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Divine Realms

[Divine Realms] Divine Realms: Canadian Science Fiction & Fantasy
edited by Susan MacGregor
Ravenstone, 1998
Amazon.ca: paperback
Amazon.com: paperback
Amazon.co.uk: paperback
Recommended by: Greg Slade

I am a Christian, and a Canadian, and a science fiction fan, but I never expected to encounter a work which combined those three aspects of my life. You would think that defining a market so narrowly would be death to a book. So an anthology of science fiction and fantasy stories which ask spiritual questions, written by Canadian writers, is not exactly what I expected to find on the shelves of my local Chapters. But find it I did.

As you might expect with an anthology of stories by different writers, the results are uneven. Some of these stories are eminently forgettable, while others have images which will probably stick with me for life. One of the things which I found particularly interesting is how the stories which make the most use of explicitly Christian symbolism tend to be written by authors who describe themselves as non-religious, while the stories written by avowed Christians tend to have spiritual content which is more subtle, almost hidden. Jason Kapalka, the author of the first story, "The Power of Faith", writes in his afterword, "Yet despite all the rationalist arguments to the contrary, I find myself unable to completely dispel the notion of some 'higher power,' as do, I suppose, many self-proclaimed agnostics and atheists." (p. 14.) I have found that to be true: even the most militantly anti-Christian antagonists I have encountered simply can't help coming back and worrying the issue, like a dog gnawing on a branch too big for it to carry. Thus, this collection contains an interesting mixture of apparently explicitly Christian works written by unbelievers, and more implicit works written by believers. Altogether, it provides a number of potential places from which to begin conversations about spiritual issues.

Note: The story "Thanksgiving Day at the Temple" is by Christian Fandom member Donna Farley. You can find some of her other work through the stories page.


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