I have a lot going through my head today, and to be honest, much is unrelated to speculative fiction. Some is, but not the bulk. So I decided today I’d prattle. Here’s a snapshot of what’s on my mind.
Saturday I celebrated the life of a friend . . . at her memorial service. She’d lived with stage 4 breast cancer for nine and a half years. The service was awesome, though tearful. It gave a glimpse of how influential this stay-at-home mom who was battling a terminal illness actually was.
Later that day I celebrated my birthday with another friend. The fact that these two disparate celebrations happened on the same day seems ironic. Life and LIFE.
My friend died rather suddenly, which is weird to say about someone who has had a disease for so long. But she had just received treatment for new tumors that had been discovered, took a vacation to Hawaii with her family in August, then passed away the first week in October. I’ve had other friends pass away, and family members, and students or former students. I always have this feeling that death is this serious interruption that was never supposed to happen. It’s an enemy, and quite honestly feels wrong.
Years ago, after my dad passed away, I realized that losing someone you’re close to changes you to a degree—changes your perspective. Time seems more precious. And so do relationships.
I also realized that too many characters in fiction weren’t touched deeply by the death of those they were close to. Made me think showing the impact that death has is one thing Christian writers should strive for if we are to write fiction that is true and powerful.
Yes, I know. Christians have hope and therefore we don’t grieve the same way those who don’t believe in life after life do. But we still grieve. There’s still a parting—an end to the relationship we have known. And it hurts. I think fiction would do well to include some aspect of this reality.
Speaking of true and powerful fiction, Enclave Publishing just released their fall lineup of books. Take a look at this variety of science fiction and fantasy.
Beast by Chawna Shroeder
A Time to Rise by Nadine Brandes
Accelerant by Ronie Kendig
Scarlet Moon by S. D. Grimm
The Word Endangered by Steve Rzasa
Chains of Gwyndorr by Joan Campbell
The Iron Gauntlet by Paul Reginer
Jill Williamson has also released her latest young adult novel in the Mission League series: Broken Trust.
Lots of good reading, which is helpful during a time of political turmoil, I think. A Facebook friend posted this C. S. Lewis quote from his fiction work The Screwtape Letters:
Lewis spoke truth about the world through his fiction. That’s a challenge for all Christian writers. But this quote also reminds me that we might use our time to read good books instead of endlessly debate the state of our political affairs. I’m talking to myself here. But I’m letting you all listen in.
The fan base for the Super Bowl 50 champion Denver Broncos, my favorite NFL team, was in turmoil this past summer over who would be our starting quarterback. At some point someone would inevitably say something about trusting our general manager, John Elway, and there came to be a little repeated saying, “In Elway we trust.”
I’ve found myself thinking about that line, but substituting other components for “Elway.” Like “In the Supreme Court we trust.” Or “In government we trust.” Of course that’s not the real quote. The real one is engraved on the US currency: “In God we trust.” The line comes from a Psalm—56, one of David’s before he became king. He’d been running from Saul and decided to hide out with the Philistines. They grabbed him and hauled him before their king to see what he wanted to do with this Israelite rebel. In part David wrote,
When I am afraid,
I will put my trust in You.
In God, whose word I praise,
In God I have put my trust;
I shall not be afraid.
What can mere man do to me? (vv 3-4)
Good counsel, in the face of death, a political upheaval, job loss, illness, aging, rejections, disability, changing schools, or whatever else might cause us to take our eyes off the Living One Who Sees.
Note: while the attribution to the quote above states the lines come from The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis, further study shows that they were not from that work. The quote is a bit of “fan fiction,” I guess you could say. My application of it remains the same, however.
Good thoughts, Becky! And Happy Birthday, again!
Thanks, Pam. So glad you stop over here as well as Facebook!
“You’re a true speculative fiction fan when . . . ” One answer could be, when you go to every speculative fiction site you can find on the Internet. 😉
That quote is FANTASTIC. Time to re-read The Screwtape Letters, methinks…
It really is, R. J. But Stephen says it’s apocryphal. The friend who posted it clearly ascribed it to Lewis and to The Screwtape Letters, so I don’t know which is right. I re-read the book maybe two years ago, and the quote certainly sounds like something the mentor demon would say. But to verify, I’ll need to re-read.
OK, I downloaded a free copy of Screwtape available on line and did a word search. Provided it’s an unabridged version, and I have no reason to believe it is, then the quote in my article is not authentic. Here is one that reflects Lewis’s true thoughts:
Alack! Once I would have enjoyed this quote mainly as a condemnation of “progressivist” Christians who end up swapping the faith’s means for ends, and wanting Jesus mainly because they want equality and racial justice first. But now I cannot do that, because it’s increasingly clear non-“progressivist” Christians favor their faith mainly as a means to making America into something. Truly tragic.
Screwtape, in his own way, is ridiculously wise and prescient.
Unfortunately, that supposed quote from “The Screwtape Letters” is indeed bogus. Check out this article in which a Breakpoint blogger tracked it down: http://www.breakpoint.org/tp-home/blog-archives/blog-archives/entry/4/29996
All I can say is, I was fooled too. It ~sounded~ so seemingly authentic.
Roger, not the one in my comment above. That’s the genuine item. I copied it myself. The apocryphal one in the article, as I noted in the earlier comments, is indeed an addition from someone other than Lewis.
Thanks for linking to the Breakpoint article, BTW. It is well worth the time.
And thanks for giving the true Lewis quote. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that your second quote was the fallacious one.