Writing for Christianity Today, R. S. Naifeh looks at the ways in which the fantasy novels of Lois McMaster Bujold explore religious and spiritual matters.
Though not herself a Christian (Bujold describes herself as agnostic), she is rare in the field for the seriousness with which she takes religion. (About C. S. Lewis, she once quipped: “He makes Christianity look good. There are many Christians who make Christianity look bad, also.”) And while her Hugo-winning series technically features a polytheistic world, it is often fueled by questions (and answers) familiar to Christian theology. Her novels treat religious devotion sympathetically while portraying a world in which the gods are objectively knowable and invariably good. Indeed, reading her books brought me to a deeper understanding of just what it means to have “the fear of the Lord.”
I discovered Bujold a few years ago, and The Curse of Chalion is now one of my favorite fantasy novels. Its sequel — The Paladin of Souls — is quite good, as well. I haven’t read any of the Penric novels yet, but Naifeh’s article is a good reminder that I should change that.