Fearless – Why Do We Need Heroes?


And are there any heroes for us today?

Today we start another CSFF blog tour featuring the novel Fearless by Robin Parrish.

This book was just featured through the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, which is where my review of Fearless can be found. Something to add would be that this book is hard to categorize as just science fiction or fantasy. It has both elements involved through the story. It should appeal to any fan of speculative fiction in general (Dekker, Peretti, John C. Wright).

Robin’s web site and blog are recommended stops for this tour. He just posted an original graphic novel presentation of a story from the Dominion Trilogy set between books 1 (Relentless) and 2.

Since I’ve posted a review already, I thought about what I could add to this tour. My mind came back continually to the thoughts of heroes. Fearless tracks Grant Borrows and his fellow Ringwearers as they deal with the amazing powers they had developed out of the events of Relentless. Grant especially desires to use his phenomenal powers for good, as his abilities were conceived as a force of evil (or so it seems). A major conflict in the book is Grant dealing with his destiny: can he make good with the gifts he’s been given, or is his destiny foretold and pre-ordained, out of his control?

Why do we have an innate attraction to the ideas of heroes? We ask people who their heroes are. Kids and adults both delight at the stories of superheroes, people with extraordinary powers who seem to save the world again and again. We always like it when a regular person makes good: the local hero who saves someone. Every story needs a hero, doesn’t it?

Our collective imagination seems drawn to the idea of people who have a greater power or call. A look at the top box office of all time for the US and worldwide shows the list dominated by familiar names: Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Spiderman, Jack Sparrow. All of these stories feature larger than life figures who overcome overwhelming odds to triumph.

I’ve always day-dreamed of some cataclysm happening in my regular life, only to find that I could fly, had super something-or-other in order to save those in peril. It’s in the fabric of who I am. I grew up on Star Wars and Super Friends, and this summer I couldn’t wait until the latest Spiderman movie came out. Recently I’ve gotten back into enjoying comic books, which shows different aspects of heroes from when I was growing up. Nowadays these heroes struggle against inner darkness or temptation and deal with more real life scenarios over the classic comics when Superman never doubted what was right and was always there to save Lois Lane.

I know that some people prefer down to earth heroes in their entertainment – the cop, the spunky Nancy Drew type, people who don’t have a special ability. Others may even prefer the “anti-hero”, the character that may otherwise be very unlikable in a story, but is portrayed from a sympathetic viewpoint. However, in general we are drawn to those who are greater than us in both their abilities and trials. I could go on, reaching back to mythology and stories of Hercules, Achilles, and so on, but I think this point is coming across.

Having made the argument that this desire is there, now we may ask “Why is it there?”

Could it be, perhaps, that it speaks to who we are? Does it draw from our deepest heart and unconscious needs?

I would argue that heroes are so compelling because we need a hero. We realize, whether directly or subconsciously, that we cannot overcome all that we encounter on our own. Try as we might, we are not able to complete our own salvation. We may fight valiantly, but our struggle is ultimately doomed against the supreme villain.

In the end, this attraction to heroes points us to the one who fought evil without ever turning to temptation. He went toe-to-toe with our greatest foe on our behalf. He sacrificed himself in defending truth, justice, and mercy. And when all seemed lost, he rose in even greater power and strength for the ultimate victory.

Jesus is my hero.

Fearless may not be an overtly Christian novel. This is fine with me, as I don’t require every story to have an overt religious element in order to be a good story. I think Robin taps into this intrinsic need for a hero with his story. I am eagerly anticipating the third book Merciless (seriously Robin – you need a proofreader, I’m all over it…) and I wonder what the ending will hold. I can’t allegorize what he’s written, partly because that’s not his intention, and I don’t know how the story will work out. It still speaks of this great human conflict, the desire to rise up over the insurmountable odds. The heart of the gospel speaks to this, and that’s what makes heroes a powerful story element, especially to a Christian writer.

Check out my fellow tourmates for other features of Fearless:

Trish Anderson
Brandon Barr
Wayne Thomas Batson
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Grace Bridges
Amy Browning
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Frank Creed
Lisa Cromwell
CSFF Blog Tour
Gene Curtis
D. G. D. Davidson
Merrie Destefano
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Beth Goddard
Marcus Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Russell Griffith
Jill Hart
Katie Hart
Sherrie Hibbs
Christopher Hopper
Karen
Dawn King
Tina Kulesa
Lost Genre Guild
Rachel Marks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen
John W. Otte
John Ottinger
Lyn Perry
Rachelle
Cheryl Russel
Hanna Sandvig
Chawna Schroeder
Mirtika Schultz
James Somers
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespac
Daniel I. Weaver

Fearless – Why Do We Need Heroes?


And are there any heroes for us today?

Today we start another CSFF blog tour featuring the novel Fearless by Robin Parrish.

