Sept. 21 was the 75th anniversary of “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkein. (And Sept. 22 is the birthday of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.)
For many, “The Hobbit” and its siblings in the Lord of the Rings trilogy represent the pinnacle of fantasy novels that have Christian overtones. However, several fantasy or science fiction series by Christian authors have been published through the past 75 years. Here are some.
Lewis was a contemporary of Tolkein and wrote two series that fit this description.
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: Seven novels make up this fantasy series. The first written was “The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe.” In it, four children enter the back of a wardrobe that leads them into what they learn is the land of Narnia — a land enslaved in never-ending winter by the White Witch. The children lead the fight to stop the witch and meet the lion Aslan, who is the Christ figure in the books.
THE SPACE TRILOGY: “Out of the Silent Planet,” “Perelandra” and “That Hideous Strength” are early stories of space travel. In the first book, Dr. Ransom is kidnapped and taken to Mars, where his abductors want to offer him as a sacrifice and to steal the treasures of the planet. In the second, Ransom meets another planet’s version of Adam and Eve and has to battle a darkness that is trying to take away the spiritual perfection of the couple. And in the last, Ransom has to fight the same dark force on his own home Earth.
TIME QUINTET: “A Wrinkle in Time,” “A Wind in the Door,” “A Swiftly Tilting Planet,” “Many Waters” and “An Acceptable Time” follow the Murry family as they travel in time, meet other creatures and fight various dangers.
Ursula K. LeGuin
LeGuin wrote many stories in the sci-fi and fantasy genre, including her well-known “The Lathe of Heaven.” Her stories look at the sociological and anthropological aspects of life.
EARTHSEA: This series, marked a trilogy at first, would eventually have six books and several short stories. Titles include “A Wizard of Earthsea,” “The Tombs of Atuan” and “The Farthest Shore.”
HAINISH CYCLE: This set of stories is set on or near the planet Hain. Titles include “Rocannon’s World” and “The Left Hand of Darkness.”