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message 1: by Werner (last edited Aug 26, 2009 07:01AM) (new)

Werner | 1741 comments Fantasy, of course, is a speculative fiction genre where Christian authors have made major --even definitive-- contributions. It's also one that's popular with Christian readers (so it ought to spark some discussion here --I know Jon's quite an avid fantasy fan :-)). It was, I think, C. S. Lewis who said that since in fantasy the writer actually creates a new world, it's a particularly appropriate exercise for beings made in God's image --an act of "sub-creation" that in a way imitates the Creation itself.

Like supernatural fiction, fantasy draws on the sagas, legends and folklore of the past --particularly, in the Western fictional tradition, that of European "Christendom" (though modern fantasy writers often draw on other culture's traditions as well), which was shaped for 1,000 years by the influence of medieval Christianity. The medieval legends of King Arthur --which depicted Dark Ages Britain as, in effect, a fantasy world-- were particularly strong early influences on the genre, and these stressed Christian elements like the quest for the Holy Grail. Those elements are strongly apparent in Sir Thomas Malory's Morte d'Arthur, which is probably the first novel in English --and also the first fantasy-- and in Spenser's The Faerie Queen (poetry rather than prose fiction, but still relevant here), which is clearly intended as Christian allegory. All of these writings were grist for the mill of the later authors who would follow.

The mood of the Neoclassical period wasn't favorable to fantasy, but it blossomed more in the Romantic period; and one of the 19th-century authors who helped to shape the genre was George MacDonald (Phantastes, etc.) who was a devout Christian and reflected his faith in his work. And the two germinal works of modern fantasy, which popularized the genre and made it a publishing industry staple, were written by Christians: Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series and the Narnia series by Lewis (who was influenced by MacDonald). The Christian elements in the latter are obvious; they're more subtle in the former, but they're present.

A voluminous number of Christian writers today are contributors to the fantasy tradition. My personal favorite is Stephen Lawhead, for works such as In the Hall of the Dragon King and the Song of Albion trilogy (though the latter corpus is very violent in places, and so not for every reader --Lawhead takes moral evil very seriously, both in depicting the mayhem it can willingly inflict, and the violence that may be required to defeat it). If you'd like to discuss any of these writers (or Christian fantasy as a whole), or put in a plug for your own favorite Christian fantasists, this is the thread you've been waiting for! :-)


message 2: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) | 111 comments I'm always on the lookout for the next great fantasy read - especially if it's got a Christian worldview or by a Christian author. You've given me some ideas for authors to try (namely Lawhead).

I recently acquired an audiobook of Sir Thomas Malory's Morte d'Arthur which I will get to eventually.

I have plans to read several of George MacDonald, which are available "free" for download from various ebook publishers like Project Gutenberg and Feedbooks.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 33 comments Same here. I'm pretty behind on the fantasy books, as I took a long break from fantasy. I would love to read all of the Inklings' work. I am a big CS Lewis fan, and also Madeleine L'Engle. I'd like to read George MacDonald as well.


message 4: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Hebert (jjhebert) | 8 comments Haven't read George MacDonald, but I'm a huge fan of Lewis and Tolkien. I'll have to check out MacDonald next.

Regards,

J. J. Hebert
Amazon.com bestselling author of Unconventional
http://www.jjhebert.net


message 5: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) | 111 comments I snagged two Lawhead books today (one in hardcover and one in trade paperback) at my local used book store. Also found a near pristine first edition hardcover (including dust jacket) of my favorite book - The Mirror of Her Dreams (for my permanent collection).


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 33 comments That's awesome, Jon. I love when you find a book you've been wishing for at the ubs.


message 7: by Robin (new)

Robin (rswindle) | 1 comments I love MacDonald, Tolkien, and Lewis. I have devoured almost all of their fantasy work, as well as quite a bit of Stephen Lawhead's. Do you have any recommendations for other authors in that vein? Is there somebody great out there that I have just missed?


message 8: by Werner (last edited Nov 03, 2009 06:51AM) (new)

Werner | 1741 comments There are a lot of Christian authors writing in the fantasy genre today, but I just haven't happened to read most of them; so that hampers me in recommending anything from the contemporary scene. Two names I can suggest in good conscience, though, are Patricia C. Wrede and Karina L. Fabian, both practicing Roman Catholics --although they both write mainly humorous fantasy, not "high" or epic fantasy in the Tolkien mold.

