When I was growing up I fell in love with thought-provoking and intellectually-stimulating books. I can remember the amazing feeling of first following Christian in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. From facing foes at home to foes in Hell, Christian overcame the challenges laid out on the narrow road because his eyes were fixed on the eternal prize.
Later, I read Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and found it just as timeless as Pilgrim’s Progress. I wanted to build a submarine of my own and live off of the sea, away from the turmoil of the industrialized world. I cringed when Captain Nemo sank a ship and left its passengers to drown, but I couldn’t help admiring him for taking action in what he believed to be a just cause.
Today we live in a technologically overwhelmed society. From television to movies, to the internet and video games, from cell phones to e-readers, and the list grows the more we examine our culture. Life has become impersonal and undisciplined.
It used to be that a young man had to discipline his tongue and his life so that when he encountered others, his words could be a reflection of his character. But today the young man sends a thousand text messages that are sent on a whim, without refinement or discipline. The art of relationships has been all but lost; they have become volatile.
These are some of the reasons that I chose to create an old world fantasy in The Sword of the Dragon series, rather than a contemporary one. Separated from technology, people are more easily exposed as good or evil. They cannot hide behind a curtain of flashing lights and images.
As readers, many of us desire to retrieve the positive elements of older cultures, such as their manners, their speech, and their discipline. But our society loves pleasure more than they love God.
In my Christian fantasy novels I seek to give the youths of today new examples of heroes and heroines that choose to surmount the odds. We need stories that encourage young people to be strong for God and to live lives that please Him.
The stories that I read while growing up inspired me to be a better person–to better follow God and to deal more rightly with other people. A good story isn’t just penned or typed; it grows out of the heart.
The emails and other feedback that I have received with regards to my novels tell me that many readers are encouraged by my stories. They have laughed and they have cried, but in the end it is the story’s spiritual journey that I hope empowers them for the future. The imagination is a powerful thing. It can be used for good or for evil.
Is this why we love stories that hearken back to days of old–of knights slaying dragons and seeking fair maidens in distress? We want to love the good and despise the evil. We want to be those heroes and heroines that may falter but never waver in their diligence.
Good old-world fantasy novels push us to be better individuals. The ancient realms are ours for the taking!
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Scott Appleton is a freelance writer living in northeast Connecticut. He is the author of The Sword of the Dragon series and the anthology By Sword By Right. He frequently travels around the country, visiting schools and stores to promote his books. In his spare time he enjoys reading and spending time with his beautiful wife and children. Visit his blog , Website, and Facebook page.