This book was just featured through the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, which is where my review of Fearless can be found. Something to add would be that this book is hard to categorize as just science fiction or fantasy. It has both elements involved through the story. It should appeal to any fan of speculative fiction in general (Dekker, Peretti, John C. Wright).

Robin’s web site and blog are recommended stops for this tour. He just posted an original graphic novel presentation of a story from the Dominion Trilogy set between books 1 (Relentless) and 2.

Since I’ve posted a review already, I thought about what I could add to this tour. My mind came back continually to the thoughts of heroes. Fearless tracks Grant Borrows and his fellow Ringwearers as they deal with the amazing powers they had developed out of the events of Relentless. Grant especially desires to use his phenomenal powers for good, as his abilities were conceived as a force of evil (or so it seems). A major conflict in the book is Grant dealing with his destiny: can he make good with the gifts he’s been given, or is his destiny foretold and pre-ordained, out of his control?

Why do we have an innate attraction to the ideas of heroes? We ask people who their heroes are. Kids and adults both delight at the stories of superheroes, people with extraordinary powers who seem to save the world again and again. We always like it when a regular person makes good: the local hero who saves someone. Every story needs a hero, doesn’t it?

Our collective imagination seems drawn to the idea of people who have a greater power or call. A look at the top box office of all time for the US and worldwide shows the list dominated by familiar names: Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Spiderman, Jack Sparrow. All of these stories feature larger than life figures who overcome overwhelming odds to triumph.

I’ve always day-dreamed of some cataclysm happening in my regular life, only to find that I could fly, had super something-or-other in order to save those in peril. It’s in the fabric of who I am. I grew up on Star Wars and Super Friends, and this summer I couldn’t wait until the latest Spiderman movie came out. Recently I’ve gotten back into enjoying comic books, which shows different aspects of heroes from when I was growing up. Nowadays these heroes struggle against inner darkness or temptation and deal with more real life scenarios over the classic comics when Superman never doubted what was right and was always there to save Lois Lane.

I know that some people prefer down to earth heroes in their entertainment – the cop, the spunky Nancy Drew type, people who don’t have a special ability. Others may even prefer the “anti-hero”, the character that may otherwise be very unlikable in a story, but is portrayed from a sympathetic viewpoint. However, in general we are drawn to those who are greater than us in both their abilities and trials. I could go on, reaching back to mythology and stories of Hercules, Achilles, and so on, but I think this point is coming across.

Having made the argument that this desire is there, now we may ask “Why is it there?”

Could it be, perhaps, that it speaks to who we are? Does it draw from our deepest heart and unconscious needs?

I would argue that heroes are so compelling because we need a hero. We realize, whether directly or subconsciously, that we cannot overcome all that we encounter on our own. Try as we might, we are not able to complete our own salvation. We may fight valiantly, but our struggle is ultimately doomed against the supreme villain.

In the end, this attraction to heroes points us to the one who fought evil without ever turning to temptation. He went toe-to-toe with our greatest foe on our behalf. He sacrificed himself in defending truth, justice, and mercy. And when all seemed lost, he rose in even greater power and strength for the ultimate victory.

Jesus is my hero.

Fearless may not be an overtly Christian novel. This is fine with me, as I don’t require every story to have an overt religious element in order to be a good story. I think Robin taps into this intrinsic need for a hero with his story. I am eagerly anticipating the third book Merciless (seriously Robin – you need a proofreader, I’m all over it…) and I wonder what the ending will hold. I can’t allegorize what he’s written, partly because that’s not his intention, and I don’t know how the story will work out. It still speaks of this great human conflict, the desire to rise up over the insurmountable odds. The heart of the gospel speaks to this, and that’s what makes heroes a powerful story element, especially to a Christian writer.

Check out my fellow tourmates for other features of Fearless:

Trish Anderson
Brandon Barr
Wayne Thomas Batson
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Grace Bridges
Amy Browning
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Frank Creed
Lisa Cromwell
CSFF Blog Tour
Gene Curtis
D. G. D. Davidson
Merrie Destefano
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Beth Goddard
Marcus Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Russell Griffith
Jill Hart
Katie Hart
Sherrie Hibbs
Christopher Hopper
Karen
Dawn King
Tina Kulesa
Lost Genre Guild
Rachel Marks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen
John W. Otte
John Ottinger
Lyn Perry
Rachelle
Cheryl Russel
Hanna Sandvig
Chawna Schroeder
Mirtika Schultz
James Somers
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespac
Daniel I. Weaver

Interview – Chris Well and “Tribulation House”

This week’s CFBA tour is for Tribulation House by the talented Chris Well. I’ve known about Chris before his first novel, Tribulation House later this week, as well as continuing my discussion about the Christian Marketplace.

