All podcast sponsorsPrevious sponsors Subscribe linksSponsor the show

89. What Are the Most Dangerous Dragons Infesting YA Fantasy? | with James R. Hannibal and Marian Jacobs

Three storytellers wield faith over fear to battle YA fantasy fiends, in this special encore feature of a Realm Makers livestream event.
Fantastical Truth on Nov 30, 2021 · 2 comments

Tales for teens-and-older show us fabulous worlds and fantastic heroes. Yet people can twist these powerful gifts to serve insidious evils. In this episode we replay a livestream from the RealmSphere, featuring Lorehaven’s E. Stephen Burnett, James R. Hannibal, and Marian Jacobs, wielding faith over fear to battle fiends.

Subscribe to Lorehaven


Episode sponsors

Introducing the RealmSphere

The mission of Realm Makers is to support writers and artists who create science fiction and fantasy in their journeys from idea to marketplace. Whether participating artists wish to gear their content for inspirational or mainstream audiences, Realm Makers seeks to encourage them from a faith-friendly perspective.

Realm Makers also exists to connect science fiction and fantasy fans with amazing content by Christian creatives. We do this through programming on our livestream channel and most importantly through the Realm Makers Bookstore which carries books by our award winning authors to conventions, book festivals, and special events across the country.

Beware the Most Dangerous Dragons Infesting YA Fantasy

Com station

Brielle Andela on Twitter wrote about episode 88:

This was very much the kind of discussion I’ve been wanting to listen to. There’s a weird tension when interacting with the ‘negative world’, because they’re also so many complex individuals with varied problems with Christianity.

there’s not so much a complete antipathy towards Christianity among people I interact with as there’s a hurt at the fact that the church says what they’re doing is wrong. There’s a fear of being hurt by other’s opinions.

It’s very hard to know what to say, because I don’t want to upset people, not too much. It’s hard to talk when people will shut me out the moment I say what I truly think about some issues. Maybe that’s where stories come in.

You talked about apologetics on the show. That’s one thing I’m very grounded in. I don’t know what to do with it in a hostile world, except maybe appeal to the fact that I believe partly because I’ve been so utterly convinced that to walk away would be a lie.

I don’t think I’m delusional in what I believe. I didn’t pick it to be mean. I’m just completely convinced that God is real and good and I can’t just ignore what he says.

Next on Fantastical Truth

We’ve hinted at it. You’ve asked about it. Now we’re finally doing that Harry Potter episode, a first one anyway, timed very closely with the 20-year anniversary of the first film’s release, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s—excuse me—The Philosopher’s Stone. Another fan of the Potterverse will join us to explore the Wizarding World decades after its creative conjuring: the pros, the cons, and of course a little bit about that controversial magic.

Fantastical Truth
Fantastical Truth

Lorehaven explores fantastical stories for God's glory: fantasy, sci-fi, and beyond.

Share your thoughts with Fantastical Truth!

    Okay to quote from your comment in a future episode?


    In the Fantastical Truth podcast from Lorehaven, hosts E. Stephen Burnett and Zackary Russell explore fantastical stories for God's glory and apply their wonders to the real world Jesus calls us to serve.
    1. notleia says:

      Guess what, notleia’s gonna push back, but nobody should be surprised about that at this point.

      Ah, Brielle Andela, but you’re choosing that with your eyes open, yanno? People don’t like the sort of people who think the LGBTQ alphabet should go back to being miserable and invisible just to keep the cishets unruffled.

      If you define Christianity as being necessarily anti-queer, if you’re gonna die on that hill, at least you’re dead.

      As for the softcore comments, y’all are back in the same old pitfall of treating sex like radioactive waste, which helps nothing and is proven to makes things worse. I am resisting the urge to beat my head against a solid object. Is our Christians learning? Apparently not. “Just leave it to the parents” doesn’t work. Abstinence-only doesn’t work. But they — and y’all — are doubling down on this crap because Lord forbid the heathens be right about a thing, amirite?

      Y’all don’t even go to the effort to define and separate the category of “pr0n” from the category of “sex-educative material that is appropriate to da youffs.” You do not give any indication that you think the latter exists in the first place. You make sounds about not leaving sheltered kids unprepared for the outside world, but you’re not actually offering anything to equip them with.

      And take your slippery slope fallacy in spurious dress blues and stuff it, James R Hannibal, but especially the spurious dress blues. I hope you find a schtick less tedious than mining clout with butterbar vibes.

      If you think kissing is too spicy for teenagers, you are part of the problem and you should sit down and shut up. Avoiding the tingle feelings doesn’t teach them how to deal with them because avoidance doesn’t teach anything. The heathens have been telling you this, but again, Lord forbid the heathens be right about a thing. /s

      TBH, I think your “sexualityism” troll pretense is just your mental workaround to keep from having to admit the heathens could possibly be right about something and engage with their ideas honestly, Burnett.

    2. I’ve seen arguments on these topics from many perspectives and the whole issue is a mess. It’s very easy, and to an extent correct, to say that we should be careful with what we put in stories marketed toward children and teens. But the devil is in the details, in terms of where we draw the line and how we choose to handle and enforce things.

