This week, Fantastical Truth podcast cohost Zackary Russell pulls a double shift. Today we share episode 50 of that podcast, exploring fiction’s chief end. Then tomorrow, Feb. 3, brings Zackary’s first Lorehaven article, which shows how story villains serve as hidden vessels of God’s grace.
Zackary Russell is a Fightin’ Texas Aggie and proud member of Generation X-Wing. After conquering the Oregon Trail, he traveled to Hyrule and the Island of Myst. His heart for the nations led him into a ministry for international students, where he works as a videographer. He writes science fiction, and is the producer and co-host of the Fantastical Truth podcast. He lives in Texas with his wife and four children. His digital home base is ZackaryRussell.com, where he shares a free flash-fiction piece entitled “Luminous Matter,” first published by Havok. Follow him on Twitter: @ZTRussell.
1. Zack, how did you first discover biblical faith and fantastic stories?
I’m thankful for growing up in a family that regularly went to church. But up until high school, I didn’t know the Lord. My religion was Star Wars, which I fell in love with as far back as I can remember anything. My room was full of action figures and lightsabers. Perhaps being enamored with “a galaxy far, far away” stirred a longing within me for “a better place—a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:16). At age 16, I attended a Young Life camp and understood the gospel for the first time. It fulfilled the desires I had for transcendent love and a force greater than anything in the universe.
2. What stories are you enjoying presently, nonfiction and fiction?
This year I’ll be turning to classic works of sci-fi and Christian speculative fiction that I heard about when I was younger but never dove into: Dune and This Present Darkness. For non-fiction, I’ll be reading Irreversible Damage by Abigail Shrier, and Beyond Racial Gridlock by George Yancey. I’m also looking forward to the release of Leviathan Falls, the ninth and final book of The Expanse series.
3. What are your fantastic goals for the future?
I have a lot fun ideas planned for Lorehaven articles and Fantastical Truth episodes. After I finish revisions, I’ll be pitching my YA sci-fi drama to agents and publishers, and starting on the second book in the series. I’ve also got a sci-fi thriller short story in development.
Look for Zackary Russell’s first article, “How God Uses Story Villains for Our Good,” this Wednesday, Feb. 3 at Lorehaven.com.