Fantastical Truth Travels Back to the Times We First Discovered Fantasy

On our latest Fantastical Truth podcast episode, we share some of your stories about how you first discovered amazing fiction.
on Mar 3, 2020 · 2 comments

This time it’s personal: on our latest Fantastical Truth podcast episode, we share some of your stories about how you first discovered amazing fiction.

Zackary Russell and I also share our early joy in niche and popular fantastical fiction, including:

  • Superbook, a.k.a. Animated Parent and Child Theater, a Bible anime series in two seasons in the 1980s
  • Star Wars, because of course
  • Alfred Slote’s My Robot Buddy middle-grade book series
  • Sunday-school song hero Psalty the Singing Songbook
  • Focus on the Family’s long-running audio drama series Adventures in Odyssey (here is Stephen’s recent article about AiO)
  • The Chronicles of Narnia, for sure
  • Environmentalist TV show Captain Planet and the Planeteers
  • Terry Brooks’ The Sword of Shannara and series
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • Left Behind and the ensuing series of novels, books, and a couple of movies
  • Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy The Wheel of Time series
  • (Briefly) The Prince of Egypt (1998) animated film (and now also a stage musical)

So many of you have sent us your fantasy origin stories, so we’ll share more of those during future episodes.

Next on Fantastical Truth

On Tuesday, March 10, Brian Godawa (Chronicles of the Nephilim fiction series, The Imagination of God nonfiction) joins Fantastical Truth. We’ll explore some deep doctrine magic: How does Jesus define and redeem his gift of imagination?

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E. Stephen Burnett, signature

E. Stephen Burnett explores fantastical stories for God’s glory as publisher of and its weekly Fantastical Truth podcast. He coauthored The Pop Culture Parent and creates other resources for fans and families, serving with his wife, Lacy, in their central Texas church. Stephen's first novel, a science-fiction adventure, launches in 2025 from Enclave Publishing.
  1. Travis Perry says:

    To comment on my own introduction into speculative fiction:

    Star Trek the Animated Series was the first I saw. Followed by some Saturday Morning cartoons, like Space Ghost. Saw Star Wars in the theaters not long after. (I also saw the 70s versions of Wonder Woman and the Hulk on TV on occasion and the Adam West Batman a time or two.)

    I was a fan of non-fiction science books, especially books about dinosaurs and outer space. When I got to my middle school library in 5th grade I saw a section marked “Science Fiction” and wanted to know what that was because I was interested in science. My first science fiction book was Rocket Ship Galileo by Robert A. Heinlein, which was the first sci fi novel he wrote (the title is what drew me). I read all of the sci fi by Heinlein available to me in that library, which was all his clean work (post 1960s, his sci fi was drenched in sex, as I discovered around the age of 16). I also read a pile of other science fiction writers of the “Golden Age” of science fiction of the 1950s. Lester Del Rey, Ray Bradbury, Andre Norton, Frederick Pohl, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke–and some few post-golden era sci fi writers like Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and eventually Michael Crichton.

    A Christian I knew recommended Narnia to me, so I read the 7 books in that series about the time I was reading a lot of sci fi. I then read Terry Brooks Sword of Shanarra, and some other fantasy books, including some sex-and-slavery-drenched Conan the Barbarian and Gor series books (about the same time I discovered Heinlein’s obsession with sex post 1960s). Eventually I read Tolkein. Gimly was my favorite character my first read through.

    I didn’t have access to a television when Star Trek The Next Generation came out. I’ve seen Star Trek Deep Space Nine was the first sci fi series on TV I followed episode by episode.

  2. Well, I saw Superbook and Flying House when I was in fifth grade, along with Kimba the White Lion. I mostly liked them. Never knew that Superbook and Flying House were anime until now.

    Even before those three shows, though, I saw and liked a few episodes of Hamtaro, so I sort of consider Hamtaro my first anime, even if I didn’t know it was an anime at the time. Though I did see glimpses of other things, like Pokemon. I just didn’t see enough of Pokemon at the time for me to consider it my ‘first anime’ now.

What do you think?