1. ionaofavalon says:

    I agree wholeheartedly. In my stories, the main opponent is fear (choosing fear over God). My evil wizards use “fear magic” to inspire fear in others and try to convince them to give into the darkness.

  2. Audie says:

    I’d like to make a case or two from the side of what you call reality fiction.

    One is from a manga series called “A Silent Voice”. The evils in it are fairly common ones among school children–bullying, teasing, mean-spirited pranks, basically making life miserable for a child who is different, in the case of this story a girl who is deaf. But it’s also about grace, reconciliation, acceptance of people with all their flaws. There is no real “bad guy”, even the main bully grows up to want to make up for his actions when he was younger.

    The other manga series deals with some more intense things. The evils in “Bitter Virgin” are a step-father molesting his step-daughter who is in her early teens, getting her pregnant twice, and how those things have affected her.

    Neither of these stories would be considered “Christian”, though there are some interesting nods to God in Bitter Virgin. But that does raise some thoughts to me about what Christianity could mean for the characters in these stories. What could a Christian view add to a story about a former bully who wants to apologize other other person he used to torment? What could it say to a person who use to be picked on? What about to the girl whose been abused like the girl in the Bitter Virgin story? Or, for that matter, to the person who treated her that way?

    And, finally, how often does any kind of fiction, Christian or secular, spec or reality, deal with such heavy stuff? Granted, there is a lot of fiction out there now, so I can’t say with any authority that it’s a lot or a little, but just that it seems to be very little.

    • Audie, great questions. I don’t know the answers because I don’t read middle grade or even YA books on a regular basis. I do read some speculative, but very little reality fiction, so I don’t know how many are dealing with these issues. I know some must be. I’ve read a very good YA about anorexia and another one about death and loss (first love dying of cancer).

      But that’s the thing about speculative–the story about the kids taken to the Fork Factory to work for the authorities can be about whatever evil you want to extrapolate to. Yes, it could be about trafficking, but there aren’t distinct parallels, and it could be about bullying or about corrupt government or fear or, so many things.

      The greater question is, what could Christianity mean in these stories? The one I mentioned about anorexia did approach the subject from a Christian worldview, but gave no easy answers, no quick cure. I liked it a lot. As I recall, the character who recognized her anorexia was a Christian, and I think had Christian parents and maybe went to them for help. It’s been a few years since I read it. But the point is, the Christianity was displayed through the actions of the Christian characters.

      I think it’s hard to address sensitive and complex issues in reality fiction in a way that won’t come across as simplistic or didactic. I tried to write a short story once that would show forgiveness to a former child molester, but I quickly gave up. It was so hard to make the guy who forgave seem rational and realistic.

      I don’t know if I’m just taking the easy way out by writing fantasy or if this simply is the best way to bring home Biblical truth.

      In your first example, I couldn’t help thinking that “everyone is OK in the end” is sort of like giving all the Little Leagers trophies. It’s not true or realistic that bullies will stop hurting (some might, but lots more won’t) or that the classmates of the deaf girl will all learn to accept people who have differences. Those are good things to teach, but apart from Jesus Christ, I don’t see big changes in life happening—ones that need to take place if those things were to be true.

      Anyway, thought provoking comment, Audie.


      • Audie says:

        There may be a biblical example showing both the good and the problem with the kind of indirect way of approaching evil.

        It’s the account where the prophet Nathan comes to David and tells him about a poor man who had a lamb who was kept almost like a part of the family, until a rich neighbor took the lamb to use at a feast. When David showed anger at the rich man’s actions, Nathan produced the punch–David himself was the rich man, and the story wasn’t about a lamb, but rather how David had treated Uriah and Bathsheba.

        The problem with the indirect way would be simply that it’s too easy to not see oneself and one’s own problems in such a practice, just as David didn’t see himself in Nathan’s story, and likely would not have if Nathan had not told him.

        • That’s a great example, Audie. I think we as authors have to live with the problem. It’s God who needs to convict and reveal and direct other people. We as authors can only cast light, I think. I think we have to be OK with the idea that readers may misunderstand. After all, the Old Testament prophets were misunderstood and yet they continued to speak. We don’t have the advantage of God’s inspiration, but we can still portray truth, trusting that God will bring the readers and do in their hearts and minds what he wants to do.


          • Audie says:

            There were things the prophets said that were unclear and misunderstood, yes, but also many things they said that were very well understood, which was one reason rulers and other people were often angry with them. God messages through the prophets weren’t always cryptic, but often blunt and plain.

What do you think?