Fantasy Faction

Fantasy Faction => Fantasy Book & Author Discussion => Topic started by: craigdressler on January 16, 2018, 04:38:48 PM

Title: Favorite Christian Fantasy Authors
Post by: craigdressler on January 16, 2018, 04:38:48 PM
The following is my short list of favorite Christian fantasy authors:
1) Stephen Lawhead
2) Karen Hancock
3) Patrick Carr
4) Jill Williamson

Feel free to add others if you want.
Title: Re: Favorite Christian Fantasy Authors
Post by: ArhiX on January 16, 2018, 07:20:29 PM
I am a Christian and this is the first time I met with this term. I always thought that Christianity doesn't go well together with fantasy. In my country, Church openly spoke against reading fantasy books - at least a big part of it - because it can be dangerous.

In example "Harry Potter" because it befriends young people with magic, witchcraft and occultism or even "Twilight" because werewolves and vampires. There were even 10 reasons why "HP" books are evil.
Title: Re: Favorite Christian Fantasy Authors
Post by: tebakutis on January 16, 2018, 08:30:00 PM
I am a Christian and this is the first time I met with this term. I always thought that Christianity doesn't go well together with fantasy. In my country, Church openly spoke against reading fantasy books - at least a big part of it - because it can be dangerous.

In example "Harry Potter" because it befriends young people with magic, witchcraft and occultism or even "Twilight" because werewolves and vampires. There were even 10 reasons why "HP" books are evil.

That's fascinating! I was aware of the worry about the Harry Potter books among certain sects of Christianity, but not aware it had been applied to fantasy in general. That's the first I've heard of a general warning against all fantasy novels or media.

The earliest fantasy I read with strong Christian overtones was The Chronicles of Narnia. Aslan, the benevolent lion who sacrifices himself for the sins of others and is resurrected days later, is quite possibly the most literal Jesus allegory I've ever read. The creation of Narnia (in Book 5) is actually the story of Genesis in Disney'fied form. There's even a final book (7) where a war consumes Narnia and only the true believers can pass through the gate to the promised land. Those worshipping the "false god" are left behind in darkness.

At the time I read these, of course, I was very young (8-10, I think) and, humorously enough, completely unaware of the allegories, despite going to church on a regular basis (my parents were Methodist, which, for those unfamilar with various Christian denominations, are among the most easy-going of Christian groups). So I just though they were cool stories, and only later became aware of the inspiration for C.S. Lewis' writing.

But as far as I'm aware, there has always been a vast and varied pantheon of "Christian friendly" SFF fiction. The most well known might be the Left Behind series (primarily for evangelicals) but there's dozens more. So it surprises me that your church would generically caution against reading all fantasy, rather than singling out specific books for angst (like Harry Potter).
Title: Re: Favorite Christian Fantasy Authors
Post by: ArhiX on January 16, 2018, 08:52:29 PM

That's fascinating! I was aware of the worry about the Harry Potter books among certain sects of Christianity, but not aware it had been applied to fantasy in general. That's the first I've heard of a general warning against all fantasy novels or media.

Many preachers spoke against Harry Potter. Sometimes some REALLY bad things. And with HP - fantasy in general. Besides my teacher from highschool was really concerned about me and my friend loving fantasy books, as books like this tend to put people away from real world and faith... She was even more concerned when we told her, that we are creating our own fantasy world, but beside this, she was a very nice and helpfull person - concerned but still supportive for our projects.

My GF's religious mother on the other side thinks that Harry Potter books are evil... But only Harry Potter. Other fantasy books are fine for her.
Title: Re: Favorite Christian Fantasy Authors
Post by: cupiscent on January 16, 2018, 09:31:46 PM
Aslan, the benevolent lion who sacrifices himself for the sins of others and is resurrected days later, is quite possibly the most literal Jesus allegory I've ever read.

Watching the movie, when the stone altar splits, I said out loud in the cinema, "Are you kidding me?!" I read the books after that and yeah, not subtle about it at all.

