I never set out to write Christian fantasy. In fact, I wasn’t sure what place that kind of book had in this world. Sure, there was Lewis’ Narnia series and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. But with all the controversy over Harry Potter years ago, I didn’t know what to think. I read Star Wars, Terry Brooks, and such, but Christian fantasy? I don’t think so.
It was actually the Harry Potter controversy that made me start thinking about Christian fantasy. Could fantasy and Christianity mix? Could a good book be written where the faith element or the fantasy element was not compromised? Like I said, I never set out to do that, but in the end that is what I wrote.
Daughter of Light began as a story in my head. It was a place to play with some cool fantasy ideas. A fantasy book with a hint of faith. But as the years went by and I found myself traveling down dark roads and facing one crisis of faith after another in real life, Daughter of Light began to morph into an exploration of what it ultimately meant to follow God.
Through speculative fiction, I am able to explore what would a Christian look like if the externals generally associated with Christianity were taken away like church attendance, bible studies, or Sunday school. Now I’m not saying those are bad things (not at all), but sometimes our Christianity is defined by where we go or what we do, not by who we are.
I am also able to paint word pictures with fantasy that I could not do if I wrote about this world. For example: sin. In our world, sin is a hidden part of our nature. We see the results of sin, but not sin itself. But in a fantasy world, I can show what we look like with sin: naked, broken, with blood on our hands. Unable to heals ourselves. Helpless and bound to darkness.
Of course, there is a fun aspect to writing fantasy. I get to write outside the box, ask “what if” questions. What if we could see people the way God sees people, would we still love them? What if we could heal, but it meant taking on the hurt and pain, would we? What if you found out you’re really from another dimension (that’s a fun question 🙂). What if you discovered you’re not human?
I love writing Christian speculative fiction. It combines my weirdness, my creativity, and my faith. Here is a quote by C.S. Lewis that best sums up why I write Christian fantasy:
“I thought I saw how stories of this kind could steal past a certain inhibition which had paralyzed much of my own religion in childhood. Why did one find it so hard to feel as one was told one ought to feel about God or about the sufferings of Christ? I thought the chief reason was that one was told one ought to. An obligation to feel can freeze feelings. And reverence itself did harm. The whole subject was associated with lowered voices; almost as if it were something medical. But supposing that by casting all these things into an imaginary world, stripping them of their stained-glass and Sunday school associations, one could make them for the first time appear in their real potency? Could one not thus steal past those watchful dragons? I thought one could.”
9 thoughts on “Why I Write Christian Speculative Fiction”
This is wonderful, I love the idea of Christian fantasy!!
Excellent post. It’s interesting to see how God brought you to the point of writing fantasy. I think it is such a potent genre.
Love that Lewis quote. What work is it from?
Hi Becky! I found the quote a couple years ago, but I’m afraid I don’t remember where lol.
I love the thoughts that you have shared here. I sense a kindred spirit as you have expressed much about how I feel about Christianity and using fantasy writing to explore our faith.
Reblogged this on Hero Fantasy Fiction.
I am attempting to create a sci-fi story about aliens who have split into three different governments, each with other races as allies. I am focusing on the smallest, weakest, and most persecuted government, and how its people retain their faith in the future and in the Master (God) despite being screwed over. How can I portray Him in a proper manner that doesn’t make Christianity look stupid? Or, rather, even if this was fantasy, how should I portray Him? Thanks.
That is a great question and shows you are thinking through your world building. Here is what I keep in mind when I am portraying God in my fiction: I want to convey a feeling of wonder, power, mystery, and awe. As finite humans, we will never be able to capture all of who God is in our stories. Instead, I try to capture my personal relationship with God in my stories. Also, read fiction by other Christians and see how they did it. Hope that helps!