One of the questions I have recently encountered is why I, as a Christian, write fantasy novels. Though many have accepted fantasy as an acceptable Christian genre due to the works of MacDonald, Tolkein, and Lewis, there are others who still hesitate since it involves creating a world quite different from ours, where “magical” things take place. In a series of posts for the foreseeable Mondays, I want to examine this question, using the defenses of people like Tolkein, Lewis, and others to create an argument of why Christians can write fantasy works.
I didn’t set out initially to become a fantasy author. I grew up with historical fiction, not fantasy. I never read any fantasy, Christian or otherwise, until I was almost an adult. However, while studying at Oral Roberts University, I was inspired to write “Valeur Never Dies,” the short story version of the first novel in the Emphalia series. I began to read Christian fantasy books, which I enjoyed, but I never contemplated writing such a thing. Since the Emphalia series is filled with people who have special, genetic powers, I conceded that I would write science-fiction, but I didn’t accept the “fantasy” label yet.
It wasn’t until I started delving deeper into the world of Emphalia that I encountered the angel heirs, who possess some rather mystical powers due to their angel ancestry, and I realized that I truly had a science-fiction fantasy series on my hands. At about that point, I also began to be very interested in the fantasy and fairy tale genre. I started reading fairy tales, including those of George MacDonald, and I began examining why I enjoy fairy tales and fantasy novels. Although I would argue that fairy tales and fantasy novels are slightly different genres, they both require a leap of faith into a world where magical things take place, where normal “laws” of science are suspended, where monsters may and often do exist, and where good and evil are manifest much more palpably than frequently occurs on Earth.
Personally, I feel that fantasy allows us to peek into the spiritual world, to see the good and evil that we so often gloss over or ignore. It rather vividly reminds us that we do not live only in a material world and helps counter any “materially-focused” priorities that we may have in our lives, reminding us that there is more to life than ___. It exercises our imagination, which is a key part of walking by faith, of believing in what we do not see – including God himself. The world of fantasy often places power in the hands of unlikely heroes, encouraging us to see strengths beyond fame, money, or even physical attributes, and it opens the door for miraculous things to occur by asking that rather dangerous question: “What if…”.
I would love to hear from the rest of you. What do you write/read/create, and why do you do it?
Copyright 2014 Andrea Lundgren