Tag Archives: christian fantasy

‘How to Write a Fantasy Novel’ (2010)

See the source image

This piece appeared in Chalcedon’s print magazine in 2010, shortly after Bell Mountain was published. I’ve had a lot of practice writing fantasy novels, since then.

https://chalcedon.edu/magazine/how-to-write-a-fantasy-novel

There’s still a great unmet need for Christian fantasy, especially for Young Adult readers.

My books would appreciate some company!

 


‘Christian Reconstruction… and Fantasy?’ (God’s Providence at Work)

Image result for images of bell mountain by lee duigon

In this 2014 Chalcedon magazine article, I traced some of the many steps of God’s providence by which I came to write my Bell Mountain novels. It started with a young R.J. Rushdoony reading Cornelius Van Til, and starting a correspondence with him–while I was still, literally, in knee-pants.

https://chalcedon.edu/magazine/christian-reconstruction-and-fantasy

You have to view these things in retrospect, because you can’t detect them while they’re happening. God’s work is subtle: best to view it from a distance. Get up too close, and you can’t see anything.

Anyway, here’s how my books came to be written, and why they’re written the way they are.

 


‘Christian vs. Almost Christian Fantasy’ (2015)

Image result for images of pax demonica

Maybe this year I’ll find some really great, current, Christian fantasy to review.

https://leeduigon.com/2015/06/06/christian-vs-almost-christian-fantasy/

I have to be careful about going into the theology shop, because I’m not a theologian, I might break something.

But a demon-hunting hit squad? If that seems a familiar motif, it’s from a book called Pax Demonica about “a demon-hunting soccer mom.” I know, I know–but really, it wasn’t as bad as it sounds. But the theology was way, way off.

Is it really necessary to warn anyone that learning Christian doctrine from paperback novels is probably not a good idea?


What is ‘Christian Fantasy’?

See the source image

Too much of what is labeled “Christian fantasy” is only “Christian” on the outside. But then you can say that of some churches, too. And people.

https://leeduigon.com/2014/12/03/what-is-christian-fantasy/

Just as it’s possible for a politician who supports and publicly funds abortion to say “I’m a good Catholic!”, any publisher can call any book a Christian novel. Sayin’ so don’t make it so.

 


‘After Lewis and Tolkien’ (Comes Me?)

Image result for images of bell mountain by lee duigon

Jon Dykstra of Reformed Perspective Magazine did a fine job of welding several of my blog posts, and my answers to his questions, into an article about Christian fantasy.

After Lewis and Tolkien

I was especially gratified when he told me how his children loved Bell Mountain as he read it to them. They called it simply “Jack and Ellayne.” I think they were five or six years old at the time–way under the age of the target audience. But I’ve heard this a lot, over the years–mostly from adults.

Anyway, it’s an interesting article and I was very pleasantly surprised to find it available online.


‘Can Fantasy Be Reformed?’ (2014)

See the source image

This blog post, back then, resulted in a wonderful article by John Dykstra in Reformed Perspective Magazine–which I’ve been able to locate, and which I’ll re-post for you tomorrow.

https://leeduigon.com/2014/04/18/can-fantasy-be-reformed/

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know how I hate fantasy cliches–the Invincible Female Warrior, the Thief With a Heart of Gold, Know-It-All Elves, etc., etc.

Fantasy can be made into a useful tool for Christ’s Kingdom–I’m totally convinced of it. But first it has to be straightened out.


‘Rabbits with Swords–a Fantasy You Can Believe In’ (2015)

Image result for images of the green ember

It’s so hard to find Young Adults fantasy fiction that’s actually worth reading and not just awful, dreary, or awfully dreary. The Green Ember was one of the best books I read in 2015.

https://leeduigon.com/2015/03/29/rabbits-with-swords-a-fantasy-you-can-believe-in/

It’s not often–and more’s the pity for it–that you encounter a story featuring love, self-sacrifice, faith, and courage. You’d almost think the virtues had gone out of fashion. Even better news: by now, author S.D. Smith has enlarged The Green Ember into a series.

