Hello, everyone! Please welcome today’s guest blogger, Easton Livingston! Today he shares on the topic of…
Christians Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy – Breaking the Silence
Though I’m coming in way late on this, I was thoroughly honored and excited about writing this post for Dyane, particularly because what I was going to write about is something that I’ve had pretty in depth discussions about with other Christians. Because of this, I can’t write all that I want in just one post so I’m hoping that she allows me to write a series of posts concerning the subject. That subject is Christians writing science fiction and fantasy.
If you go into most Christian bookstores like Lifeway, you will find that the fiction section is sparse when it comes to science fiction and fantasy. Part of the reason for that is that the fiction is all lumped into one category with no distinction in genre. Ted Dekker does not write the same fiction as Karen Kingsbury. Far from it. But the fiction section is not large enough for distinctive genres.
Another reason is that there’s not a proliferation of authors who are Christians writing the stuff. As a matter of fact, I can probably name on one hand the authors that write anything even remotely related to the genres. We’re still on C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, and though there is most certainly nothing wrong with these classics, it’s not a good testimony when they are still the prominent ones releasing material though they have gone on to be with the Lord over forty years ago.
That leads to the third and what I feel is the most prominent of the reasons behind the lack of science fiction and fantasy in the Christian book market. Four words. We’re afraid of it.
We don’t know how to handle or approach it. Recently, I was listening to a panel of Bible teachers, pastors, and theologians discuss this very issue in the general context of art and they as much admitted it.
All of this seems strange to me because the package does not define the content and yet we tend to believe that myth. There’s really no reason for it. The Christian should define the content which should be a solid, biblical, sound doctrinal worldview. This can be reflected in any genre, especially science fiction and fantasy. The problem there is that many, dare I say a large portion of Christians, especially today, do not have that. That’s a post for another time and place.
When I look at the Scriptures, the Bible, the holy word of the Living God, I see elements of what the world would label as fantasy and science fiction. Noah and the flood in Genesis 6 (do NOT go see that horrendous movie), Moses and the ten plagues in Exodus 7 through 12, Joshua and the sun standing still in Joshua 10, the standoff with Elijah and the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel in 1 Kings 18, the Lord Jesus in all of the Gospels, and so much more. The thing about these stories is that they are not fiction. They’re fact. They’re history. They’re truth.
Given that the Book of Life is filled with these kinds of stories, Christians should have no problem with science fiction and fantasy stories in relaying truth which should be the goal. It was J.R.R. Tolkien that said, “I believe that legends and myths are largely made of truth.” The amount of authors who are Christians writing in science fiction and fantasy should be more than it is but because of fear, we’re missing the boat and great opportunities to disseminate the truth to a whole subculture of readers.
Praise God that we live in a day an age where we can release this material without some of the shackles that come with the Christian book market. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that there is a Christian book market. But nothing is perfect and like most things, Christians are slow on the uptake when it comes to things in the field of art instead of leading the charge. So we can publish this material and get it out to those readers who need it.
The question is, how should Christians approach writing science fiction and fantasy? I’ll tackle that in my next post (kind of tying Dyane’s hands here but I figure this will persuade her to let me finish the series).
God bless you and keep you.
About Easton Livingston
Easton Livingston is a published, professional writer, having written articles for national magazine publications, newspapers, online websites, and graphic novels under various pseudonyms. His current foray as a novelist and fiction author has him specializing in supernatural, sci-fi, fantasy, action-adventure, and suspense, weaving different elements of those genres together.