fantasy

Imagination and the Doorway to Reality

Writers often draw us into the worlds and characters that burst from their imaginations.  These “made-up” worlds are reason for some to shun this or that genre because they are imaginary. The truth, though, is that authors aren’t writing imaginary stories. Alister McGrath, in his biography of C.S. Lewis, explains:

Narnia is imaginative, not an imaginary, world. Lewis was quite clear that a distinction had to be drawn between those ideas. The “imaginary” is something that has been falsely imagined, having no counterpart in reality. Lewis regards such an invented reality as opening the way to delusion. The “imaginative” is something produced by the human mind as it tries to respond to something greater than itself…to “communicate more Reality to us.”

Lewis would use his imaginative world to explore serious themes like “origins of evil, nature of faith, and the human desire for God” — not unlike most writers have grand ideas of deep thoughts woven through their narrative.

Quite often their starting point to accomplish this is surprisingly very simple. Narnia started with “an image of a faun carrying an umbrella and parcels through a snowy wood.” Tolkien scrawled on a paper, “In a hole in he ground there lived a hobbit,” after the idea popped in his head and he “did not know why” it had. From these humble origins, grand tales came to life.

What lives in your imagination, ready to inspire, entertain and challenge?

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Are You Ready to Choose a Side?

The War Among the Shadows has begun. Are you ready to enter the fray? Will you stand with the Watchers against the Darkness? Six will face the creatures lost to myth and legend. Will you join them? Among the Shadows Kindle edition is now $2.99 for a limited time. Step through the veil before it’s too late!

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Find Life Before it’s Lost Forever

This extended excerpt from Among the Shadows is from a chapter that serves as an interlude in the story. In the midst of the dire situation Milena found herself in, this was an opportunity to see more into her mind and her husband’s, and explore deeper themes relevant to all of us. Enjoy…

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What is Your Choice?

So many people get lulled into a day-to-day existence of hitting their marks, getting stuff done, running place to place — to do it all again the next day.  And the next.

Every so often there are tuggings on our minds, glimpses and reminders, that we are meant for more than just staring into televisions, playing with our phones and letting society tell us who we are and what we should be.

For brief moments we realize that we are part of an epic tale.  All is not what it seems to be. A war rages in us, around us. A question demands an answer: What is your part in the story? Will you embrace it or walk away into a bottomless abyss of whatever others have decided for you?

Milena chose to step through the veil. Ethan conquered the Darkness and embraced his strength. Kane stopped fearing what he was. Duncan would find his place among those like him. Kyra made the shadows flee from her. They all stood together against the impossible.

Among the Shadows not only tells their stories, but of what simmers in us all.

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Choose Your Own Adventure

Whether print, film or television, fantasy as gone from being a fringe to mainstream genre in recent years. We’ve discussed why it has appeal and how the stories of the masters like Tolkien have such depth and staying power. But what if you could take these worlds that captivate your mind and add another dimension to them? An interactive one where you can enter for a time?

I’m not talking about joining some reenactment group (though some do) or video games (and their lack of face-to-face human interaction). Instead, there have been a number of successful attempts to lay out fantasy worlds right on your table in the form of board games. No, these aren’t the repetitive and soon worn out type of games we are all introduced to as kids.

Take Legends of Andor where you join your fellow players in Andor to stand up to the evil hordes and resolve pressing quests. Yes, I said join; this is a cooperative game. This is a whole different experience for those (nearly all of us) used to the normal competitive party games. Most find they like it, but might find it strange that everyone can lose.

In Runebound you set off on your own into Terrinoth, but instead of just reading about heroes, you can become one and face their trials and triumphs for yourself. Or maybe you want a familiar land? Then enter Middle Earth in Lord of the Rings: The Card Game. With essentially just cards, you find yourself in immersive scenarios with your allies. Soon you will want to jump back into the books, or are you already there?

While the stories that unfold cannot be as detailed as a book, they certainly have qualities of unexpectedness, interaction and variability that pull you in like a good book would. These class of games bring gaming out of the kid realm. The learning curve is a bit steeper than say Scattergories or Trivial Pursuit, and but you are rewarded with depth and the joy of engaging your mind (that’s not to mean that they are hard to learn). Apparently there is a golden age of gaming threatening to drag people from their glowing screens and replacing it with human interaction and adventure.

Battling evil, finding the hero within, exploring strange lands…it all seems much more exciting than another television show that is the same as the last twenty.

But as fantasy fans, you already knew that.

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