CSFF Blog Tour – Residential Aliens, Day 2

Illustration from Fred Warren's story "Beatitude"

Science fiction seems to be in short supply if we’re talking about stories written from a Christian worldview. Fantasy isn’t plentiful either, though supernatural suspense and supernatural thriller seems to have a bit stronger representation, thanks in large part to what Realms Fiction, a division of Strang Communications, has produced.

Because of the scarcity of speculative fiction, any number of enterprising authors set out to bring to the Christian market the stories so many desired. Bill Snodgrass founded Double Edge Publishing with its accompanying ezines: Sword Review; Dragons, Knights, and Angels; Ray Gun Revival; Haruah; and eventually MindFlights. Frank Creed started the Lost Genre Guild and the Writers Cafe Press. A handful of authors launched this CSFF Blog Tour and the team blog, Speculative Faith. T.W. Ambrose initiated the zine Digital Dragon; Grace Bridges founded Splashdown Books; and Jeff Gerke established Marcher Lord Press.

Undoubtedly there are a number of other endeavors which I’m not familiar with, and sadly some are no longer in existence. However, Lyn Perry’s zine Residential Aliens which CSFF is featuring this month, is going strong. Launched on July 1, 2007, ResAliens has published speculative stories written by over thirty authors, eight of which happen to be members of CSFF.

It is my privilege to point you to those stories in the hope that you’ll take some time this week (perhaps starting now? 🙂 ) to read at least one of each of our members’ stories put out by ResAliens: Brandon Barr, Fred Warren, Grace Bridges, Jeff Chapman, Jessica Thomas, John Ottinger, Mike Lynch, R. L. Copple.

I trust you’ll also visit the other bloggers who are buzzing about ResAliens. Bruce Hennigan has an excellent introductory post. D. G. Davidson (welcome back!) gave a thumbnail review of four of the stories from the archives. Brandon Barr, Jeff Chapman, and Fred Warren all unashamedly pointed readers to their stories (that’s a good thing — if they didn’t like their stories well enough to tell people about them, what would that say? 🙄 )

Tomorrow I’ll give you my review of … well, you’ll just have to come back and see. 😉

CSFF Blog Tour – Residential Aliens, Day 1

Speculative fiction for adults may be the most under represented genre in Christian fiction.

Happily writers continue to write and those who love the genre find ways to bring stories to readers. Author, editor, and publisher (and CSFF member) Lyn Perry is one who has gone out of his way to keep speculative fiction alive. Though not exclusively for the Christian market, his ezine Residential Aliens nevertheless provides a venue for those looking in that direction. From his editor’s page:

Is this a Christian Zine?

In that I am a believer and follower of Christ, yes. The authors and audience, however, may or may not come from a position of faith. But what I think you’ll find here is a collection of quality stories with a moral or spiritual thread that appeals to the broad and varied interests of fans of speculative fiction.

Residential Aliens includes “family friendly” stories “anywhere along the speculative spectrum,” which I assume includes horror, dystopian fiction, space opera, cyberpunk, and perhaps even epic fantasy. Each free online issue, updated bi-monthly, contains five short stories.

A downloadable version is also available for the reasonable price of $2.00. This month, however, in honor of the CSFF tour, this month’s edition is free.

While ResAliens is first an ezine, it is more. Lyn calls it a micropress which releases a quarterly print magazine, themed anthologies, and in the near future, novels.

Lyn has done a good job carving a niche for ResAliens in the social media. You can find them on Facebook and Twitter. These venues seem to have replaced a the once active Forum, though this board remains “live.” The zine blog continues to offer updates for those who prefer receiving news through subscription or at that site.

Residential Aliens‘ current issue 5.5, has more in common with CSFF than this tour, but I’ll discuss that next time. For now, take time to cruise around to other tour participants and see what they are saying about Lyn Perry, his zine, and his micropress.

Discernment – The Realities


First, Lyn Perry at ResAliens Blog has started a 2 Questions feature—mini interviews—and I’m his guinea pig. 🙄 Seriously, I feel honored to lead off for Lyn.

Next, have you noticed the new rating option WordPress now includes? You can’t see it yet from the home page (they’re working to change this), but if you click on a particular article title and go to that post, you’ll see the stars (after a moment) at the bottom.

I mention this for two reasons. Some of you may wish to give feedback but simply do not have the time. This system gives you a quick way of registering your opinion.

Secondly, the more feedback I get, the more I know what topics visitors here at A Christian Worldview of Fiction would like to discuss. So please feel free to use the rating system, though I hope you will also continue to give your thought-provoking comments.

Finally, for those of you looking for the July CSFF Top Blogger Award Run-off poll, you’ll find it here.

– – –

So back to the topic of discernment. I want to address some realities, based on my observations … so you may rightly question whether or not they are “realities.” I think they are. 😉

First, discernment requires awareness. Part of the problem is that readers or TV viewers or movie goers or gamers look at entertainment as a time to put aside the serious and just have fun. Escape. Play.

Nothing wrong with a little fun, escape, or play, but there is something very dangerous about letting our spiritual guards down. Think about it for a moment. Any potential temptations for a guy going to the beach these days? Would a wise youth counselor tell the guys in his Bible study to take the day off from fighting lust and just have a fun day at the beach? 😮 Please, tell me No.

But as dangerous as lust is to a hormone-driven teen, so is false teaching to the Christian. More so, because false teaching is really about Mankind and God and eternity and salvation and revelation—stuff that will not pass away.

I’m reminded of Nehemiah and the people rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem who “took their load with one hand doing the work and the other holding a weapon” (Neh. 4:17b). That’s what you do when you’re alert to a threat.

A second reality is that discernment is work. It requires us to think about what we are seeing and reading and hearing. We need to do some evaluation, and who wants to do that when we are in relax mode?

Now I think about the parable of the five wise and five foolish maidens waiting for the bridegroom to come. The foolish ran out of oil for their lamps. The wise were prepared. Note, neither the wise nor the foolish stayed awake all night. So I’m not saying discernment means we can never relax. But we are prepared, as the five wise were, when the need arises.

Which leads to the final reality for today. Preparation comes by knowing God’s word. Without knowledge of the Truth, we have nothing to compare stories with.

The analogy of law enforcement officers assigned to catch counterfeiters is apropos. These professionals prepare by studying genuine bills to the point that the fake ones will be easily recognized.

So, for us, the real work comes in listening to the preaching of the Word of God, reading it, studying it, meditating upon it, memorizing it … until ideas that clash with it jump out at us, even when we aren’t intentionally trying to make a comparison.

Published in: on August 3, 2009 at 12:35 pm  Comments (2)  
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