1. You write “laugh-out loud crime thrillers” with gangsters and some rougher elements. How do you deal with the CBA market informal guidelines and realistically portraying these characters? Any problems with dealing with the issue of hardened criminals and the use of cursing?

Frankly, I don’t *want* to write novels that are vulgar: There is enough ugliness in the world without my *adding* to it. Yes, my stories do involve a lot of broken people making a lot of bad choices (and doing a lot of bad things), but a creative writer should be able to leave something to the imagination of the reader.

2. TH is your 3rd book. Was it harder to write your first novel, or iskeeping up with deadlines with your full-time work more challenging?

Each novel is a new journey of discovery for me — so while some elements of the process are getting easier, each time out I am still trying to stretch for something new. If I’m not flying without a net, I am certainly playing close to the edge of the net. As such, I hope each novel is a better read — and I hope I never become so complacent that I stop pushing to that “next place.” And, yes, it is tough doing all this with a day job. But I like what I do, so that is not going to change anytime soon. (Plug: Sign up at http://www.myccm.org!/)

3. What process do you use to keep a handle on your characters and their always interesting quirks?

With these Harvest House books, I got locked into an “ensemble” format, the hardest part of which is coordinating all the different crazy people doing all the separate stories (that still have to criss-cross throughout the novel).

So … it usually means I have to stop every 1/3 of the way or so and re-read everything before I go on. And do a lot of revising as I go. And then eventually make some sort of chart or graph or timeline, and then I write all these bullet points down on index cards …

Let’s just say that at some crucial juncture with all three –FORGIVING SOLOMON LONG, DELIVER US FROM EVELYN, and TRIBULATION HOUSE– there was finally a point where I literally sat down with scissors and a printout and cut up all the different scenes and made everything fit in the right order. So I think you can understand why the projects I’m working on right now are limited to the single-person perspective. (And they are going WAY faster!)

4. What is your favorite comic book story arc? What is Charlie’s?

Wow. Um, off the top of my head: “Unthinkable,” FANTASTIC FOUR Vol. 3, #67-71 (2003), by Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo. Plus KINGDOM COME, ASTONISHING X-MEN, WATCHMEN, COMMON GROUNDS, THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, BATMAN: STRANGE APPARITIONS, X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST …

I like a lot of comics. (And so does Charlie.)

Interview – Chris Well and “Tribulation House”

This week’s CFBA tour is for Tribulation House by the talented Chris Well. I’ve known about Chris before his first novel, Tribulation House later this week, as well as continuing my discussion about the Christian Marketplace.

1. You write “laugh-out loud crime thrillers” with gangsters and some rougher elements. How do you deal with the CBA market informal guidelines and realistically portraying these characters? Any problems with dealing with the issue of hardened criminals and the use of cursing?

Frankly, I don’t *want* to write novels that are vulgar: There is enough ugliness in the world without my *adding* to it. Yes, my stories do involve a lot of broken people making a lot of bad choices (and doing a lot of bad things), but a creative writer should be able to leave something to the imagination of the reader.

2. TH is your 3rd book. Was it harder to write your first novel, or iskeeping up with deadlines with your full-time work more challenging?

Each novel is a new journey of discovery for me — so while some elements of the process are getting easier, each time out I am still trying to stretch for something new. If I’m not flying without a net, I am certainly playing close to the edge of the net. As such, I hope each novel is a better read — and I hope I never become so complacent that I stop pushing to that “next place.” And, yes, it is tough doing all this with a day job. But I like what I do, so that is not going to change anytime soon. (Plug: Sign up at http://www.myccm.org!/)

3. What process do you use to keep a handle on your characters and their always interesting quirks?

With these Harvest House books, I got locked into an “ensemble” format, the hardest part of which is coordinating all the different crazy people doing all the separate stories (that still have to criss-cross throughout the novel).

So … it usually means I have to stop every 1/3 of the way or so and re-read everything before I go on. And do a lot of revising as I go. And then eventually make some sort of chart or graph or timeline, and then I write all these bullet points down on index cards …

Let’s just say that at some crucial juncture with all three –FORGIVING SOLOMON LONG, DELIVER US FROM EVELYN, and TRIBULATION HOUSE– there was finally a point where I literally sat down with scissors and a printout and cut up all the different scenes and made everything fit in the right order. So I think you can understand why the projects I’m working on right now are limited to the single-person perspective. (And they are going WAY faster!)

4. What is your favorite comic book story arc? What is Charlie’s?

Wow. Um, off the top of my head: “Unthinkable,” FANTASTIC FOUR Vol. 3, #67-71 (2003), by Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo. Plus KINGDOM COME, ASTONISHING X-MEN, WATCHMEN, COMMON GROUNDS, THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, BATMAN: STRANGE APPARITIONS, X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST …

I like a lot of comics. (And so does Charlie.)