Contrary to popular belief, my theological paradigm shifts were not solely the result of theological reading. Fictional reading has a profound impact on the reader's worldview and subsequently their hermeneutic and theology. Our Lord may have said that nothing consumed makes us unclean but it most certainly effects us and our theology. Here are the fictional books that have stuck with me.
The New Jedi Order (Complete Series)
I have to put this one first because a) it is Star Wars and b) it is a full series and hence kinda cheating. This series started in 1999 (I was 13) and found its completion in 2003 (I was 17) and forever altered my youth. Books titled "Vector Prime" and "Star by Star" need no introduction to genuine fans of Star Wars. It was in this series that I discovered Star Wars characters could in fact die. Life in the Star Wars universe was marked by death from now on. In retrospect this is kinda funny. Nevertheless this series truly did alter my life.
In light of Disney's recent actions these books are now no longer canonical in the Star Wars universe. Disney can go to bad places as far as I'm concerned. This is one Star Wars fan who refuses to watch the non-sense they put out.
Jose Saramago's Blindness, The Cave and Death with Interruption
Let me be clear, Saramago is not everyone's cup of tea. In fact I'm confident he is rarely anyone's cup of tea. However, let me exaggerate in the other direction: other than the Holy Spirit I respect no author more. The guy is an atheist and generally antagonistic toward historic deism. This relationship should not work. It somehow does and I'm in love.
Outside of Karl Barth, R.C. Sproul and Doug Wilson no single name is found more often on my bookshelves. Saramago writes in long paragraphs conjoined by commas. Many of these page length paragraphs are intricate descriptions of things that may or may not be pertinent to the advancement of the primary story arc. In other cases the paragraphs are built on dialogue contains no quotations. Saramago uses only simple commas and capitalization to indicate the change in speaker. These characters are real. They are small, flat, large and great. Witty and dumb. His stories are anti-stories. They elevate the mundane to beauty.
I can safely recommend to everyone The Cave and Death with Interruption. However I must caution everyone concerning the graphic and destructive content of Blindness. Please read me carefully, Blindness is a brilliant book but I cannot recommend it casually to anyone.
Milton's Paradise Lost
When I was in school I got to take British Literature. "Got to take" right. I had no desire to take American literature so I went across the pond. The entire class redirected my perspective on literature. It might also explain my fascination with British television. Eitherway, the place I really got done in though was our reading of John Milton's Paradise Lost. A fictitious depiction of creation, Satan's rebellion, the temptation of man and the aftermath of the fall are beautiful.
Milton is poetry plain and simple. And it is drenched in Biblical knowledge, pontification and humor. The brilliance is only made more clear when one discovers Milton was blind for (almost) all of the writing. Hearing how he would wake up from sleep only to dictate page after page without stopping put me in my own little creative place: not on par with Milton. For the class, I only needed to read 3 or 4 of the primary Books but I instead choose to read the entire thing. Sleep was lost. My TA thought I was nuts. I was hooked though.
C.S. Lewis' Perelandra
If you haven't read the space trilogy just stop reading this blog post now. Go to Amazon, buy a copy. I'll wait. Go. Seriously.
Alright, so the entire series is good but Perelandra stole my heart. I am a fan of Lewis. My wife loves him. I love this book. In many the same ways as Paradise Lost Lewis depicts a haunting (don't think scary "haunting") un-fallen world, the battlement of sin and fight for the world. That's all I'm giving you. Everything right with literature is found in this book.
Joshua Torrey is the sole proprietor of Torrey Gazette (don't tell Alaina) and the fullness of its editorial process. That means everything wrong with TG can legitimately be blamed on him.