1. Often enough, the use of the Bible might seem preachy in speculative fiction because it is written in a way that’s out of place, which causes the reader to feel like it’s only in there to shove a message in their face. So, at the very least, calling the Bible something different helps when it is referenced in a fantasy/sci fi.

    Thing is, fantasy worlds tend to have a different history than our world. An exact replica of the Bible tends not to fit well in most fantasy worlds simply because in that story’s universe, ancient Israel and all the cultural context within it didn’t exist. So, even if we want to add histories to our fantasy world that meet the basic events that caused Christianity, like the sacrifice of the Creator’s son, using an exact replica of the Bible still wouldn’t make sense since a lot of historical and cultural things discussed heavily in the Bible still wouldn’t be there.

    A lot of times what I do in stories is reference that there is a section of ancient texts that are relied upon for spiritual matters, though it isn’t usually one consistent book that everyone following the Creator uses.

    Or, in other story worlds of mine, there are little to no religious texts available. At that point, people are relying on a personal relationship with their Creator, dwelling on philosophical matters surrounding him, and taking into account old journals, etc. written by people that claimed to be close to him(Assuming it’s a story world where they have access to such things).

    Another option is to have religious teachings, histories, etc. be completely oral. It wouldn’t be good for the characters to be preachy in the sense of constantly quoting stuff word for word, but if the traditions are oral then those that know that oral tradition will have religious concepts internalized very well in a lot of cases and will keep them in mind while making decisions. And, of course, there’s challenges like whether or not those passing on the oral traditions might be changing them to serve their own purposes.

  2. M. B. Aznoe says:

    I completely agree. That is part of the reason why we are writing the series we are writing. Our main protagonist is a committed Christian who reads his Bible daily(called “The Book of the Way” in our series as a reference to Acts where the believers followed “the Way”). We even wrote out a few passages from the Psalms as they were read when they served to enhance the plot. They pray several times, and even attend a couple church services. The amazing thing is that we have had several non-believers read this book, and they have really enjoyed it in spite of the Christianity within it. They see the faith of the characters as simply an extension of who those characters really are rather than something forced to make the book “Christian”.

    I think Christians need to stop being afraid of putting our religion out there for the world to see. I recently reread the Belgariad, a classic and absolutely NOT Christian fantasy series by David Eddings, and I noted that his book was full of religion. In fact, the religions of his book were central to his plot, as misguided and foolish as they were. But his books were loved by his readers because of the stories and characters. If we focus on writing good stories that express the truth of God’s word, unblushing and unapologetically, we will not only strengthen the faith of our Christian readers, but we might just be able to reach people who do not know Jesus through our writings.

  3. as a novice author in my retirement years I deeply appreciate the wisdom shared. I’m currently rewriting my book for a different publisher. It might well be a stew of the aforementioned formats. thank you for writing!

  4. R J Rodda says:

    Tricia Mingerink in her fantasy series Blades of Acktar did use the word Bible – I found it refreshing and an excellent series

What do you think?