[Guest Post] God Is All Loving (Some Exemptions Apply): Religious Magic in Horror and Fantasy by Harry Connolly

[Guest Post] God Is All Loving (Some Exemptions Apply): Religious Magic in Horror and Fantasy by Harry Connolly

Every time I see a vampire recoil from a crucifix, I feel a little sour.

Here's why: Imagine you're walking home from your job on the late shift. You're tired. Your feet hurt. You just want some of the leftover lamb korma in your fridge and some shut eye. 

Then, some jerk leaps out of the shadows, overpowers you, bites your neck, and kills you. After of being dead, you wake up in a grave, dig your way free, and search for blood to drink. No more lamb korma for you.

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a guest post over at a bitter draft

This week, I'm hanging out over at Patrick Doherty's blog, A Bitter Draft, with a guest post that contains some of my random thoughts on religion in fantasy. I talk about religion, fanatics, and societies, oh ... my! Check it out.

I'll be back next week to tell you about the movie Solomon Kane and why I enjoyed it, but for now ... go say hi to Patrick and tell him that I sent you.

When I talk about religion

I am working on a much longer blog post about writing for publication later this week; however, last week, I sent out a tweet that Miserere isn't about religion and my friend Glinda asked me what prompted the tweet. I wanted to answer her question but not in a flip 140 character tweet. Nothing in particular prompted the tweet--it was more like a conglomeration of issues that accumulated over a long period of time.

I think people see the word "Christian" and immediately associate the work with religion. Amazon.com helps perpetrate this fallacy by placing Miserere in the "Christian Fiction" category, which is based on computer algorithms and probably picks up the word "Christian" from the blurb.

So I thought I would clarify things for you.

When I talk about religion, it looks like this: The Book of Daniel as Apocalyptic Literature. When I talk about how religion and religious beliefs impact culture, it looks like this: Christian Dogma from the Classical Period through the Reformation: Paving the Way to Christian Apathy.

What I write for your enjoyment is fantasy, and that looks like this: Miserere: An Autumn Tale.

I'll be around later this week with a real blog post for you.

Excerpt from The Angel's Game ...

Since I have a ChiCon 7 panel on Getting it Right: Religions, I have been hyperalert for anything that discusses the origins of myths and religions. I finished Carlos Ruiz Zafón's most excellent novel, The Angel's Game, last week. In it, the protagonist David Martin is researching myths and religion. Martin has lunch with a librarian who has helped him with his research and he explains what he has discovered.

This is probably the most succinct and accurate description of what the origin of myths and religions have in common:

...beliefs arise from an event or character that may or may not be authentic and rapidly evolve into social movements that are conditioned and shaped by the political, economic, and societal circumstance of the group that accept them ...

A large part of the mythology that develops around each of these doctrines, from its liturgy to its rules and taboos, comes from the bureaucracy generated as they develop and not from the supposed supernatural act that originated them. Most of the simple, well-intentioned anecdotes are a mixture of common sense and folklore, and all the belligerent force they eventually develop comes from a subsequent interpretation of those principles, or even their distortion, at the hands of bureaucrats. The administrative and hierarchic aspects seem to be crucial in the evolution of belief systems. The truth is first revealed to all men to interpret, administer, and, if need be, alter this truth in the name of the common good. To this end they establish a powerful and potentially repressive organization. This phenomenon, which biology shows us is common to any social group, soon transforms the doctrine into a means of achieving control and political power. Divisions, wars, and breakups become inevitable. Sooner or later, the word becomes flesh and the flesh bleeds.

And let us not forget that, like the flesh, the soul bleeds too ...

Handling Religion in Novels

I'm Down Under over at Megan Burke's blog, The Literary Life. I've written a guest post about some of the tricks I employed to handle writing religion in fiction ...

Everyone thought I was crazy for wanting to use Christians [in a fantasy], I mean that automatically makes the novel Christian fiction, right?

No.

I did not intentionally set out to make Woerld a mirror of Earth; however, once I reached that point, the first thing I wanted to do was avoid stereotypes ... [read more here]

And don't forget that we are STILL taking entries of flash fiction with AWESOME prizes including the chance to win a query critique or a 25 or 50 page critique from my agent Weronika Janczuk. Now who doesn't want to wow a literary agent with your prose? Rules are here.