      A group of people can agree that some of these books go way too far and are not appropriate for teens, but they may, for example, disagree on what to do about it. Some might insist that the law should step in and put restrictions on what people can publish and for what market. Other people might say no to government intervention, and instead just say that there needs to be more awareness of what’s in these books so that people can make more informed buying decisions and discuss these issues with their children. Or, some might say that in addition to spreading awareness, we need to write more books as alternatives to what is already out there.

      Getting the government to impose more restrictions on what people can publish is generally going to be a hard no from me, especially in today’s climate. That’s something that tends to backfire spectacularly, in terms of handing the government more tools/precedent it can use to block more speech down the road. James R. Hannibal’s point about normalization of deviation applies to speech rights just as much, if not more, than it does to morality in books.

      From what was said in the podcast, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that at least most of you lean more toward the idea of spreading awareness and making alternatives rather than getting the law involved(at least when it comes to what people are allowed to publish). Still, it just goes to show that the conversation changes once we start discussing HOW to tackle an issue.

      If we want to put a strict rule or standard on these topics, that makes it harder to say because pretty much everyone is going to have different ideas of where the line should be drawn. Some people agree that graphic content shouldn’t be in teen books, but they might just mean that the book shouldn’t have graphic sex scenes. But then you might have another person that can’t even tolerate a chaste kiss in the story.

      I’m going to toss out some observations on some issues. I have a lot of problems with both sides, so a lot of these criticisms go in both directions:

      When it comes to discussions surrounding sex and sexual issues, people of all ages already get enough of that from their peers and the internet. Maybe we can say that they need to get actual guidance from a trusted adult (though teachers definitely don’t always qualify as ‘trusted adults’). But the trusted adult needs to be responsible with their guidance. Sex is NOT an evil thing, but being there to explain how it works and answer questions is WAY different than actually encouraging people to read porn and have sex(very sex positive people are less willing to admit that there could be consequences to certain things).

      A lot of teens are hormonal creatures, and they will read and hear about sex all the time, but the adults in their lives are supposed to be a tempering force that is at least willing to say ‘Hey, maybe you should think about this more before you fly headlong into it.’ Romantic and sexual relationships can be some of the most influential factors on a person’s life, so although I am against keeping teens ignorant, informing people is different than carelessly encouraging them to read extremely graphic ‘sex positive’ books. Parents probably SHOULDN’T yell at their teens if they end up reading something like that, but they shouldn’t URGE their kids to read it either.

      Two ‘dragons’ that bother me the most are A: one sided things that have little in the way of meaningful viewpoint diversity, and B: acting as if books should be a manual for how people think and live their lives.

      I don’t necessarily mind if a book takes a singular stance on an issue. That’s just the viewpoint the author is illustrating through the characters. It might be frustrating or incorrect, but it still adds to the discussion. And publishers are private businesses that should be able to publish what they want, as long as they aren’t violating copyright and whatnot. But it IS important to have a wide spectrum of viewpoints within the MARKET so those views can check and balance each other. If someone is pro abstinence when it comes to sex outside marriage, for example, it’s still very important for there to be books with dissenting opinions because they could reveal flaws in the way abstinence is taught. The reverse is also true, where people that are against abstinence could still learn from pro abstinence books. People of all sides are starting to forget that more and more now days, and it’s dangerous. A lot of people like to fill their books with straw men versions of their enemies and one of the best ways to counter that is seeing the importance of actually understanding other views. The existence of other viewpoints is not immediately threatening.

      So, when it comes to books in general, more people should be willing to push back and say ‘No, I want to hear from all perspectives, even if I disagree with them, because it is useful and interesting’. I’m not saying everyone HAS to do that, and no one is obligated to read or write particular books, but they should at least allow other people to read and reflect on other perspectives without being looked down on.

      As for Point B, people can learn a LOT from books, but that should not come in the form of expecting books to be a blueprint for what choices to make, and that is important for people to realize no matter their political or religious affiliation. Some characters can be inspirational, but seeing that as the primary purpose of a story and character is detrimental because lots of people will idealize a character and take it for granted that they are right. Expecting a book to enforce a particular viewpoint (whether Woke or not Woke) is often a symptom of people that think books can and should teach lessons only by being something to emulate. That actually makes people MORE susceptible to bad lessons in books, because it makes people more biased toward the idea of emulating in the first place. Sometimes the lessons we get from books are only in the form of seeing what other people think that way we can articulate our own positions better, and that is valuable.

      As I said before, a lot of issues going on now in the media, schools, books, etc are a complete mess, but there is some good that can result. It is, in a sense, forcing people to wake up and be parents, instead of just sitting their kids down in front of a screen or book or schoolteacher and relying on them to do so much heavy lifting when it comes to raising their children. I don’t mean that in the sense of parents becoming being paranoid and controlling. I mean that in the sense of actually being there for their kids and aware of things and doing more to mentor them and help them figure things out.

    What say you?