Christian + Speculative Fiction usually = a confused look from many people. Christians who like to go to conventions? Cosplay? Write fan fiction? Or, even crazier: write Speculative Fiction with undertones of redemption and hope? Well, if you’re on this blog, then you’ll realize it’s true. And this year, I’m trying out an in-person meet up with like-minded individuals.
The Realm Makers Mission
To provide a faith-friendly symposium for writers and artists, focused on science fiction, fantasy, and all their sub-genres. Whether participating artists wish to gear their content for the inspirational or mainstream marketplace, they have a place at Realm Makers.
Towards this end, I am working like a busy little worker bee on materials (in addition to school duties). Aside from my modern fairy tale series, my other focus is an urban fantasy series set in an alternate universe earth with a number of original races that have lived alongside humans since the creation of the world. There are loose fairy tale elements from Sleeping Beauty, because I just can’t seem to get away from the fairy tales, but there’s a hefty amount of thriller, action, and suspense–and a lost princess who is definitely not lying down on the job.
Besides the world building and the plot, one unique concept is the protagonists, a married Christian couple. The book picks up a few years into their marriage. After the romance and after the drama — right?
Not at all. In fact, their marriage makes the overall plot just that much more complicated.
I was inspired to go for this after realizing how many stories that include romance are all about the “meeting” and the “lead up” and the “big kiss” or the “big wedding.” As if that’s the end and after that, you get a house and two kids and a dog. This goes against so many of the experiences I’ve seen with married couples, Christian and otherwise. God tends to have far more interesting plans than you could ever imagine.
Of course, it helps that in this case, the married couple is both working for a top secret international security agency. But throughout the series, their partnership offers plenty of humor, action, and movement to the plot–and proves that beyond the kisses and romance, marriage is also a really close friendship: a man and a woman working and growing together through all kinds of struggles for the sake of bringing honor and glory to God.
Or, as the Bible says:
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiates 4:12)
That sort of partnership is something I feel is missing in speculative fiction. Often writers either ignore the idea of romantic love entirely, or else focus on the “getting there” aspect, where the hero and heroine are separated by impossible odds.
What about you, out in cyberspace? Any recommendations of awesome married couples (Christian or non-Christian) in fiction–be it TV, book, or movie–where they are both three dimensional characters rising, falling, failing, and growing together? Or even getting into trouble together?
(In January, I released a series on the origin and incarnations of Snow White. Thus, I felt reasonably compelled to view and review one of the latest offerings).
You gotta love a movie where the hero keeps losing his pants.
Such is the case for the good, if slightly arrogant Prince Alcott in Tarsem Singh’s Mirror, Mirror. The culprits? Wily forest bandits who believe in “waste not, want not.” Worry not–this is the sort of fairy tale where the characters wear enough layers of underclothing to cover an elephant.
After the brutality of last weekend’s The Hunger Games, I was all too ready to have a laugh. Mirror, Mirror definitely delivered. It’s Snow White with a Princess Bride sensibility and a light touch of Bollywood.
Julia Roberts shines as the Evil Queen who is morbidly obsessed with maintaining a youthful appearance–her dry, cutting comments add great touches of humor, and belie her inner desperation to remain beautiful. Lily Collins as Snow White at first seems to be a wilting, pasty flower next to the vibrant Roberts. However, what seems to be a bland start is actually a great foundation to show her growth into maturity and confidence. By the end, she is bold and wise enough to make a decision that turns into a great plot twist. Armie Hammer as Prince Alcott is sufficiently handsome, well-spoken, and chivalrous enough to fulfill the duties of prince. He isn’t asked to do much more than look chiseled in his under-drawers, have some decent chemistry with Snow White, and on occasion, lick someone’s hand (let’s just say love potions aren’t always reliable…).
One thing I was particularly pleased about was Snow White’s refreshing humility and limitations. While it’s popular to have revamped fairy tales feature amped-up warrior maidens, I found it refreshing to see a young woman use her wits and natural grace.
Snow White wins over the dwarfs through her domestic abilities (since she’s friends with the cooks in her castle), and by helping them reconcile with the local townspeople who cast them out for being different. Though she does win a flirtatious sword-fight with the prince, she does so through trickery, rather than besting him physically. And when Snow White must face the evil monster that took her father’s life, she uses her empathy and compassion to see past its dark exterior–and makes a surprising discovery.
It was sweet to see a heroine whose journey to self-discovery involved more than just a couple of weapons and a “get-tough” attitude. Moreover, Snow White’s beauty was a natural asset to her persuasive abilities, not the sum of them. (go here for more thoughts on holy beauty, unholy vanity)
Sufficed to say that Mirror, Mirror is a quirky, fun movie that offers a great alternative to people wanting a break from the bloodshed and heaviness of The Wrath of the Titans and The Hunger Games. However, there are a few tiny cracks in this mirror.
One minor issue is that sometimes Mirror, Mirror pushes the silliness a bit too far. There are a few throwaway gags that cater to strictly to the kiddo crowd–and fail, judging by the lack of reaction of the kids in the theater.
Another issue: one scene shows the extremes that the Evil Queen goes to keep her youth, featuring maggot therapy and other bizarre beauty treatments. It’s a quickly-cut scene that might induce some revulsion. However, that’s the point. People go to crazy extremes for beauty.
Final Recommendation: go for it! Mirror, Mirror is charming, sweet, and surprisingly clever. The perfect bright pick-me-up on a cold, grey day.
Taste of the Fantastical
So, which costume do you like the best?