Friday, August 29, 2008

Rebecca Miller was interviewed at Where The Map Ends last month. She has fascinating comments about Christian publishing and the state of fantasy, science fiction and more. Take a look.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Broken Angel and fundamentalists


In reviewing Sigmund Brouwer’s book, Broken Angel, there have been discussions over the last few days in blogland about fundamentalists. Broken Angel is a futuristic tale about a government by fundamentalism and how their legalistic ways impact people.

As I said yesterday, I have dear friends who are fundamentalists and I can tell you some things I treasure about them. They are passionate and willing to put into action what they believe. They will put their money where their mouth is. They stand firm when others compromise. They are quick to pray and quick to help, even when it inconveniences them.

But I disagree with them on several points as well, including our topic of fantasy. For some, fiction is forbidden since it is not true. But how do they explain Jesus’ parables? Sometimes truth is more eloquently stated through fictional works.

I know parents who forbid their children to watch the Lord of the Rings movie series because of the magic and fantasy elements, totally ignoring the beautiful images of courage, honesty, honor and good that course through the story.

While I find LOTR a brilliant story about how good overcomes evil, these fundamentalist parents fear the wizards and warlords.

Some have cast out C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia books because of satyrs and witches. They miss the beauty of Aslan going to stone table, a chapter which brought tears to my eyes.

For the fundamentalists I know, a key to getting through this life to heaven is by staying unstained by the world, which happens through separation. They wish to present themselves to Christ as an unstained bride.

I think that it is Christ who does the washing and it is Christ who makes the bride pure. Not rules and effort. The bride comes unstained because of Jesus’ work, not mine.

Rules or relationship. I think it may come down to that. Read Broken Angel and see what you think.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Looking literally

In yesterday’s post, you were introduced to a new book, Broken Angel, by Sigmund Brouwer. Brouwer has created a futuristic world in his book, one where fundamentalists have pushed their literal interpretations to the forefront of politics, and now run things.

The topic is a thoughtful one. I have close friends who are fundamentalists, believing that a literal interpretation of the Bible is the proof of faith. They are committed and passionate in their faith and I will not belittle them.

However, I want to introduce you to a resource that may shed a little light on biblical texts. The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery (general editors are Leland Ryken, James C. Wilhoit and Tremper Longman III) explores the images, motifs, symbols, figures of speech and literary patterns of the Bible.

Once I said to my three-year-old nephew, “Oh, you’re pulling my leg, aren’t you?” And he looked solemnly at his leg and my leg before shaking his head. No.

I was using a figure of speech that he didn’t yet understand. Those are common in our literature today and were common in the writings of the Bible as well. Those who insist on a literal interpretation of texts often lose the very meaning of that text because they don’t examine possible images or figures of speech.

As Brouwer suggests, literal isn’t always best.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Broken Angel


A broken hero negotiates a run for safety in a future world where fundamentalistic government has distorted Christianity. This is the suspense thriller Broken Angel by Sigmund Brouwer.

The book is thought-provoking with well-drawn characters plunged into a world where fundamentalism and literalism rule the day. We'll talk a little more about that tomorrow.

Check out The Amazon link:.

Brouwer’s website is here.

Brouwer’s book is being featured in a blog tour that contains many fascinating posts. Take a look:

Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Janey DeMeo
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Mark Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Katie Hart
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Joleen Howell
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Magma
Margaret
Shannon McNear
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
John W. Otte
Steve Rice
Ashley Rutherford
Hanna Sandvig
Chawna Schroeder
Mirtika or Mir's Here
Sean Slagle
James Somers
Donna Swanson
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Laura Williams

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Visual Fantasy

The story of creation in Genesis is the story of God creating order out of chaos. The recent Batman flick, The Dark Knight, poses a question: can good overcome anarchy and chaos? Genesis says yes and this painting reflects the chaos being tamed as God spoke.

Note: painting used by permission. Check out the artist’s site.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Motiv8

Eight Christian fantasy writers are on a blog tour over at Motiv8. L.B. Graham discusses the importance of names in fantasy. Do names matter? Graham says yes, and gives some vivid examples. Take a look.

Friday, August 15, 2008

God's purpose

Although the storm has lessened on the Christian music front, it still rages among Christian readers. The question is this: can a Christian artist entertain a secular audience without losing the flavor of Jesus in the work?

When Amy Grant decided to perform for a secular audience – and tone down the obvious references to Jesus – many Christian fans abandoned her. A Christian writer has the same questions: am I writing for believers or non-believers?

Jeff Gertge wrote an insightful piece about the issue. Even if you’re not a writer, you need to consider his ideas.

As Christians, we make decisions: do we strengthen the body or evangelize the lost? Even in our reading choices, are we seeking books that help us in our own spiritual journey or show us how to bridge over to those who are searching for spiritual truth?

Check out Jeff’s thoughts. It’s an important issue for Christians who are reading or writing speculative fiction and Jeff does a nice job explaining.

http://www.wherethemapends.com/writerstools/writers_tools_pages/tip_of_the_week--91-100.htm

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Visual Fantasy


The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

Gen 1:12

Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them.

Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy;

Psalms 96:12

Note: painting used by permission. Check out the artist’s site.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Trivia Tuesday

New question: Name one of the books being released by Marcher Lord Press in its debut on October 1. Marcherlordpress.com

Answer:

Hero, Second class by first-time novelist Mitchell Bonds

or

The Personifid Invasion by R. E. Bartlett

or

Summa Elvetica: A Casuistry of the Elvish Controvery by Theodore Beale.


By the way, go check out Marcher Lord Press's website for more information.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Visual Fantasy



God made the two bright lights: the larger light to rule the day and the smaller light to rule the night.

Gen 1:16

Note: painting used by permission. Check out the artist’s site.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Never Ceese review


It caught me by surprise but using a werewolf and a vampire produced an amazing fresh look at the hunger for redemption when trapped in a curse. But that’s the underlying message of Never Ceese by Sue Dent, a horror story melding the werewolf-vampire legends with a family of faith.

The werewolf, Ceese, and the vampire, Richard, wrestle with their curses. For Ceese, the wolf within rages at every turn to claim her soul. Richard has refused to curse another, although the desire to do so tears at him daily.

They are bound together because of their ties to Penny, who is determined to help them find a way out of the curse that they long to cast aside. The story is a page-turner, with fresh adventure and humor – and even unexpected romance – every step of the way.

Can two who were wronged make it right? Their desire to be free wars against the curse’s hold on them, making every decision and every action a rippling agony.

The story captures the torture of our own inner sin, when we rage against doing what we do not wish to do while not doing what we want to do, as the apostle Paul describes in the book of Romans. Although Ceese and Richard want to be free and made whole, their very nature sabotages their plans.

Can they make it right? Can we?

Check out Never Ceese and join the hunt.