I'm not sure what really comprises Christian fantasy, though. It is fantasy that promotes compassion and charity? Or is it fantasy concerned with monotheistic faith? I mean... GGKay's work is so brimful of humanity and understanding that I find it feels very "with god" to me, but it's much wider in its scope than Christianity only.
Title: Re: Favorite Christian Fantasy Authors
Post by: DrNefario on January 16, 2018, 10:00:01 PM
It was subtle enough for me to be to be totally oblivious as a kid.
Title: Re: Favorite Christian Fantasy Authors
Post by: tebakutis on January 17, 2018, 12:37:23 AM
I'm not sure what really comprises Christian fantasy, though. It is fantasy that promotes compassion and charity? Or is it fantasy concerned with monotheistic faith? I mean... GGKay's work is so brimful of humanity and understanding that I find it feels very "with god" to me, but it's much wider in its scope than Christianity only.

My understanding is that (like Christian music and other media) what would be termed "Christian fantasy" explicitly acknowledges Christian religious beliefs as correct, and those beliefs are usually integral to the fantasy itself. Left Behind, one I mentioned, is explicitly based on the evangelical belief that those who have accepted Jesus (as specifically called out in evangelical teachings) will all be raptured, leaving those who were not among the chosen behind on Earth. Its main characters were not raptured for whatever reason when Jesus returned, and the story progresses as the Earth grows more volatile and the anti-Christ gains strength, leading to the apocalypse.

The series was super popular among evangelicals, specifically, but it's among the only fantasy books I've come across that were specifically marketed as Christian fantasy. I'd be curious what else is out there, though!
Title: Re: Favorite Christian Fantasy Authors
Post by: Rostum on January 17, 2018, 01:01:25 AM
I certainly follow no middle eastern religion although, see I can see merit and practicality in some of the societal values they try to live up to. I do have questions though.

Why should the religion of the author matter? Why limit yourself and filter your relaxation time in this way? you have made a number of posts with a Christian context on the site, which is fine but response has been limited. I would suggest reading outside Christian based fantasy or works from Christian authors you may be pleasantly surprised.


Title: Re: Favorite Christian Fantasy Authors
Post by: Elfy on January 17, 2018, 08:53:22 AM
It was subtle enough for me to be to be totally oblivious as a kid.
Me too, and I was brought up Catholic.
Title: Re: Favorite Christian Fantasy Authors
Post by: ultamentkiller on January 17, 2018, 05:08:29 PM
I'm not sure what really comprises Christian fantasy, though. It is fantasy that promotes compassion and charity? Or is it fantasy concerned with monotheistic faith? I mean... GGKay's work is so brimful of humanity and understanding that I find it feels very "with god" to me, but it's much wider in its scope than Christianity only.

My understanding is that (like Christian music and other media) what would be termed "Christian fantasy" explicitly acknowledges Christian religious beliefs as correct, and those beliefs are usually integral to the fantasy itself. Left Behind, one I mentioned, is explicitly based on the evangelical belief that those who have accepted Jesus (as specifically called out in evangelical teachings) will all be raptured, leaving those who were not among the chosen behind on Earth. Its main characters were not raptured for whatever reason when Jesus returned, and the story progresses as the Earth grows more volatile and the anti-Christ gains strength, leading to the apocalypse.

The series was super popular among evangelicals, specifically, but it's among the only fantasy books I've come across that were specifically marketed as Christian fantasy. I'd be curious what else is out there, though!
Just a scary thought to offer here. I was raised with the belief that the Left Behind books represented what would really happen. Sadly, I believed that until the middle of last year.

The church I grew up in said Harry Potter was evil, some Disney shows with magic were evil, His Dark Materials is evil... It's ridiculous. At least in Harry Potter, there's nothing super non-Christian in there. The entire conflict is loves triumph over hatred. That's exactly what Christianity is supposed to be about, but considering how deeply it's been twisted over the last few centuries...

This may surprise some people here, but I would consider Brent Weeks Christian fantasy. It doesn't fit into the standard definition, but if you read his books watching for the Christian symbolism, there's plenty of it. Night Angel has some, but Light Bringer definitely has a lot more.

