Once again this week a group of us are discussing a topic near to our hearts–that of science fiction and fantasy from a Christian worldview.
Ten to fifteen years ago I was struggling as a reader. My genre of choice was sff. When I read, I love to be transported to places that don’t exist, to scenarios that can’t happen. I’m not into girl-next-door stories. There were well-meaning folks (you’ve all heard of them) who told me that my reading choices were intrinsically evil. Nice Christian women shouldn’t read that stuff.
It was true that there were elements in many of the stories that weren’t uplifting, but I believed (and still do) that is a problem common to most genres. I prayed about my choices and began to analyze my reading and to set down books that repeatedly were offensive. I set standards for myself in the areas of sex (while I can handle a sex scene or two, I will lay down a book that seems to be about nothing else BUT torrid encounters), vulgarity, violence, and blatant anti-Christianity. I began to use the words of Paul in the Bible (Philippians 4:8&9, New International Version) as guidelines:
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
To that point I hadn’t seen anything that argued that a Christian worldview was actually compatible with sff other than the writings of Tolkein and Lewis. Were they one-offs? (Or two-offs….) The back of my mind began to play with the concept when I took up the writing craft four years ago. Meanwhile I wrote a couple of more traditional fantasy novels.
One day I was wandering around the internet and googled Christian fantasy. And there were links!!! Astounding, I know. Somehow I’d thought I was the only one out there that had been mulling this over. Silly me.
One of the first places I found was Christian Fandom. I spent DAYS poking around in this site, following the many links. What this site lacks in beauty it makes up for in links, lol. I discovered that this group of Christian fans had initially banded together in 1982 to support readers and writers and movie-goers and artists in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and westerns. Their mission statement?
Christian Fandom is an interdenominational fellowship of fans interested in the courteous and accurate representation of Christian viewpoints in genre fiction fan communities.
Later on in the week I’ll discuss some of the particular things that I found on the Christian Fandom site…and the difference they have made in my reading and writing. In the meanwhile, if you’re interested in more on the subject, see what these other bloggers have to say about Christian Fandom. Some of them are involved with the site and each has a story or two of some kind to relate. Some of these sites are permanently linked on my sidebar as well.
Rebecca LuElla Miller
A new group blog promoting Christian sff is located here:
Carol Collett says
You too, huh…I’ve been told I should question my salvation because I read Stephen King! Such a blessing to find like minded folks.
I’ve probably told you about this already, but in case I haven’t, check out my survey of faith in SF/F: http://clawoftheconciliator.blogspot.com/2006/03/science-fiction-fantasy-and-faith-part_28.html
As you say, Tolkien and Lewis are the ones ‘everybody knows’. Christian Fandom’s helped me dig deeper as well.
Great post, Valerie. I like the personal touch you bring (as does Elliot in his response).
Too amazing how many people say, “There’s Christian fantasy? Really?”
Thanks for plugging spec-faith!
Valerie Comer says
Hey, thanks all for stopping by. I’ll swing by your survey later this morning, Elliot.