Wrede is one of my favorite fantasists; her work (at least, what I've read) has no explicitly Christian or religious elements, but she writes good, clean, moral fantasy with wholesome messages and no sex or bad language. Her Enchanted Forest series is a landmark of humorous fantasy. Some of the stories in her collection The Book of Enchantments show her serious side; and her novel Caught in Crystal, set in her fantasy world of Lyra, is also a serious work.

Fabian's fantasy is set in a near-future in which our world interacts with Faerie; her novel Magic, Mensa and Mayhem (Swimming Kangaroo Books, 2009) features Vern, a dragon from Faerie who's been bound by a Christian saint to expiate his sins by doing good deeds, and who's now working in our world as a private investigator. :-) I haven't read it yet; but I can recommend her work on the strength of her story "Dragon Eye, P. I." which showcases Vern, and appears in the excellent Dragon Moon Press anthology A Firstorm of Dragons (2008). It's a delightful spoof of the "hard-boiled" noir school of detective fiction in the Hammett/Spillane tradition.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

And many Christian authors writing in the fantasy genre period pre-1950 when the then Christian Baptist Bookstores formed the Christian Booksellers Association and applied the label Christian to their very targeted and biblically sanitized brand of fiction. Tolkien are indeed fine examples of two great fantasy authors with Lewis later being accepted into affiliated Christian distribution due to his popularity with that group of readers despite not coming through a fee paying affiliated publisher. CBA wasn't around in his time.

And now we have Anne Rice, also not affiliated though writing from a heavily Catholic world view. Her new title Angel Time just came out. If I could pull away from my writing long enough to read, I'd give this fantasy a go but only because it's Anne Rice. :)


message 10: by Werner (last edited Nov 03, 2009 03:34PM) (new)

Werner | 1741 comments Sky Song Press' recent anthologies of contemporary Christian speculative fiction, Sky Songs: Stories of Spirituality and Speculative Science (2002) and Sky Songs II: Spiritual SF (2005) focus mainly on science fiction; but they do include a few fantasy stories by Christian authors. The best ones, IMO, are "The Summoning of Darkness" and "The Unicorn Cup," by British Anglican author Cherith Baldry, and "The Red Bird" by Canadian writer Douglas Smith. (Smith won the Aurora Award, Canada's equivalent of the Nebula Award, in 2004; and this particular story was a finalist for the same award in 2002.) These are excellent stories, and excellent collections.

Some Christian fantasy works that I haven't read, but which have been favorably reviewed and recommended in Library Journal or Booklist in the past several years --and sometimes compared to Tolkien and Lewis-- include: A Sword for the Immerland King by F. W. Faller (DOXA, 2002); the Legends of the Guardian King series by Karen Hancock; The High House and The False House by James Stoddard; and The Crown of Eden by Thomas Williams (Word Books, 1999). Has anyone read any of these? Also, popular author of fantasy --and other genres-- Mel Odom is a professing Christian, though my impression (again, I haven't read his work) is that like Wrede, the impact of his faith on his writing is subtle, rather than overt and explicit. In the fantasy field, I believe he's best known for The Rover (Tor, 2001) and its sequels, featuring "halfling" librarian Edgewick Lamplighter.


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

All those sound intriguing Werner. Karen Hancock is with an affiliated publisher though so make sure you like very targeted evangelical fiction before you check that out. If you do then you might also want to check out Donita K Paul's Dragon series. Affiliated authors seem to have wonderful success with their YA fiction as it's easy to stay tame without being extensively boring when writing for this age group.


message 12: by Cassondra (new)

Cassondra I love Christian fantasy! I've only read about 60 Christian fantasy books, though. There aren't that many options out there.

