A mild dissent

From the Associated Press:

A new three-part series, “Archangels: The Fall,” co-authored by Christian fantasy writer [a certain name familiar to most here], is on the stands and available in a collector’s tin. The first installment of the next trilogy, “Archangels: Legacy,” comes out next March.

“It’s definitely a ministry tool,” said “Archangels” creator and writer Patrick Scott, 36. “It’s really meant to evangelize and to plant a seed of hope in the minds of people that have no hope.”

This may surprise some of you, but I tend to disagree somewhat with the wholly evangelical focus of most of these people, including my co-author. Evangelizing is occasionally an element of my writing, but it is usually a small one even when it is there. The problem is that a focus on explicitely repeating the same message over and over renders too much similarity between what would otherwise be very divergent works of fiction, or comics, and there’s little point in reading a second novel where the protagonist, devastated by the death of his [fill in the relationship here], struggles with his faith but ultimately comes to an understanding that everything is okay because God is in control of everything.

Even if you agree wholeheartedly with that basic concept – and you know my doubts on that score – what’s the point of reading a second book following that plot, let alone a third, fourth and fifth.

Of course, one could accuse secular science fiction of much the same sin, albeit in a different direction. That being said, ARCHANGELS: THE FALL is a fairly straightforward retelling of Lucifer’s Fall, Adam’s subsequent Fall and the Crucifixion, so Patrick’s description is completely accurate.

In my own fiction, I prefer to use the Christian worldview as a starting point, not an end. To me, the point of a book is to tell an interesting and entertaining story, not change someone’s way of thinking. If I’m seeking to do that, I’ll write a column or put together a lengthy blog post. I have no problem with Christian writers who feel otherwise; it’s just my creative philosophy.

I think there was probably too much preachiness in WAR, but I’ve tried hard to get away from that in my most recent book. It’s just not necessary, being inherent in the underlying worldview, and it significantly weakens the story by throwing the reader out of it.