I studied Mormonism for fun this year, and if you read Sanderson's books, it's pretty loaded with Mormon theology. I didn't notice when I read them, but thinking back to my research, now I see it all. Mormons aren't regarded as Christians by most people, but they consider themselves to be so there's that. McClellan's books don't have any at all though, which is slightly surprising since he's a former student of Sanderson from BYU.
Title: Re: Favorite Christian Fantasy Authors
Post by: Elfy on January 17, 2018, 08:42:42 PM
My mother, who was about as Catholic as someone could get, read the Harry Potter books and quite enjoyed them. I actually had a discussion with our local priest about them. He enjoyed them too, never understood why certain sections of the church didn't and he was quite scathing of the then Pope's denunciation of the books (in fact he didn't like that Pope at all, always referred to him rather snidely as 'Ratzinger'). He made a point of coming over to me before the service on the weekend that Deathly Hallows was released and asking if I had already picked up a copy of it.
If you look hard enough at most things and you want to find something to be offended by then you're very likely to find it.
Title: Re: Favorite Christian Fantasy Authors
Post by: cupiscent on January 17, 2018, 09:10:07 PM
I studied Mormonism for fun this year, and if you read Sanderson's books, it's pretty loaded with Mormon theology. I didn't notice when I read them, but thinking back to my research, now I see it all. Mormons aren't regarded as Christians by most people, but they consider themselves to be so there's that. McClellan's books don't have any at all though, which is slightly surprising since he's a former student of Sanderson from BYU.

That's really interesting! I've always wondered about how much Mormon stuff there was in the Wheel of Time as well, but I don't know enough to pick out anything except the multiple-wives element.
Title: Re: Favorite Christian Fantasy Authors
Post by: Elfy on January 18, 2018, 06:29:20 AM
I studied Mormonism for fun this year, and if you read Sanderson's books, it's pretty loaded with Mormon theology. I didn't notice when I read them, but thinking back to my research, now I see it all. Mormons aren't regarded as Christians by most people, but they consider themselves to be so there's that. McClellan's books don't have any at all though, which is slightly surprising since he's a former student of Sanderson from BYU.

That's really interesting! I've always wondered about how much Mormon stuff there was in the Wheel of Time as well, but I don't know enough to pick out anything except the multiple-wives element.
I haven't read the Sandersons, but if theres Mormonism he must have introduced it because I don't  think Jordan was Mormon. A number of popular fantasy authors are Mormon, though. Tracy Hickman and Shannon Hale are 2 I only recently became aware are Mormons.
Title: Re: Favorite Christian Fantasy Authors
Post by: xiagan on January 18, 2018, 08:38:32 PM
My name's Christian, so the novels I write are Christian fantasy, right? ;)

(I'm not keen on having religious beliefs in my fantasy. So if something is labeled Christian fantasy I would avoid it.)
Title: Re: Favorite Christian Fantasy Authors
Post by: cupiscent on January 18, 2018, 08:56:43 PM
I've always wondered about how much Mormon stuff there was in the Wheel of Time as well, but I don't know enough to pick out anything except the multiple-wives element.
I haven't read the Sandersons, but if theres Mormonism he must have introduced it because I don't  think Jordan was Mormon. A number of popular fantasy authors are Mormon, though. Tracy Hickman and Shannon Hale are 2 I only recently became aware are Mormons.

...I could've sworn I was told Back In The Day that Jordon was Mormon, and then when they picked Sanderson to continue the series I was all, "Oh, that makes sense." But now I google and apparently not. So today I learned something and corrected my misconception, so today is already a good day. :)
Title: Re: Favorite Christian Fantasy Authors
Post by: ultamentkiller on January 19, 2018, 07:31:17 PM
I studied Mormonism for fun this year, and if you read Sanderson's books, it's pretty loaded with Mormon theology. I didn't notice when I read them, but thinking back to my research, now I see it all. Mormons aren't regarded as Christians by most people, but they consider themselves to be so there's that. McClellan's books don't have any at all though, which is slightly surprising since he's a former student of Sanderson from BYU.

That's really interesting! I've always wondered about how much Mormon stuff there was in the Wheel of Time as well, but I don't know enough to pick out anything except the multiple-wives element.
I haven't read the Sandersons, but if theres Mormonism he must have introduced it because I don't  think Jordan was Mormon. A number of popular fantasy authors are Mormon, though. Tracy Hickman and Shannon Hale are 2 I only recently became aware are Mormons.
That doesn't surprise me at all about the multiple Fantasy author thing. There's definitely a lot of misconceptions about Mormonism in general, but when you start digging deep you can see elements of a potential Fantasy story happening on another world in there. I can't think of a better example than the Cosmere though. Everything we know about it so far is heavily rooted in Mormonism, and I expect once we get to the beginning and the end of that universe it will solidify as such.
Title: Re: Favorite Christian Fantasy Authors
Post by: Nighteyes on January 19, 2018, 08:01:09 PM
Actually there are quite a few. The two most famous ones are of course, J R R Tolkien and CS Lewis. Tolkien was a devout Catholic and CS Lewis an Anglican and both part of the same writing group the Inkpens.  Tolkien actually used to criticise CS Lewis for making his books too allegorical! But you can see both of their faiths in their writing and the belief that good will overcome evil.

