Wow. We really get all kinds of amazing books at Lorehaven.
A lot of these challenge my assumptions about Christian-made fantastical novels.
For example, many of these books include concepts like talking animals (because Narnia), medieval quests (because Middle-earth), and starships.
These novels often go full-fantasy, sharing new worlds and strange creatures.
As pastor/author John Piper says, these “impossible” stories can reflect deep truth: They “liken some aspect of reality to what it is not [to] reveal more of what it is.”
Other Christian fantasy novels, however, stick much closer to home.
They don’t have kingdom maps or language glossaries.
Instead, they are set in places like small towns and childhood memories. They may deal in Americana or other real-world cultures. Their characters have modern jobs and raise families. They might even show churches or other religious elements.
Yet these stories also serve a flavor of fantasy that readers need.
Their fantastical themes are not blazing at the center, but glowing at the edges. In them, magic realism, such as supernatural events, often occurs. But people take this in stride. Or God (in the story) works miracles. Or prophecies come true.
On the surface, these stories may seem to minimize fantasy. But they actually make bold choices. They remind us that fantasy, miracles, and deep magic don’t exist only in other worlds. After all, Christians, really do believe that because of our epic God, the real world has just as much fantastical wonder as any tale of aliens or dragons.
Personally, I enjoy both kinds of stories.
If I need to remember that Jesus comes from outside our world, I prefer the “strangeness” of other-worldly fantasy.
And when I need to recall that Jesus also acts providentially in everyday life, I love fantasy that unfolds closer to home.
Christians must imagine according to both of these truths. Otherwise we might lose sight of Jesus’s nature. He is immanent, that is, eternal, from outside our world. And he is imminent, the perfect God-Man who entered our world and will return.
In that day, I’m sure we’ll see both daily providence and fantastical worlds. But for now, I’m glad that real life and our stories help serve us foretastes of both glories.