This post is a bit more ‘controversial’ than my normal ones, in that I talk about something I swore I’d never talk about… religion. I also will not talk about politics, and will never bring up th…
(Sorry! I had to post this again because reblogging it screwed up spacing in WordPress. Scoopit! is superior. Trying this again..)
What a great post from my brother-in-horror, Armand Rosamilia! It’s an important discussion for authors to have. Please read Armand’s nuanced thoughts on the subject and more great contributions in the comment thread. Here are my thoughts on the subject (also posted in Armand’s comment thread but perhaps not so great as self-indulgent):
This is timely. In a recent review, a reader said the serial’s atheism was cringeworthy. That’s interesting to me because in This Plague of Days, the husband is an atheist (with growing doubt as doom is threatened) and the wife is a die-hard believer (with growing doubt as her faith is tested.) Both character’s views are challenged. Considering that their conversations take place in the context of a massive plague, it would strike me as really weird for them *not* to discuss their beliefs and try to resolve them. Surrounded by death and destruction, issues around spirituality come up honestly. When doctors fail, the next visit is from the priest. We are all searching for meaning, through faith or reason. The debate is natural and honest.
I have no doubt that some readers will say I’m preachy when the wife has her say and a raging atheist if they focus on the husband. I’ve been a member of an evangelical church and I’m now an atheist. I try to give both sides their due. We all read through our own lens, so some atheists may think me a traitor to the cause and some believers will be sure I’m evil. I think most readers, because they are readers, are curious and can be entertained by the narrative without feeling threatened. (And if anyone really feels threatened by a work of fiction, perhaps they should spend more time evaluating or shoring up what they believe.)
I believe in readers. I think most will weather that sprinkling of a debate throughout the series. Just as sci-fi isn’t about how to build a warp engine, horror is about the people and how they face mortality.
There are millions of books to read, so readers who don’t agree have lots of other great choices. I’m sorry to see them go, but I don’t write for everybody. I write for me. The likeminded who want to board my crazy train and come along for the ride are for later.
Love this post, Armand. Reblogging!
PS I also have a couple of crime novels with titles that appear at first glimpse to mock Jesus. Most Christians who contacted me about that choice had a sense of humour about it and since those novels are (often) funny, it turned out okay. Not all atheists are open-minded and not all Christians are close-minded. It’s just that we hear a lot from a vocal minority. I don’t think writers should censor themselves for a minority who aren’t predisposed to enjoy much of anything anyway. We’re writers. We tickle brains and follow Art where it leads.
See on armandrosamilia.com