Stephen Lawhead was a big name back in the 90s and I loved his Arthur/ Merlin cycle. I only discovered later he was a Christian when I discovered his books for sale at an Evangelist book fair.  And of course Brandon Sanderson is a Mormon and I am sure there are a few others. I think only very puritanical Christians are against fantasy and many Christian writers excel in using other worlds as a medium to explore their faith.
Title: Re: Favorite Christian Fantasy Authors
Post by: Justan Henner on January 20, 2018, 04:50:18 PM

That doesn't surprise me at all about the multiple Fantasy author thing. There's definitely a lot of misconceptions about Mormonism in general, but when you start digging deep you can see elements of a potential Fantasy story happening on another world in there. I can't think of a better example than the Cosmere though. Everything we know about it so far is heavily rooted in Mormonism, and I expect once we get to the beginning and the end of that universe it will solidify as such.

Orson Scott Card is another famous Mormon SFF author. I've heard that his Tales of Alvin Maker are fairly near to a retelling of the Book of Mormon.
Title: Re: Favorite Christian Fantasy Authors
Post by: Lu Kudzoza on January 20, 2018, 05:00:11 PM

That doesn't surprise me at all about the multiple Fantasy author thing. There's definitely a lot of misconceptions about Mormonism in general, but when you start digging deep you can see elements of a potential Fantasy story happening on another world in there. I can't think of a better example than the Cosmere though. Everything we know about it so far is heavily rooted in Mormonism, and I expect once we get to the beginning and the end of that universe it will solidify as such.

Orson Scott Card is another famous Mormon SFF author. I've heard that his Tales of Alvin Maker are fairly near to a retelling of the Book of Mormon.

Tales of Alvin Maker is closer to the Joseph Smith stories about his childhood. His series Homecoming Saga is his rip off (promotion) of the Book of Mormon.  :o
Title: Re: Favorite Christian Fantasy Authors
Post by: Justan Henner on January 20, 2018, 05:06:49 PM

That doesn't surprise me at all about the multiple Fantasy author thing. There's definitely a lot of misconceptions about Mormonism in general, but when you start digging deep you can see elements of a potential Fantasy story happening on another world in there. I can't think of a better example than the Cosmere though. Everything we know about it so far is heavily rooted in Mormonism, and I expect once we get to the beginning and the end of that universe it will solidify as such.

Orson Scott Card is another famous Mormon SFF author. I've heard that his Tales of Alvin Maker are fairly near to a retelling of the Book of Mormon.

Tales of Alvin Maker is closer to the Joseph Smith stories about his childhood. His series Homecoming Saga is his rip off (promotion) of the Book of Mormon.  :o

Psht. Next you'll be telling me I pronounce baguette wrong.

I stand corrected.  ;)
Title: Re: Favorite Christian Fantasy Authors
Post by: Lu Kudzoza on January 20, 2018, 05:16:19 PM
For a fun and interesting anti-christian read check out Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series. It glorifies the fall of man from both the garden of eden and heaven. It portrays god as a dark authoritarian and one of the archangels (can't remember which one) as fighting for the right of self determination / free will for humankind. What's funny is that he doesn't use the devil as the good guy. Probably because that would have been a step too far for the public at the time.

What's even funnier about the books is
that at the end of book 3 he goes on a two page rant about all the things Christianity needs to be replaced with. It's basically his authoritarian view of how the world should be. I found it quite ironic.
Title: Re: Favorite Christian Fantasy Authors
Post by: Lu Kudzoza on January 20, 2018, 05:19:37 PM


Psht. Next you'll be telling me I pronounce baguette wrong.