At the risk of calling in competition against my own books, these would make really nice Christmas presents.


‘A Brief Defense of C.S. Lewis and Narnia’ (2015)

See the source image

Puddleglum–theologian in training?

To boil it down all the way–C.S. Lewis was an atheist and could very easily have remained one all his life: so whatever quibbles we might have with his theology, however late he came to work in the Lord’s vineyard, he did the best he could.

https://leeduigon.com/2015/11/21/a-brief-defense-of-c-s-lewis-and-narnia/

If God requires of us more than that, we’re all in deep, deep trouble.


Book Review: ‘Visions of Light and Shadow’ by Allison D. Reid

See the source image

(Copyright 2018 by Allison D. Reid)

This is the third book in The Wind Rider Chronicles by Allison D. Reid, best known to this blog as our friend “Weavingword.”

Two things make this series stand out from all the others. First, it has a fully Trinitarian theology: no one else I have read in fantasy has been bold enough to try this.

Second, although many–one might even say “most”–fantasy novels are set in an imaginary world similar to our world’s Middle Ages, this series boasts a unique feeling of authenticity. When it comes to the way life was lived by most people in the Middle Ages, Ms. Reid really knows her onions. Her wealth of authentic detail persuades the reader to believe in the story. Food and drink, technology, weapons, architecture, dress, the means of producing everyday goods and services–it’s all here.

And one other thing–tiresome fantasy cliches, like the Invincible Female Warrior, the Crusty But Benign Old Wizard, and Know-It-All Elves, are refreshingly absent from these books. I stand up and cheer for that!

These books are written as a continuous story, which means I had to go back and re-read the first two.

Elowyn and Morganne are two sisters who, having fled their increasingly disturbed home city and a mother who, for reasons we don’t yet know, hates them, have to find a place where they can live normal, peaceful lives. This is hard to do, because their world is under attack by supernatural forces. Morganne, the elder, is a weaver by trade and a scholar by avocation. Elowyn, the younger, has an affinity for the woodlands. These are engaging and believable protagonists.

At the root of their world’s problems is an evil wizard, Braeden, who controls their country’s weak and foolish king and is using necromancy to open, it seems, the gates of Hell and let out all sorts of evil and monstrous beings to prey upon the people. There is a Kinship of warriors who try to fight the evil, but are hard-pressed to keep it from devouring their towns and villages. They’re warriors, but they aren’t supermen. There’s a very real possibility that they won’t be able to hold the line.

There are still some important things that we, the readers, don’t know. Who, exactly, is Braeden, where did he come from, is he even fully human, and why is he doing this? Much of the answer, we expect, lies in the world’s ancient history, which must be painstakingly recovered if there is to be any hope of countering the evil. Why does the sisters’ mother hate her daughters, and who was their father? I strongly suspect the answer to that last question will come as a surprise, if not a shock.

Some readers will wish the story were carried forward at a faster pace–with more reminders, along the way, of what has gone before. But Ms. Reid is improving as a story-teller as she goes along, and I think we must be patient. Meanwhile, there is a well-crafted sense of growing menace that makes me eager for the next book in the series.

These are available both as e-books and paperbacks, and can be ordered through amazon.com.

“Weavingword” is weaving something good here, and I look forward to seeing how it all turns out.


‘A Defense of Fantasy’ (2015)

See the source image

I was hoping to watch some BBC Narnia today, but now I have to go pick up a prescription for my cat.

Anyway, as I try to rest between books, I thought it might be edifying to revisit the question of whether fantasy can be profitably used in God’s service.

https://leeduigon.com/2015/01/31/a-defense-of-fantasy/

I really can’t blame readers who think fantasy is at best idle nonsense, and at worst, some kind of dalliance with the occult. But that can be said about anything, can’t it? There’s music that glorifies God, and there’s music that debases man and everything around him. When was the last time you heard somebody zoom down the road with a hymn playing on his car’s sound system?

So of course we can use fantasy in the service of the Kingdom: and the more who decide to try to do it, the better.


%d bloggers like this: