24 November 2010

My Radio Show Interview

All of you may now listen to my interview at any time you like by going to the link. It lasts 30 minutes. Feel free to post a comment after you listen. Thanks! http://www.blogtalkradio.com/strategic-book-club/2010/11/24/interview-with-david-bedford-author-of-angela

You can find out more about my book at: www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/Angela.html.

My Personal Review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I is a wonderful piece of moviemaking. More than any of the previous installments in the series, this last movie stays as faithful to the original story as possible in the two-and-a-half-hour time frame. Bucking the trend of major movies made by big-name American studios, it has a calm pace that allows the viewer to absorb the tale. In these two respects, it is reminiscent of the best qualities of the movie version of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Overall the acting was excellent. Even Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson gave credible performances. This means that the directing was careful and on target.

There is a subdued, pervasive beauty about the cinematography and the effects are purely in the service of the story, never specious. The scriptwriters, art directors, and the director took a bold chance and it paid off. The final installment should be a winner.

I was struck by an aspect of the story I had not considered as carefully before: it is up to the young people, just moving into adulthood, to save their society from its worst impulses. They are forced to decide what to accept and what to reject from the adult world they were brought up in. This choice determines their actions and leads them into mortal danger. They are willing to face that danger, but never willing to throw away their lives needlessly or because they think they can't cope. Rather they are willing to risk all for the higher good of everyone.

Will our young people in the very scary real world be up to the same task? Will they change the world in a good way? Clearly we "grownups" are not going to.

Please see my book's website at www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/Angela1.html

16 November 2010

Some Thoughts on Christian Fiction

Christian fiction is a hot topic these days and a growing book market. Opinions on Christian fiction range from the ecstatic (from people who are looking for a specific and narrow kind of reading experience) to the disgusted (from people are predisposed to hate things spiritual).

What is Christian fiction, anyway? According to some, it is a story that contains the plan of salvation and centers on someone who undergoes a conversion experience. There are even publishers who require these elements in any book they publish. But if that is Christian fiction, then every novel will have the same, predictable story line. Moreover, there is little or no room for a subtext to enrich the world of the book.

The purpose of that kind of book is to proselytise. Now that is a legitimate activity if the other person is willing to listen, but it is not the stuff of a novel. The text for that already exists and no one can do it better: the four Gospels in the New Testament. If you want to proselytise, talk primarily to people who want to hear, give them a synopsis of the gospel story, and refer them to the Gospels for a full account. It is not likely to work well at all in a novel.

For others, Christian literature is a safe place to read, where the world of the book is the same as the imagined culture of the American Bible Belt minus all its ugly aspects. The world is not really like that, though and that is a problem for the novelist.

What really makes a book a Christian novel is that the author is a believer. Like any author, the Christian author should be able to deal with any topic of universal importance that will contribute something of value to the reader. Major Christian writers include Pascal, Tolkien, Flannery O'Connor, and Dorothy Sayers. None of them wrote to proselytise and all dealt with issues from the real world in some way or another.

Readers: Read widely. Writers: Write what you are given and be faithful to your calling.

To learn more about my book, please visit www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/Angela1.html

02 November 2010

Angela: the Right Kind of Person for the Times

Apologies to my followers for the long time between posts. Since I teach college full time, I have many matters that require my immediate and full attention. Much as I love writing, whether it's my fiction or this blog, it must always be done in time grabbed from lull moments. Now I can tell you about what's been on my mind for some time.

One of the many facets of Angela Fournier is that she is the kind of person we need for the times we live in. Please indulge me in a brief explanation. Since World War I, more or less, we have been living in a time similar to the 6th and 7th centuries, when the Roman Empire and the world view of the ancient world were passing away, and to the 15th century, when the Medieval world view began to give way quickly to the thinking of the modern age, which the Encyclopaedia Britannica sets as the years 1450 to 1900.

After Rome began to crumble, the world view and culture of the ancient Graeco-Roman world no longer fit the new reality. In the same way, after all the advances of the High Middle Ages (technological: eye glasses, water and windmills, the compass and sextant, and the printing press; institutional: universities and hospitals; and financial: banking, letters of credit, limited liability corporations) the Medieval world view was suddently outdated. The modern world view that followed believed only in what was visible and measurable and in what made money. At first they thought wealth would solve all problems (age of exploration, conquest, and global economy), then they thought that reason and science would save us (the Enlightenment), and finally that progress and technology would answer all questions and cure all ills (the 19th century). The first World War proved to anyone who took the trouble to think it through that the modern world view no longer fit the reality we lived in. The very forces unleashed by the modern project threatened to destroy us. Art, music, and literature all mirrored this new age in some way during the early 20th century.

Many people have yet to get the memo. Maybe it's too hard to think about. There are vested interests still making fortunes from the industrial processes developed in the 19th century and still working and growing into the 21st. These people don't want to hear about it. Many would still love to think that science and technology, a.k.a "progress", will solve all problems. But then why can't we agree at all on values to live by? Why are we so cut off from one another? Why do we splinter into smaller and smaller ethnic and interest groups and so lose all sense of ethos and ethics?

We are at a point in history when we either decide on a new world view we wish to create that will benefit all and make a new vibrant age like the passing of the Medieval world to the modern, or we will sit back and watch things fall apart into a dark age, as that which followed the collapse of Rome. It's our call. I don't have an answer to propose. It's too early for that. But we do need to think about it and pool our collective wisdom.

Now, Angela Fournier is the kind of person we need for this project. She is unusually mature, wise, and discerning, but she is so unassuming that she is not aware of it. She is directed outward, to other people and their needs, instead of inward, brooding on her inadequacies. She really wants to help if she can, and she knows she doesn't have all the answers. She's not the only kind of person we need, but her kind will be indispensable in making something good of our world. What kind of world do you want?

If you haven't already, but would like to, please visit my book's web page at www.strategicpublisninggroup.com/title/Angela1.html Thanks!