1. Yay, Faust! I have a series with a deal with the devil plot concept. It’s fantasy, though, and contains elements that aren’t often in previous Faust legends to my knowledge. As far as the ‘satan just needs people to BELIEVE he owns their souls’ part, that ends up being a plot point.

    Something weird that I see involving stories of demons and especially Faust type stories is the idea of the demons actually eating people’s souls. Sometimes that’s because they’re disconnected from the Christian idea of souls and demons. Like, the ‘demons’ might actually be more like yokai and therefore not really within the Christian notion of demons at all.

    One really interesting Faust ish story I’ve been reading recently is called Simon Sues. It’s a comic on Line Webtoon, and is basically a lawyer that helps people negotiate their contracts with demons and other spiritual beings so they don’t get eaten for breaking them.

    • Travis Perry says:

      Simon Sues sounds like an interesting story. And I like the fact the lawyer is trying to keep people from being eaten. Yes, something eating your body is a real possibility, as plenty of animals do, and we could easily imagine demons wanting to do! So that aspect adds to what could be at stake in this kind of story.

      As for something eating your soul, that’s an interesting concept and might be fun to experiment with for a story, but I think in reality if a soul could be eaten then a person would cease to exist. Because we know that humans can have at the very least a new body in the resurrection according to the Bible and we know that body will not be like our own at this time (I Cor. 15:53). So our bodies can be literally eaten by sharks or bears or something and we will get a new body back. But I doubt our souls can be eaten in the same way–because there is no mention of any resurrection of souls in the Bible. (So if a soul got eaten, it would be seem to be gone, period.)

      Though it might be interesting to imagine that souls can be resurrected, so that a demon could eat one, but then God could bring it back…

      • It’s free to read, though I will warn you that it is kind of dark/violent and since it’s only like…27 episodes in I think, I can’t make many promises about what the content will be further down the road. Right now the series is showing how Simon becomes a paranormal lawyer in the first place(at this point he’s still a student). Simon does try to be ethical in spite of being imperfect, though:


        But it might be good for seeing a little more of how modern secular authors handle this kind of story.

        And yeah, kinda agree on the souls getting eaten part. That’s why it was kind of weird for me when I started seeing stories of demons eating souls. And in a way it reduced the stakes. The whole reason why the soul part matters is because of its eternal aspects, and the idea that someone could get stuck in hell forever. If the soul isn’t eternal, it doesn’t always make the story have any higher stakes than it would have if it was just a mortal body living or dying.

        There’s some fun possibilities with souls getting ‘eaten’, though. If they get eaten, maybe they just get swallowed up and trapped by the entity in question, giving off spiritual energy that the entity uses to grow stronger, and never getting torn apart, ‘killed’, or destroyed.

        Of course, another aspect that demon and yokai stories often play on is them feeding off of negative emotional energy. So they could basically act like a parasite feeding off anger, or push someone to the brink that way they can devour all those nasty emotions at once.

  2. Chris Solaas says:

    Nice article! I’ve always liked Faust and the deal with the devil concept, though I’ve never used that trope. However, my current fantasy series has several times when God breaks in, either through internal voice, or in the last book, through a burning-bush type moment.

    I’ve thought and prayed long and hard about what you unpacked toward the end of your article. If God is in my story as an actor, am I introducing heresy into my work?

    I think the answer is no, though, in my case. It will be left to the reader to make that kind of determination, but God being the creator of an alternate dimension with magic, dragons, and fairies, has obviously been done before, and God does appear in alternate realities too, notably in Narnia, where God is central in the figure of Aslan. And in the Dragons of Starlight series by Bryan Davis.

    I think I’m in good company. In mine, God instructs the young king to follow the instructions found in Deu 17:18 so that those in this alternate dimension will have the text of the Bible in their own world, so that they too can know the truth and it can set them free.

    But the idea of God being in your book as an actor, though not a new concept, is an area to move with trepidation. Thanks for the warning.

    • Travis Perry says:

      Chris, thanks for the positive comments. And yes, I only meant to issue a warning–a literal reminder to check what you do. But clearly I do think it’s fine to include God in fiction if done right. I’ve done so myself. And will do so again, no doubt. 🙂

  3. notleia says:

    Chill, dude, I’m not *promoting* that as an interpretation, but it IS an interpretation. If you cant tell, I’m more interested in playing with ideas than I am in defending orthodoxy. Call it a side effect of my education in postmodern liberal arts.

    But compare Job to the Greek story of Phryne. She was accused of blasphemy, IIRC, but her lawyer’s defense was to have her disrobe, because according to their system, hot people had the favor of the gods and look at how hot she is. (Insert joke about prosperity gospel.)
    Job is more interesting, I think, because while his neighbors also tended to that sort of theory, it was a Point that Job had done nothing wrong.
    Why do people suffer? The Greeks at least have the convenience of fickle jerk gods.

  4. notleia says:

    Also, reminds me of an anime I’m watching (because of course).
    The Legend of Galactic Heroes basically pits the best of dictatorship against the worst of democracy. And it makes you wonder how loyal you’d be to an ideal when reality comes knocking on your door. What would be your price to make a deal with the devil? I’ve heard that people don’t fight for patriotism, they fight to help their buddies in the next foxhole. But this show does a good job of balancing cynicism with hopefulness and I do recommend.

    But they killed off my waifu and I’m still upset about it 20 episodes later.

What do you think?