1. CM Genton says:

    Thank you, AD, for this article. Yes, I draw from the deep wells of classic literature as I write my futuristic science fiction. Were there ever the good old days of literature? I doubt it. But “zero-calorie diet of postmodern writing” is well put. Everything has gone flat. Or one could say, into the void has rushed fantastical creatures, gods, and demons, like in the most ancient times.

  2. Jay DiNitto says:

    With older books you avoid a lot of the ubiquitous cinematic tropes–usually. There was less of a set formula back then for characters, so writers could afford to get away with doing things that are odd to modern sensibilities.

    One older book I’d recommend is “The Cosmic Courtship” by Julian Hawthorne, son of that one Hawthorne you’re thinking of. It’s more fantastical science-fiction than romance, and despite some violence it has an innocent quality about it that you get from turn-of-the-century writing. And yes there is a overt Christian component, though it’s not constantly expressed, in some character motivations.

  3. Andreas says:

    Good article. I feel the same way. In recent years, I’ve been going back to the classics more and more. Jane Austen and Jules Verne in particular are just fun to read. I personally found your first point particularly challenging. When I read “The Inklings” by Humphrey Carpenter a while back, all I could think to myself was, “I could never be friends with Charles Williams!” But you’re right. In such cases, it can be helpful to put aside one’s theological beliefs to discover literary treasures.

    • adsheehan says:

      As Christians, when we find Biblical truth in stories written by non-Christians, we rejoice. We use them in sermon illustrations. We make memes. But when someone claiming to be a Christian, but not seeming to be very good at it, writes a story containing Biblical truth, we shun it for its imperfections and drag the author’s character into it.

      Williams’s real life secret society membership would certainly earn him a rebuke from Christians close to him, but within the fantastical context of his novel, we’re not meant to believe the details. Only the solid meta-truths. I believe this is the lens through which we should read all fantastical Christian fiction.

What say you?