So happy to have author/editor Michelle L. Levigne back to share about speculative fiction, one of the many genres she writes in. Take it away, Michelle, with “Could we? Should we? Part 1”!
Sorry. That sounds a little like Dr. Seuss.
Could we and should we what, exactly?
At one time or another, a Christian writing SF, fantasy or horror will face someone who insists that their chosen genre is inconsistent with their spiritual beliefs. I faced that question to the extreme – a fellow student in grad school insisted that I had invited demons into my life by writing and reading SF. My response? Well, it was several years later, in my master’s thesis, and slightly revised and published last year as To Eternity (and beyond): Writing Spec Fic Good for Your Soul. This is excerpted from the introduction:
Can Christians write, read, and enjoy the science fiction/fantasy genre without compromising their commitment and walk with Christ? Can this genre be used to the glory of Jesus Christ?
I believe it is only logical that wherever Christians are able to work, take enjoyment and come into contact with their fellow human beings, this is a place where seeds can be sown for God’s glory.
Keep in mind that devotion to a subject depends a great deal on the mentality, personality, and needs of the person involved. Some people enjoy the genre as a light adventure. Others are drawn to the mind-stretching speculation it can inspire. Others devote every particle of their being and energies to it because they have nothing else in life. Should the genre be blamed because people twist and pervert it and let their lives be consumed by it? That’s like burning books because some are pornography. It’s like avoiding bathing because a baby drowned in a bathtub. Science fiction/fantasy, in and of itself, is neither good nor evil: the people who use it, and the uses to which it is put, are what can be labeled good or evil, right or wrong.
C.S. Lewis once wrote, in reference to his Space Trilogy:
… out of about 60 reviewers, only two showed any knowledge that my idea of the fall of the Bent One was anything but an invention of my own. But if there only was someone with a richer talent and more leisure I think that this great ignorance might be a help to the evangelization of England; any amount of theology can now be smuggled into people’s minds under cover of romance without their knowing it.W.H. Lewis. Editor. Letters of C.S. Lewis. (Harcourt Brace Jovanonvich. NY 1966) pp.167
Lewis saw a potential for great good in science fiction/fantasy, if used properly. Just as something has a great potential for good, it can also have just as much potential for evil, and thus great care must be taken. God created all things to be good, but His rebellious servants pervert these good things into evil. Perhaps with prayer, searching, and wisdom, all things may be reclaimed for good.
Please check in next week for the thrilling conclusion. Or, at least, a very thoughtful conclusion, that made me consider why I write as a Christian in my genre. And click here for Michelle’s previous guest blogs.
On the road to publication, Michelle fell into fandom in college and has 40+ stories in various SF and fantasy universes. She has a bunch of useless degrees in theater, English, film/communication, and writing. Even worse, she has over 100 books and novellas with multiple small presses, in science fiction and fantasy, YA, suspense, women’s fiction, and sub-genres of romance.
Her training includes the Institute for Children’s Literature; proofreading at an advertising agency; and working at a community newspaper. She is a tea snob and freelance edits for a living (MichelleLevigne@gmail.com for info/rates), but only enough to give her time to write. Want to learn about upcoming books, book launch parties, inside information, and cover reveals? Go to Michelle’s website or blog to sign up. You can also find her at www.YeOldeDragonBooks.com, www.MtZionRidgePress.com, Facebook, and Instagram.