Writing Faith-Based Science Fiction
I’d like to thank Peggy for the opportunity to talk to talk about one of my favorite topics–faith-based fiction; in this case, science fiction. My husband and I edited Infinite Space< Infinite God II, an anthology of Catholic science fiction. It's our third anthology–ISIG I is also science fiction with Catholic characters and themes, while Leaps of Faith is Christian fiction of many denominations. All have three things in common, though: great science fiction, accurate and positive portrayal of faith, and a cooperation (or at least peaceful coexistence) between faith and science. Rob and I believe that these are the three most important elements in a successful faith-based science fiction story.
First, if you don't tell a good story, then don't bother writing fiction. Fiction can have messages, but fiction should be about the story, not about delivering a message, no matter how important the message is. This is especially true in faith-based fiction because people are very sensitive to being preached at when they want a story. Here are three indicators that you're preaching and not storytelling:
–You monologue to your reader; ie, you spend more time explaining why your character is doing something than you spend having your character doing it. This can also be thinly disguised as interior dialogue.
–Your characters are too good or evil, or are puppets for the cause of your theme.
–Events are manipulated or characters make mistakes that are out of character for them for the sole purpose of putting them in a situation where they can expound (or even demonstrate) your message.
Second, if you're using a real religion, make sure you not only understand its practices and principles, but you also know how and when they apply. For example, devout Muslims pray seven times a day–but they don't interrupt a business meeting or stop fighting a battle so they can kneel down. Not all Jehovah Witnesses feel compelled to knock on doors or sell the Watchtower, nor do all Baptist ministers shout dramatically from the pulpit. The best way to check this is to run your story by someone who practices that religion (If it's your faith, someone who has a different mindset that you is a good choice.)
For example, for my ISIG II story, "Antivenin," I ran my Pentacostal snake handler past a friend whose mother was a minister, and I did some research. Turned out, my snake handler was not following the letter or spirit of the practice. I made a couple of changes to make that clearer, and it actually helped the story because it gave him a better motive for being where he was–out in the fringes of space with a shipload of venomous snakes.
The last requirement–positive portrayal of science and faith not at odds with each other–seems a no-brainer. Faith, we believe, is part of what makes us human–our spiritual side yearning for a relationship with something beyond the material–God. However, God gave us minds and a wonderful universe that runs on a very rigorous set of rules–why shouldn't we put our minds to learning about it? Just as we are creatures of spirit and matter, we have ways to experience both spirit and matter–faith, and science. You may have individual characters or perhaps institutions that don't hold this belief, but if your whole story is religion vs. science, I'd reconsider if you're really writing faith-based science fiction.
Faith-based science fiction is a fun genre to write in because it lets you explore the whole of a person–body, mind and soul–in a way that most stories shy away from. If you're wondering how to do that, please take a look at Infinite Space, Infinite God I and II or Leaps of Faith. These authors got it right. I also suggest joining the Lost Genre Guild, where you'll meet plenty of faith-filled speculative fiction writers.
Here's where to purchase Karina's new book:
From Barnes and Noble: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/books/product.aspx?box=1606192310&pos=-1&ISBN=1606192310
From Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1606192310?tag=virtuabooktou-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=1606192310&adid=0NE55AA7QR7XAB89EQ4C&
And here’s where to find Karina on the rest of her blog tour:
18-Nov http://www.fabianspace.blogspot.com/ Tour schedule, info
20-Nov http://www.margaretfieland.com/ Writing Faith-Filled Fiction
21-Nov http://caroleannmoleti.blogspot.com Interview
22-Nov http://janverhoeff.com/blog/ Interview
23-Nov http://tributebooks.blogspot.com/ Review
23-Nov http://afortnightofmustard.blogspot.com/ Interview
24-Nov http://www.fictionalworlds.net Interview
25-Nov http://literary-equine.livejournal.com/ Interview
26-Nov http://frederation.wordpress.com/ Interview
29-Nov http://www.thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com/ Interview
29-Nov http:// www.fabianspace.blogspot.com/ About Karina’s stories
30-Nov http://snoringscholar.com/ Karina Talks about the stories
1-Dec http://spiritualwomanthoughts.blogspot.com Interview
2-Dec http://writersandauthors.blogspot.com Interview
2-Dec http:// www.fabianspace.blogspot.com/ About Contributors’ stories
3-Dec http://catholiconceagain.blogspot.com/ What is Catholic Fiction?
3-Dec http://timewithtannia.tripod.com/ Interview
4-Dec http://www.scificatholic.com/ Interview
5-Dec http://joyce-anthony.blogspot.com/ Interview with Contributors
6-Dec http://blog.frankcreed.com/ Information
6-Dec http:// www.fabianspace.blogspot.com/ Reviews