I love:

C.S. Lewis
Tolkien
Ted Dekker--futuristic allegorical
Frank Peretti--not strict fantasy...kind of Christian sci-fi.
Tim LeHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins (not exactly fantasy. More speculative future rapture stuff).
Karen Hancock
Donita K. Paul
L. B. Graham
Jill Williamson
Joel C. Rosenberg (not exactly fantasy. More like pre-Rapture...kind of the Christian Tom Clancy)
Jeffrey Overstreet
Kathleen Morgan
Stephen Lawhead
Theodore Beale's Summa Elvetica
Wayne Thomas Batson

Chuck Black's Kingdom series is pretty good, though it seems to be for children.




message 13: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany | 6 comments My friend kept insisting to me that i need to check out the Christian fantasy (namely George MacDonald) and I am so glad I finally listened! I am enjoying his books so much (so far I have read The Princess and the Goblin, The Princess and Curdie, and The Light Princess) And they are the type of book that can be read to my young nephew and he would enjoy the adventure while I love the theological implications of the story.

I have also read several Ted Dekker books. The ones that impacted me most were Black and White, and those truly impacted me. They were difficult to read at several points because they struck me close to my heart.

I look forward to checking out Stephen Lawhead once I finish the MacDonald treasury.


message 14: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Thomson (rachelstarrthomson) | 8 comments I'm a long-time reader and writer of fantasy. I'm a regular participant in the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour, which is a place to learn about good contemporary Christian fantasy!

By far the best I've read since joining that group is the work of Jeffrey Overstreet and George Bryan Polivka. Overstreet's Auralia's Colors and Cyndere's Midnight are classic high fantasy with gorgeous writing and subtle treatment of religious themes. Polivka writes pirate fantasy fiction :).

Lawhead's Song of Albion books are fantastic; also check out his treatment of the Arthur and Robin Hood legends. Neither series is strictly fantasy, but both will appeal strongly to fantasy fans.

George MacDonald's Lilith is both strange and incredible. He's a fantastic writer, but emphatically NOT a modern one, so expect very Victorian writing.

You can download my first indie published fantasy novel, Worlds Unseen, or read a 60-page excerpt of the sequel, Burning Light. My Web site is www.rachelstarrthomson.com . I've also blogged a fantasy novel at www.rachelstarrthomson.com/books/taer... . The first two are classic high fantasy; the third is more understated.

Auralia's Colors The Red Strand (The Auralia Thread #1) by Jeffrey Overstreet Cyndere's Midnight The Blue Strand (The Auralia Thread #2) by Jeffrey Overstreet Blaggard's Moon (Prequel to the Trophy Chase Trilogy) by George Bryan Polivka Lilith by George MacDonald Merlin (The Pendragon Cycle, Book 2) by Stephen R. Lawhead Hood (King Raven, Book 1) by Stephen R. Lawhead Worlds Unseen (The Seventh World Trilogy, #1) by Rachel Starr Thomson Burning Light (The Seventh World Trilogy, #2) by Rachel Starr Thomson


message 15: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Thomson (rachelstarrthomson) | 8 comments Oh, and although I've yet to read him, Andrew Peterson is causing a lot of buzz. (His work has been compared to Narnia.)I'm really looking forward to reading and reviewing his North! Or Be Eaten.
North! Or Be Eaten (The Wingfeather Saga, Book Two) by Andrew Peterson On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (The Wingfeather Saga, Book One) by Andrew Peterson


message 16: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) | 111 comments I hope to read Overstreet's Auralia's Colors The Red Strand this Christmas break. I also have some of Lawhead's novels to peruse. Thanks for the reminder. :)


message 17: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1741 comments Thanks for those reading tips, Rachel! Also, thanks for bringing the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour site to our attention. The URL is:

http://csffblogtour.com/

Best wishes with your own writing ministry! Glad to have you as part of our group.


message 18: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Thomson (rachelstarrthomson) | 8 comments Thanks :). I'm glad to have you found you!


message 19: by Lynnette (new)

Lynnette Bonner (lynnettebonner) | 13 comments I have read Thomas Williams. He has 3 books out as far as I remember, The Crown Of Eden, The Devil's Mouth - A Novel -, andThe Bride of Stone A Novel. I enjoyed all three books and was hoping he would do more.

