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Monday, May 12, 2008

Fantastic literature as a preferred medium for presenting Christian truth?

In a previous post, I considered aspects of Christianity in fantastic literature. I said that I did not think that fantastic literature was any more suitable than any other kind of literature for presenting fiction with a Christian world-view. However, in this post, I muse on the possibility that some Christian truths may be better presented in fantastic literature than in any other kind of fiction, and ask you, the reader, to respond, with other examples.

I believe that fantastic literature is an excellent place to portray an unfallen planet, inhabited by one or more unfallen rational, sentient species. C. S. Lewis did this superbly, in my opinion, in his Out of the Silent Planet (Malacandra had three such species). James Blish also considered this, from a different standpoint, in his A Case of Conscience.

Lilith, by George MacDonald, considers submission in ways that I am not sure would be possible in more realistic fiction.

Susan Palwick considers the matter of seeing Christ in other people in her The Necessary Beggar. The fantastic nature of the story makes this possible in a unique way -- the ghost of an alien speaks to a fundamentalist preacher and his faith is renewed.

I have discussed the question of vengeance in the works of Jack Vance, not because Vance writes from a Christian world-view -- he doesn't -- but because Vance uses fantasy to portray vengeance in many different ways.

Are there Christian truths that would lend themselves especially to portrayal in fantastic fiction? Are there authors who have used fantastic fiction especially well to consider some Christian truth? Let me know what you think, please.

Thanks for reading.


Weekend Fisher said...

As much as I hate to say something so predictable: Tolkien. Not just the elves as the unfallen race. But how Gondor cannot defeat Mordor but the Shire can. About how Frodo and Gollum are inseparably bound by their need for redemption -- that forgiving a sinner and trusting a traitor may be the wrong thing to do for all the right reasons, but still the right thing to do after all. About how corruption works. About how Gandalf is a fool but is wiser than Saruman (Tolkien plays this one very explicitly, that the foolishness of Gandalf is wiser than the wisdom of Saruman).

Take care & God bless

Martin LaBar said...

May 19, 2008: You are right, Weekend Fisher. I forgot the obvious.