, I am free to look at certain issues and really –see– them. In the books that follow Sword in the Stars (7 books in the series), I’ll be delving into a ton of issues and hopefully giving my readers a healthy shaking.

And these books are neither Christian fantasy books or anti-Christian fantasy books. They are fantasy books that I hope will appeal to the sojourner in all of us. Until we meet again, you can find me at the Green Dragon, lifting a tankard and calling out my message to anyone who will listen: Wake up, go soul searching.

~~~~~~~~~

Wayne Thomas Batson

Wayne Thomas Batson (born 1968 in Seabrook, Maryland) is an American writer. He has been married to his wife for seventeen years and has four children. Mr. Batson is also a middle school teacher of twenty years experience and continues to teach reading at Folly Quarter Middle School.

In 2005 – 2006, Batson wrote The Door Within Trilogy, published by Tommy Nelson, a division of Thomas Nelson Publishing House. Between 2007-2008, he wrote two pirate adventures novels: Isle of Swords and Isle of Fire. After 2008, Mr. Batson coauthored with Christopher Hopper The Berinfell Prophecies: Curse of the Spider King and Venom and Song. His most ambitious work has just begun: A seven-volume epic fantasy series called The Dark Sea Annals. Sword in the Stars released in November of 2010. Book 2, The Errant King, is due out in Fall 2011.

Mr. Batson is also working on a supernatural thriller aimed at more mature audiences than his previous books. Ghost (tentative title) is scheduled for a Spring 2011 Kindle release.

Wayne Thomas Batson (born 1968 in Seabrook, Maryland) is an American writer. He has been married to his wife for seventeen years and has four children. Mr. Batson is also a middle school teacher of twenty years experience and continues to teach reading at Folly Quarter Middle School. In 2005 - 2006, Batson wrote The Door Within Trilogy, published by Tommy Nelson, a division of Thomas Nelson Publishing House. Between 2007-2008, he wrote two pirate adventures novels: Isle of Swords and Isle of Fire. After 2008, Mr. Batson coauthored with Christopher Hopper The Berinfell Prophecies: Curse of the Spider King and Venom and Song. His most ambitious work is a seven-volume epic fantasy series called The Dark Sea Annals. Watch his blog at Enter The Door Within.

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Jake
Guest

Fantastic. Amen and amen. See you at the Green Dragon–’tis the only brew for the brave and true.

chrisweigand
Member

This post couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I too am a writer of fantasy and in the process of editing and writing I get so bogged down that I forget the reason that I am writing, I lose my focus and that is where I am at today as I read your post. I have gotten so lost in the mechanics that I have forgotten the journey and that it is me, my story that is being told. Through my writing I can ask the questions, explore the answers and hopefully avoid the pitfalls that my characters experience. And maybe along the way of finding my place, my answers, I can help someone else, maybe ease their journey just a bit.

Thank you for this post and your wonderful books, they have been an inspiration to me and helped me find my voice and that of the characters running around in my head.

Steve Taykor
Guest
Steve Taykor

Good article. More then a Hobbit I relate to humans in a fantasy world, like Lewis Gillies in Steven Lawheads “Song of Albion” trilogy.
We have to strive for down time to experience God’s peace in this hectic would. A hammock in the woods in nice but that’s only once a week for a couple of hours. How does one get that serenity 24/7. Don’t think we will until it’s all over. Bring it on!

So when is book three of “The Berinfell Prophecies” going to be released? Have you given up on it to start your new series?

Jason (a.k.a. the Galactic Overlord)
Guest

I’m still not done with The Final Storm! Arrgh, I have such a back log of stuff to read. Isle of Swords is still on my bookshelf, unread! I will say that on the basis of Rise of the Wyrm Lord, Antoinette Reed is one of my favorite fantasy heroines.

I also want to say if anyone can find it on Youtube, you should see Wayne’s trailer for the Door Within trilogy. I still think it’s cool how Wayne “vanishes” in the beginning. Heh, heh.

Yeah, I do think writing is a great way to explore this journey of ours. All the things we learn as the years go by end up spilling out of us in different forms. Whether it comes in the form of fighting dragons or pointy-eared elves, the reason they touch the reader is because they reflect universal truths. I think readers recognize them, and it gets them asking those big questions. If it was just for thrills and chills, well, that’s fun, but not really filling. Star Wars (the original trilogy, anyway) wouldn’t have the impact it had if it was just about a cool light show. It’s about the timeless themes of maturing, growing up, redemption, sacrifice, and spiritual enlightenment-although I can’t say I agree with the Zen-overtones of the Force.

I hope to read Berinfell 3 as well!

forgiven
Guest
forgiven

I just finished reading all that WTB has written !
I started with The Door Within trilogy, and enjoyed it. It grabbed my attention.
Teaming up with CH for The Berenfell Trilogy, has left me anticipating the final book !
Reading The Sword in the Stars left me connected to Alistair – the main character – who is haunted by the mistakes of his past. I could relate as I’ve been there … not as a murderer, but as an adulterer.
I just finished the Isle of Swords and The Isle of Fire. I couldn’t read these books fast enough !
WTB … blessings to you. May He use you as you surrender …
So Jason … dust those old novels off the shelf !
You won’t be dissapointed !

Robert Treskillard
Member

Thanks, Sir Wayne for posting this, nay, feeling this, admitting this, and pointing us to the truth. We feel it too, and you gave voice to it.

Hopefully TN will publish Berinfell Book 3 … it looks like Venom & Song has an excellent rank in Amazon right now that many authors would love to have … I can’t believe they’d balk at another sequel.

-Robert

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

Nicely said, fellow ragamuffin. Hail, and well met fellow traveler. This road can seem a blindingly lonely one, but it isn’t. The footsteps in the dust before me as well as the ones I see made along side, give me comfort and hope. After all, I’m Never Alone.

chrisd
Guest

Well said. I truly believe that story telling can be used as a shining light of hope for a world that’s lost it.

Amy Rose Davis
Guest

Good stuff here. This is why I write and read fantasy. It gives me a “safe” place to think about things that aren’t very black and white in the real world.

And I echo what others mentioned… If you can’t work out your publisher issues, go it alone. That’s what I’m doing. For someone who already has a following, it would probably be far easier than for someone like me is still looking for an audience… 🙂

Best to you!

Marion
Guest

This was an terrific post.

I recently finished reading Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin. While it was not a Christian Fantasy, the novel does with religious ideas like redemption and love in a way I could identify as a Christian.

I must admit the major reason I was so drawn to the story was Helprin’s prose and beauty that permeated throughout the novel.

I wrote a review about at my blog site (kammbia1.wordpress.com) and thought this was Fantasy Literature should be like. Now, I will look at New York City differently because of that novel and I live in San Antonio. LOL!

Moreover, good fantasy literature takes away from ourselves and helps us search for those things we know that are right….deep down.

This genre can do that like no other genre in my opinion.

Wayne, thanks for pointing that out in your article.

God Bless,
Marion

Eve
Guest

Good thoughts, Wayne. Ones I too have struggled with. Looking forward to your new series!

God bless,
Eve

Nissa Annakindt
Guest

Fantasy (including science fiction) speak to me in a way other fiction does not…. I’ve always identified with the aliens or the hobbits/elves/werewolves and other not-really-humans.

Ty Johnson
Guest
Ty Johnson

I just wanted to tell you ive read The Door wWthin Trilogy and the Isle of Fire and the Isle of Swords! They were both amazing stories that always kept my attention and made me wanna read all of it! I didnt used to like reading (Couse im 13) But ever since i read the first Door Within book i Havt to read all your books now! So thanks for writing your Books! By the way dont ever stop writing your books