Tabitha Caplinger

Eden Sword | Tabitha CaplingerTabitha Caplinger

Tabitha Caplinger is a friend I’ve never met in person. We used to be fellow authors in the Booktrope Vox Dei stable. Blue Ink Press picked up Tabitha’s books after the demise of Booktrope and since then she knocked it out of the park with Armor Bearer. I read the first two volumes of The Chronicle of the ThreeBloodline and Armor Bearerand have been waiting not-so-patiently for the third book.

If you haven’t read the first two books yet, I highly recommend you get them and read them. She is a strong writer who communicates a solid Christian theme in her books. To be honest, I decided to read Bloodline, at first, because I wanted to see what writing from a female perspective looked like. I got sucked in and devoured Armor Bearer, as well. Here’s the blurbs for the books:

Bloodline

Zoe thought the loss of her parents would be the most difficult thing she’d ever have to endure. When she began seeing things she couldn’t explain in her new home of Torchcreek, Virginia, she was sure the grief was driving her mad. Instead Zoe discovers she is part of an ancient bloodline, one destined to defeat the powers of darkness from condemning the world. But Zoe, the daughter of the three, isn’t just another descendant, but the key to humanity’s salvation.

In this first installment of the paranormal fantasy trilogy The Chronicle of the Three, Zoe Andrews learns that not all shadows are harmless interceptions of light. Some are a more sinister darkness that wants to torment the soul.

Armor Bearer

Darkness creeps around every corner as demons gather in the small town of Torch Creek, Virginia. The Destroyer has arrived, and the Reaping is coming closer by the day. Zoe knows it’s her duty as the Daughter of the Three to hold back the shadows, but she doesn’t know how, and time is running out. Zoe and her friends turn to the ancient text of the chronicle for help. Are they strong enough to withstand an enemy who exploits their deepest fears and doubts? Will they find the answers they’re looking for before all of Hell is unleashed?

Zoe’s journey as the prophecy’s promised Daughter continues in this second installment of the fantasy trilogy, The Chronicle of the Three.

Eden Sword cover | Tabitha CaplingerEden Sword

The final showdown is fast approaching, and a grief-stricken Zoe is forced to count the cost of her destiny. As the losses mount, her strength wanes.

Even if the Chosen find the Eden Sword in time, will Zoe be strong enough to wield it? Will she be able to stand against the darkness as the promised Daughter of the ancient prophecy? Or will she be consumed by the fear of her nightmares becoming real?

Fear or faith? Even the Chosen must choose. In this final installment of The Chronicle of the Three, light and darkness collide as Zoe discovers there is more than one battlefield in this war.

The third book, The Chronicle of the Three: Eden Sword, is coming soon and now you see what the cover looks like and know the title. Be ready to get it when it comes out.

For more information about the trilogy and Tabitha Caplinger, check out her web site: tabithacaplinger.com

You can also follow her on Twitter at @Tab_Caplinger, on Facebook at facebook.com/tabcaplinger, or Instagram at @tab_caplinger.

Can Christian SF&F be Good?

Can Christian SF&F be Good?

Well, can it?

Can Christian SF&F be Good? | Guy L. PaceI struggled with this for a long time. I tried to read some Christian science fiction and fantasy, and fiction, and some of it was … well … not so good. So, if you have an opinion that it isn’t good, you may have found some of the same work I did.

That is the reason I wrote Sudden Mission and Nasty Leftovers. I wrote something I wanted to read. Something different, fresh, exciting. As a result I also met a few other authors who are writing Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy (SF&F). And, what they write is good! Here are some of my favorites:

Tabitha Caplinger

Joshua McHenry Miller

Nadine Brandes

What sets these (and–I hope–my own work) apart from the rest? Story, mostly, and character. Christian fiction, including SF&F, shouldn’t vary that much from mainstream fiction at all. The only thing that should differentiate Christian fiction from mainstream is the characters. The characters, or the main character, is Christian and the story should center on that character’s struggle with faith. But, that isn’t all the story should address. The real world throws all kinds of situations, problems, and hassles at people. It doesn’t matter if they are Christian or otherwise. The whole point of the Christian part of science fiction and fantasy is how the characters deal with the same situations, problems, and hassles as their mainstream counterparts.

Challenges

In Sudden Mission, the main character (Paul) gets a mission to correct reality. This is a straight up “hero’s journey” with Paul as the reluctant hero–right out of Joseph Campbell’s concept. The mission challenges his faith and his willingness to obey God. As a friend recently said about the book: “You throw everything but the kitchen sink at him. And then you add the kitchen sink.” But, that’s what good stories do. Characters  must work toward a goal in spite of their flaws or limitations, and meet challenges for which they are not prepared. None of this is the sole domain of mainstream fiction or SF&F, and I know of no rule that says Christian fiction can’t go there.

Tabitha Caplinger’s The Chronicle of the Three series (the first two are out and available) throws her main characters–Christians who have varying levels of faith–to the wolves, er, demons. Each character has their faith, or lack thereof, challenged as they face the situations Tabitha so creatively pushes them into.

Nadine Brandes’ Out of Time series follows Parvin through both the life and death struggle to survive in a malevolent future dystopia, and her journey to understanding of Christian principles to help guide her life. Parvin faces characters who at first seem to be friends, but turn out otherwise, and makes mistakes that cost her much (I’m not going to spoil anything here).

Neither of these, or my books, hammer Holy Bible passages at the reader. That’s not what makes them Christian young adult or teen SF&F.

Joshua Miller’s book Tyrants and Traitors is a little different. The setting is ancient Israel. It is a retelling of the story of Saul and David (using different names) based on the Old Testament scripture in Samuel I and II. While this isn’t directly Christian, it is about faith, learning about God, and learning to serve God. The bonus in this one is Joshua gets you into the ancient culture, politics, and history, and it feels like you’re right in there. I understand more is coming. Soon, I hope.

Too Much

Some young adult or teen fiction you see in Christian book stores is a bit too sweet, not pushing the boundaries, no action, no adventure, and ends up with too much preaching. Some seem to have a Holy Bible verse on every page, or read like a long devotional. Teens and young adults want adventure, action, a little romance, and sometimes some scary, dangerous events.

Like the teens and young adults we write the stories and books for, the characters should have to deal with real issues from problems at school, problems with parents, bullies, growing up issues, sex and romance. If you don’t address these issues in Christian young adult and teen fiction and SF&F, those teens and young adults are going to read stories about those issues in other genres.

Granted, we, as Christian young adult/teen authors, use Bible references where appropriate. Of course we have to put a disclaimer in the front matter to provide attribution for the version and edition.

So, to answer the question: Yes. Christian SF&F can be good. Not just good, but great.

Keep writing.