Another publisher that may be of interest to Christian fantasy adicts is Marcher Lord Press. They are a Christian publisher dedicated to publishing only fantasy and sci-fi.

In fact, right now Marcher Lord Press is running a contest where readers get to read the first 60 pages of 3 novels and then vote on the one they like the best. The one that wins, will get published in April, 2010. I think voting closes on the 31st. If you'd like to participate or just see what it's about you can go to http://wherethemapends.proboards.com/... . I think you will have to register to go into the "select" thread and then you will need to click into Phase 4 to see the 3 novels that are left. (They started the voting with 36 books.)

Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and that the new year will hold bountiful blessings for you all. :)


message 20: by Chai (new)

Chai (timid) :D


message 21: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1741 comments One writer not mentioned on this thread so far is William D. Burt, author of the King of the Trees series. Has anyone read any of this? I haven't, but another Goodreader highly recommended it to me. It's written for children, but is said to have crossover appeal to adults as well. For those interested, the link to Burt's author page is:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/... .


message 22: by Aquanetta (new)

Aquanetta (frightening) | 8 comments THE LORD OF THE RINGS!!! *Bounces up and down*


message 23: by Dibily Do (new)

Dibily Do | 6 comments I like Lord of the Rings, even when there not christian, there still good.


message 24: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1741 comments Yes, N.S.A., there are any number of really good works of fantasy by non-Christian authors. The ability to express truth about the human condition by means of well-crafted, involving stories is an aspect of common grace that all humans can share in.

The LOTR series doesn't have the obvious Christian elements that might appear in some of the other works mentioned above. Interestingly, though, the author was a devout Roman Catholic, and once stated that the series is "a Catholic work." In this case, that's more a matter of the moral and teleological orientation than it is of explicit overt symbolism.


message 25: by Denise (new)

Denise Thomas | 10 comments I can't wait to read some of these new authors. Thanks so much!


message 26: by Ron (new)

Ron | 78 comments You may find Tolkien's essay "On Fairy-Stories" in The Tolkien Reader appropriate to this discussion, including the idea that fantasy writing is a "sub-creative" art.


message 27: by Werner (last edited Apr 14, 2011 06:43AM) (new)

Werner | 1741 comments Scott E. Stabler's new Christian fantasy series, Knights of the Dawn King (which I haven't read yet), was recently mentioned on another thread. For those interested in checking it out more fully, the link to the series website is: http://knightsofthedawnking.com .


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 412 comments I just got this book, I haven't gotten to it yet (which is actually par for the course. I hope to get to it in a few weeks...or months).


message 29: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1741 comments It's on my to-read list, too, Mike, so I'll be very interested in your reaction!


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 412 comments When I get to it. I have 7 library books across the room I haven't even opened yet... I sometimes wonder if I may not end my days having not gotten to the majority of my own books because I keep moving library books ahead of them. LOL


message 31: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1741 comments No hurry, Mike!


message 32: by [deleted user] (new)

If anyone is interested in a sneak preview of the cover for Allon Book 4 - A Question of Sovereignty is now featured on the website. Scroll to the bottom. More to come shortly with excerpt and video.

http://www.allonbooks.com/home.htm


message 33: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Kirk | 66 comments Shawn wrote: "If anyone is interested in a sneak preview of the cover for Allon Book 4 - A Question of Sovereignty is now featured on the website. Scroll to the bottom. More to come shortly with excerpt and vide..."Looks good.


message 34: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks, Pat.


message 35: by [deleted user] (new)

The video and summary of Book 4 are now available on the website. Scroll to the bottom of the page.

http://www.allonbooks.com

Also Book 3 - Heir Apparent is now on Kindle.
http://amzn.to/kM5HVd


message 36: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1741 comments I've just finished reading our own Scott Stabler's The Knights of the Dawn King, which is mentioned above in message 27. (My review is here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... .) IMO, it's a strong addition to the field of contemporary Christian epic fantasy, with a number of positive points in its favor, and I really liked it. This is obviously the opening volume of what apparently will be a trilogy; and I'd say that it's off to a good start!


