The genre of Christian Fantasy is a sub-genre of the fantastical form. These by definition are works “written by and/or for Christians.” The plots, and events of these works are not always overtly “religious” in their content or feel, but generally reflect a Christian world-view and the associated values. Some of the works are clear re-tellings of biblical tales, or of events of Christian experience.
Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress is an example of the latter form, in which the central character, Christian, makes an epic journey to reach the Celestial City. Along the way he encounters Giants and trial. The allegory is clear throughout.
The allegorical content, however, does not always make itself obvious within the genre. C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a good example. Generations of readers have followed the adventures of Lucy and her siblings in the Land of Narnia, without necessarily seeing that Aslan’s defeat of the witch (the embodiment of evil) as a portrayal of Christ’s victory through sacrifice. Spoiler alert! Edmund has sinned and sold out his siblings for his own gain. Because of this his life in forfeit. When the witch comes to collect her prize (his life), Aslan gives his own life for the lost. His death (including mocking by the crowd, stripping of his “clothing” (mane), and execution) parallel the events of Calvary. As does his resurrection!
Some Christian Fantasy merely takes aspects of the Christian faith and teachings and weaves it into the fantasy. In my own work, The Sisters Tales the character Breena has a prophetic gift, and in many instances shares spiritual values to her colleagues. She also manifests her gift in a way reminiscent to that of Saint Joan of Arc.
I have recently read Christian Fantasy author, Allison D. Reid’s, Journey to Aviad (Wind Rider Chronicles Book 1). This work is well written and is engaging. Reid draws the fantasy genre together with allegory and Trinitarian theology in a subtle way, and it makes for some wonderful imagery as well as helping her develop her world-building. I particularly like that her main character enters into the greater events around her by chance and circumstance. This plays out in her undertaking an uncertain journey which is a wonderful metaphor for life and the question of purpose. I truly enjoyed Journey to Aviad and I have already begun to read more of Reid’s work.
As a genre Christian Fantasy has a lot to offer. It provides some quality speculative fiction in which wholesome values are applauded, and in which gratuitous erotica is all but absent. Christians (and other people of faith) will find familiar and enriching themes, while still enjoying the action and adventure of the larger Fantasy genre.
Try giving a few “a read.”
Links to works mentioned: