I don’t ask for much, just a well written story with characters that I can enjoy. I don’t want political statements or left wing nonsense, although, if the story is good, I will put up with it. The problem I am getting is that good science fiction, as I define it, is getting harder to find. More and more women are getting into it which is sometimes good, but sometimes brings the touchy feely of Pride and Prejudice to the space lanes. The environmentalists are still trying to set their stories in a world recovering from global warming and rising oceans. The anti-Christian crowd are continually coming up with ways to explain why evolution may not work but there is still an explanation on where life and mankind came from. Usually it is some kind of alien.
I have been trying more and more fantasy. I find it very unsatisfying. It is not because I have a knee-jerk reaction to the occult because I am a Christian. I can enjoy fantasy if it has a good plot and doesn’t try to bail out with unexpected new powers and spells. The problem is that most fantasy is just cheep shot, easy solution boilerplate. Sometimes I can overlook that. Star Wars is a good example. The special effects on the first three movies were so grabbing that I was willing to ignore the inconsistent use of the force. Really, if Darth Vader could choke someone just by making the ok sign, the rebel alliance could have been wiped out on a long week end. But it was a fun movie. I especially like the way the x-wing fighters were able to bank and roll in a vacuum. Later on they realized their mistake and worked an explanation into the books but I didn’t care. It was fun.
Some authors can construct a paradigm that is consistent and believable. They don’t pull new powers out of thin air to bail out weak plots. They have well balanced characters who relate in ways I can identify with. They don’t make up weird new words for swords and horses. They put their energy into the story.
Some people try to put the Bible in the same category as fantasy. Why do I not like fantasy but accept the Bible? Read the above. No new magic powers. No unrealistic characters. Good writing and a consistent basis. I don’t get the fantasy feel in the Bible. I get the feeling of history written by people who believe what they are writing. J.B. Philips is a man who knows his myths and legends. He has this to say:
“I have read, in Greek and Latin, scores of myths, but I did not feel the slightest flavour of myth here.” Phillips, J.B. Ring of Truth. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1967, p. 77.Notice he read them in the original languages. He has done his homework.
I will continue to read my Bible as a document given to us by God. I will re-read, study, dig and meditate. I will continue to read fantasy and science fiction, but I will put it aside when it gets too silly. I will not take it too seriously. I will keep it in its place and hope that more of its authors learn their trade well enough to entertain me.