Saturday, June 11, 2011
Guest post by Joseph Vasicek
I think it goes a lot deeper than that, though. You don't have to include explicitly Mormon themes to have a unique perspective; if you're living close enough to your beliefs, I believe it will come out naturally. I see this in works by such authors as Dan Wells, Dave Wolverton, Orson Scott Card, Stephanie Meyer, and Brandon Sanderson; even though their fiction might not refer to explicitly Mormon concepts or ideas, their spiritual sensibilities certainly inform how they address universal issues such as the problem of evil, the meaning of free agency, the importance of love and the power of redemption.
Science fiction in particular is one of the best genres for addressing issues related to faith. Even more than mainstream fiction, sf probes for meaning and depth, exploring new worlds of possibility while at the same time relating everything back to the human condition and our place in this boundless universe. Because of this, it's no wonder that so many works of science fiction refer to religious ideas or include religiously motivated characters--sometimes to promote an anti-religious bias or agenda, but more often than not to provide an extra layer of depth and meaning.
I wrote an article on the origins of the science fiction and fantasy community at BYU last year for Mormon Artist magazine, in which I was fortunate enough to interview several influential Mormon writers. From that experience, I realized that there's an urgent need for more LDS voices in sf&f--that we have so much of value to offer the community.
Certainly, we shouldn't be preachy or overzealous about it, since all that does is drive people away. But the more we write, and the more we write honestly, the more we enrich the genre and thus enrich other people's lives.
When I wrote Genesis Earth, I didn't set out to write about faith or sprituality. I did want to write about the human condition; to question whether we're all just automatons moving about in a predictable universe, or whether we're infinitely creative free agents in a universe of boundless wonders.
No matter what you believe, I think it's important to write honestly, especially when writing science fiction. If you do, your beliefs and values will inevitably come out in your voice, often in ways you would least expect. That's the way to be unique, and the best way to "let your light so shine."