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November 2nd, 2014, 01:06 PM #1
- Join Date
- Nov 2014
Fantasy books with Higher Goodness/Philosophy/Faith/Spirituality as a main theme?
Hi All and thanks in advance. First post on this forum, so apologies for any blunders.
I wonder if anyone has got suggestions of some Fantasy books with some kind of Spirituality/search for goodness at the core. I guess that could mean a lot, so let me explain where I'm coming from...
For example, I just read David Gemmell's Rigante series and I liked the sort-of good power in the background holding up virtues of honour but also directing people to certain courses of action to overcome evil.
I also really like William Horwood's book, particularly the Dunction chronicles, where the Moles (sorry if you don't like animal books!) strive to follow their philosophy/faith through love, self-sacrifice, and also some good old fashioned kicking butt.
I've read some Christian stuff where, obviously, there's some kind of relationship being sort with God and higher guidance, faith. Eg. Stephen Lawhead's take on the Arthurian legends. Or CS Lewis Space trology (not Fantasy I spose),
I guess want I'm asking about reading is someone aspiring to be something better, to follow some higher goal of goodness. I'm not asking for a book about which army is going to win, or what magic is going to be stronger - as exciting as they are, that's just not what's on my mind right now.
Does that make sense to folks?
November 2nd, 2014, 01:51 PM #2
Have you tried David Zindell's EA Cycle? That kinda sounds like what you are looking for.
November 2nd, 2014, 02:17 PM #3
Theres a YA fantasy novel by Philip Pullman called The Golden Compass. It's been a while since I read it. From what I remember there are some sci-fi overtones, and the fantastical elements are based on Christian theology.
There are other really good books if you don't mind non-genre fiction. Siddhartha by Harman Hesse is a classic. It is about one of Guatam Buddha's disciples. David Mitchell writes lots of fiction with spiritual overtones. The Bone Clocks is his newest book that is very character driven. Cloud Atlas was made into a movie (I saw the movie but haven't read the book) and it's about 'going against the grain' to better the world. Both Cloud Atlas and Bone Clocks can be considered sci-fi since they have some parts that take place in the future, but it's a very soft kind of sci-fi.
If you're into literature there are many books dwelling on eastern philosophy. The Malabharata is an Indian epic (11 times as long as the Illiad and Oddysey combined!) that is about gods being reborn onto earth. The most famous section is the Bhagavad Gita, which you've most likely heard of. This literature are considered holy books, but really they are stories. I've only read the Gita, but found it fascinating. The Gita is probably one of the earliest works on psychoanalysis. I've also read the Ramayana (the translated version... I can't read Sanskrit) which is nice. It has a powerful monkey that can fly if you consider that a bonus.
November 2nd, 2014, 02:45 PM #4
November 2nd, 2014, 02:53 PM #5
This is what I got from Wikipedia:
Some critics have asserted that the trilogy and the movie portray the Church and religion negatively while others - notably Dr Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury - have argued that Pullman's works should be included in religious education courses. Peter Hitchens views the series His Dark Materials as a direct rebuttal of The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. Literary critic Alan Jacobs of Wheaton College Illinois argues that Pullman recasts the Narnia series, replacing a theist world-view with a Rousseauist one
November 2nd, 2014, 04:25 PM #6
This makes me hopeful for my trilogy project, since these exact themes are my main focus. It's also fantasy!
In light of your request, I would suggest The Mote in God's Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle. I realize it's not fantasy, but I haven't really read any fantasy other than Tolkien that even strove for something like that (not yet, anyway).
November 2nd, 2014, 06:55 PM #7
- Join Date
- Sep 2010
- Los Angeles-ish, CA
The comic series Seekers into the Mystery very much fits:
More sci-fi, and a graphic novel, but there's Moonshadow by the same author:
November 6th, 2014, 06:06 AM #8
- Join Date
- Aug 2014
Not sure if this is what you are looking for but some authors like Bakker or Scholes have philosophical themes in their books.
November 6th, 2014, 09:48 PM #9
- Join Date
- Mar 2013
Try older Fantasy
I am glad you posted this because it kind of made me reflect on the Fantasy books that I have read over the years. While i am definitely not the most well-read here on this site, I have been a fairly prolific reader in the books/series/authors that I do like. I guess what I mean is that I usually try new authors only when I am waiting for books to be released by the authors that I have previously read and liked, while some here are constantly on the lookout for new authors to try. Recently, I have rectified this a bit and been very happy with the new authors I have read.... but I digress...
When I first read your OP, I thought to myself.... there are all kinds of fantasy.... especially high fantasy.... that have the working to save the world/for the greater good style of altruistic heroes, but as I thought about it more, I realized that these types of stories are fewer and more far between in the more recent books...... at least the ones that I have read.
So I would check out some of the older series.... The older Shannara books..... Eddings has this higher good concept.... Although Salvatore gets kind of beat-up these days (80 bazzillion Drizzt books) his main character Drizzt is a figure that is continuing to rise above his heritage and is constantly striving towards bettering himself by making things better for all. He has many internal conversations regarding his progress.
One last thing.... Bakker is a really good author, but unless I am misreading your OP (wouldn't be the first time I have misread something), I don't think his second apocalypse is what you are looking for AFA you OP goes. Bard is definitely 100% correct about philosophical writing in Bakker's work, but it is more like moral conundrums and as far as I can see it, nothing to do with higher goodness or spirituality. Maybe Faith, but more in the line of perverting the faith of others in order for Kellhus to gain his objectives..... whether his objectives are good or bad is unclear to me at this time, but his methods are .... pretty evil. I think his work is important and would recommend that you try it at some point.... I just don't think it is a good fit with the criteria of your OP.
November 10th, 2014, 02:17 PM #10
- Join Date
- Aug 2009
- Middle TN
The Star Wars universe books would tend to focus on good protagonists and struggles over what is the greater good. Probably if you focus on jedi oriented books. I've read a few many moons ago and they were fun.
And its Science Fantasy so I figured it was worth a mention.
November 12th, 2014, 10:23 AM #11
Ted Dekker Circle Series
If what you're looking for is a fantasy that has prominant christian undertones, check out Ted Dekker's Circle Series. It follows the story of a man who travels between our world and a fantastical world when he sleeps in either.
November 16th, 2014, 11:48 AM #12
- Join Date
- Dec 2010
The Deed of Paksnarrion by Elizabeth Moon may be just what you are looking for - it is the tale of an ordinary warrior who finds her spirituality and grows into something more through finding/accepting her humanity. Another series that is very different but which might work for you in a different way is the Imager series by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. In the first three books of the series the philosophy/spirituality is explored through weekly attendance at spiritual meetings and discussions of what basically is the homily. Good luck finding what you are looking for
November 18th, 2014, 07:36 PM #13
Tad William's Memory Sorrow Thorn is about an entire nation that is basically a kind of "Christian" religion. There's even a Pope-like character etc...
Also I just finished CS Friedman's Magister's Triology and one of the main characters is, for all intents and purposes, a monk turned "Christian-like" king.
I'm guessing Narnia had been mentioned?