Sunday, June 14, 2009

Discussion on Christian Speculative Fiction

Over at My Friend Army (a book blog), Amy asks:

How do you feel about speculative fiction in general and specifically how do you feel about Christian speculative fiction? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages that you see to Christian speculative fiction?

I'm an evangelical Christian. My favorite genre has always been fantasy novels whether they are Christian allegory or not. I've never seen any problem with Christians reading speculative fiction. After all, Jesus taught using parables, and Christian authors basically kicked off the fantasy genre. In my mind, science fiction and fantasy novels are essentially very long parables about people exploring moral issues. Using a made-up setting allows the reader to see these issues in a new light.

I don't feel this is so true any more since fantasy is moving away from the traditional good vs evil and hero vs villain format to using selfish main characters that want 1) to survive and 2) whatever makes him or her feel good. The themes of hope and redemption seem to have been tossed aside. I want my traditional fantasy back. :(

As to Christian speculative fiction, I think it's easy for authors to be too heavy-handed in their Christian symbolism or to play up to secular fiction trends and lose sight of the message they're sending in their novel. (Every novel has a message whether it's obvious or not.) At this point, I'm happy with speculative fiction that has Christian values (even if there is no obvious Christian element in it) and well-written Christian fantasy novels.

What do you think?

1 comment:

Cara Powers said...

I absolutely agree with you. Couldn't agree more. I believe that speculative fiction is the perfect way for Christians to influence pop culture because they have the opportunity to be subtle. Heavy handed symbolism is a turn-off for me.