Baguette, beget. Tomato, Toronto. They all mean the same thing, don't they? Who needs word precision?
Title: Re: Favorite Christian Fantasy Authors
Post by: ultamentkiller on January 20, 2018, 06:19:40 PM
For a fun and interesting anti-christian read check out Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series. It glorifies the fall of man from both the garden of eden and heaven. It portrays god as a dark authoritarian and one of the archangels (can't remember which one) as fighting for the right of self determination / free will for humankind. What's funny is that he doesn't use the devil as the good guy. Probably because that would have been a step too far for the public at the time.

What's even funnier about the books is
that at the end of book 3 he goes on a two page rant about all the things Christianity needs to be replaced with. It's basically his authoritarian view of how the world should be. I found it quite ironic.
Huh. I had no idea. I only read a third of the first book before putting it down, but if that's how it is, I guess I can see why people wouldn't want others reading it.

that being said, if your faith is strong enough, it shouldn't matter what you read.
Title: Re: Favorite Christian Fantasy Authors
Post by: Lu Kudzoza on January 20, 2018, 07:01:08 PM
For a fun and interesting anti-christian read check out Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series. It glorifies the fall of man from both the garden of eden and heaven. It portrays god as a dark authoritarian and one of the archangels (can't remember which one) as fighting for the right of self determination / free will for humankind. What's funny is that he doesn't use the devil as the good guy. Probably because that would have been a step too far for the public at the time.

What's even funnier about the books is
that at the end of book 3 he goes on a two page rant about all the things Christianity needs to be replaced with. It's basically his authoritarian view of how the world should be. I found it quite ironic.
Huh. I had no idea. I only read a third of the first book before putting it down, but if that's how it is, I guess I can see why people wouldn't want others reading it.

that being said, if your faith is strong enough, it shouldn't matter what you read.

For me it was a fun philosophical book that postulates god is only god because he got there first (via evolution, battling others for the position, etc.). It was an interesting concept to ponder.
Title: Re: Favorite Christian Fantasy Authors
Post by: Rostum on January 21, 2018, 12:58:17 AM
Quote
that being said, if your faith is strong enough, it shouldn't matter what you read.

You sir win any prize from the top shelf.
Conversely if your religion proscribes certain books (genres) or learning I would suggest it is a sect or cult. The UK is relatively moderate in such things compared to the USA but over the years I have encountered kids home educated or withdrawn from certain classes due to (their parents) religious beliefs. If you are scared your kids will leave your faith through education what you believe becomes very questionable very quickly.

@craigdressler  you have started a number of threads but not responded to this one which took off. Don't be shy we mostly don't bite and forums are after all meant for a frank exchange of views.
Title: Re: Favorite Christian Fantasy Authors
Post by: SugoiMe on January 25, 2018, 04:13:28 AM
@craigdressler  you have started a number of threads but not responded to this one which took off. Don't be shy we mostly don't bite and forums are after all meant for a frank exchange of views.

I second that these are good people. We all have opinions.:D

Confession: I have never read and never intend to read C.S. Lewis' Narnia series and I consider myself a devout Christian who has been a Christian my whole life. Never saw the appeal, probably because of the overt Christian symbolism. And yet it's THE big title when it comes to Christian fantasy. I appreciated LOTR, but it took me five years to read (I'm a picky reader), but I liked it for its languages and world, and theme of hope, more than the underlying Christian worldview.

I tried to read Left Behind but found it too American for my liking and ditched after the first chapter. It took a certain interpretation of Revelation (apparently, again I haven't read it, so I don't know it).

As for current Christian authors, I don't have any in particular that I like. I've heard of Jill Williamson, but have yet to read those books. I've read a couple of newer authors (J.L. Mbewe, Morgan Busse), but didn't bring myself to read their subsequent books. The writing style didn't grab me.

Christian fantasy tends to play on Christian themes that depict biblical principles. But I just haven't found a book that really meshes fantasy and Christianity that well(or Christian worldview, which really there are various worldviews within the broad spectrum of "Christian").
Title: Re: Favorite Christian Fantasy Authors
Post by: Lady Ty on March 26, 2018, 12:27:52 AM
This may be of interest for those looking for Christian Fantasy.

A review of Under the Pendulum Sun  (https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sci-fi-fantasy/under-pendulum-sun-review/) by Jeannette Ng
Quote
Under the Pendulum Sun Journeys to Fairyland and Finds It Very Strange Indeed

(https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sci-fi-fantasy/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2017/10/underthependulum.jpg)