1. Lisa says:

    One of my favourite books is The Book of the Dun Cow, by Walter Wanegrin, Jr. This book is entirely populated by animals, a whole farmyard of them, “ruled” over by a rooster, Chanticleer. It is a marvellous story. The animals are perhaps analogous to humans aka Animal Farm but they have a lovely “animal” way of looking at the world, too. It would be a good place to start if someone is looking at how animals can be portrayed in Christian speculative fiction outside of the Narnia idea of talking animals and Aslan.

  2. Autumn says:

    I think when talking about animals, hunting, etc in fiction, I’d like to see authors talking more about the good and bad parts of each perspective.

    Many times, for instance, I see books taking the stance of animals are good/moral, or animals are bad/immoral, and humans will be the opposite of however the story depicts animals. I don’t mind reading some stories with these viewpoints, but I would like to see people do more to acknowledge and discuss the good and bad in animals. Debunking myths like animals always kill for food and showing that prey animals are not as gentle and harmless as they are depicted would be some interestig aspects.

    Trophy/recreational hunting would be another thing to discuss in fiction in a more balanced way. It would be cool to see a fantasy book that talks about poaching, but also shows some people who hunt responsibly and why it can be a good thing. Law abiding trophy hunters aren’t nearly always sadistic gun lovers who only care about catching a deer with huge antlers and leaving the carcass to rot. Sometimes animals need to be hunted to help keep numbers to a level that is healthy for everyone, both man and beast. As beings at the top of the food chain, we serve a role much like wolves and other predators do: keep certain animals from becoming so numerous that they run out of food or damage the environment. And the reason humans don’t need such population control (in the form of abortion, etc.) is because we can look at the whole world and choose better methods, like abstinence or non abortive birth control.

    There are a lot of other positives for recreational hunting, but that’s one of the more commonly cited ones. I know some people get weirded out at the idea of someone liking to kill an animal and have its head on their wall, but I think we as authors should still do our research and present all aspects of the issue.

    But as far as favorite stories with animals in them, I’ve liked a lot of them where there are at least some sentient/talking beasts in the story’s world. It’s fun to see how the world building takes sentient animals into account. I know with my stories I’ve had to consider things like making the floor plans of some buildings more open to accommodate larger animals, for instance. I think Dinotopia has some cool world building aspects like that as well. I recall some illustration of a council room with different types of chairs, some for massive dinosaurs, while other dinos just stood in front of the council table, and the human’s chairs were raised up to the Dino’s level, so the humans had to climb a ladder to get in their chairs.

What do you think?