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 412 comments I'm about half way through it. (I keep putting it on hold) but I like it so far. My only real concern is the time between volumes. LOL


message 38: by Amy (new)

Amy Lignor (httpwwwgoodreadscomalignor) | 6 comments I hope you can enjoy this :)


From the very first page, I was hooked. The plot keeps you begging for more
5 out 5 Stars!
http://noveldtales.blogspot.com/2012/...


message 39: by Amy (new)

Amy Lignor (httpwwwgoodreadscomalignor) | 6 comments The Angels are back!!
http://noveldtales.blogspot.com/

I have the special privilege of revealing the cover of The Angel Chronicles: Gilded Wings (Book 2) today! (yay!!!!) Without further delay... Here is the cover, description and release date…

Send your comments - say what you truly think about Matthew - to amylignor@hotmail.com and the winner of the ‘coolest’ comment will receive a FREE ebook of Gilded Wings on November 1st when it’s released!


message 40: by Randy (new)

Randy Blackwell | 1 comments Rise of the Magi is a book that blends Christianity, science fiction, and fantasy in a story describing the journey of an atheist scientist, an illusionist con-man, and an assassin across the stars through a dimensional galaxy ending in a fantasy world beyond the characters' imaginations. The characters struggle against a great evil in the center of this dimensional galaxy as they come to face their own inner demons. This book uses the elements of adventure, action, romance, science fiction, Christianity, and fantasy together to present an epic tale of redemption.

Dr. Omar Metzger has discovered a link to another dimension. With funding being pulled in one week, Omar does not have enough time to appropriately substantiate his findings, so he enters the dimensional shift…

Myles Callaghan, an illusionist con-artist, has bitten off more than he can chew by swindling the Don of an Italian family out of several million dollars. On the run, and wanting to get far away from Italy, Myles goes much further than he could imagine…

Kasey is an assassin with orders to assassinate the Israeli prime minister. Betrayed, Kasey must escape before she is captured. As she crosses through an archway in the prime minister’s basement she realizes she has crossed much more than the threshold of a door…

These three unlikely companions come together in a world far different than where they began. Together, they must find their way through an ever changing maze, understand the inhabitants of the Core of the planet, fight their inner most demons, and escape before the forces of evil close in on them.

"Great story, great characters, great universe! The clash of civilizations, old and new, and mix of ancient cultures and ancient hi-tech flavor is wonderful. Rise of the Magi is much more in depth and "steam punk" like than I imagined. My first impression was that the world was going to be too similar to other fantasy worlds but it is very unique. I love the parallel universe and multi-dimensional elements; they are brilliant.

The fact that I'm so passionate with my opinions about this story only proves how moving and fresh it really is. There is no question that this story and universe is movie and video game worthy.

Congrats Randy, you wrote a wonderful story!"

~Jamie Wiggs
Game Designer
(Squaresoft, Microsoft, EA Games)
Works including: Middle Earth 1 and 2, Shadows of Mordor

A release date will be coming soon and the date will likely be within the next month as the Publisher originally intended to have it out in September.
To pre-register for this novel go to http://soterion.com/PreOrder.aspx
Add it to your "to read list":
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15...


message 41: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1741 comments Craig wrote (on another thread):

"1) Stephen Lawhead
2) Karen Hancock
3) L. B. Graham
4) George Bryan Polivka
5) Sharon Hinck"


message 42: by Nina (new)

Nina Joy | 2 comments Does anyone here read the Starquest series? It's an older series, but I really like it. It's a Christian fantasy and it happens in other galaxies. It's by Gregory J. Smith if you want to check it out.
Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, I realized it's more of a sci-fi series, but it's enjoyable nonetheless!
Gregory J. Smith


message 43: by Nina (new)

Nina Joy | 2 comments Here is the first book if anyone is interested:

Captive Planet (Star Quest Books, Volume 1) by Gregory J. Smith


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 412 comments Don't miss Charles Williams. He was also a member of the Inklings Like Lewis and Tolkien.


message 46: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1741 comments Melissa, Tolkien, Lewis, and MacDonald are definitely foundational authors for the genre! They're must-reads for anyone who's really interested in Christian fantasy, IMO.

Since Oke and Peretti are on your list, you might also be interested in these threads: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/... and https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/... .


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