This is the Neversong, the flagship of the Narze banshee Krakk Karrikksson. It is from The Peaceful and Just, my first book about the four wards of the pallbearers. Why do I love fantasy, a genre that draws a collective yawn from publishers?
For one thing, I grew up reading fantasy. I started with the Chronicles of Narnia, the most popular books by Clive Staples Lewis. I read all seven of those books every year for fourteen straight years, long before they made the movies, although not before they made the old animated movie that is still the best one. Of course I read the Middle Earth stories, also long before they became vehicles for Peter Jackson and his CGI magic. I am still fascinated by the beginnings of those careers, Lewis and Tolkien sitting in a bar over a pint and deciding that they would each write a novel, one based on time (the Hobbit) and one based on space (Out of the Silent Planet). I am sure in my heart that it was the Four Winds Bar mentioned in Blue Oyster Cult’s song Astronomy, and nothing you say will change my mind.
Next I moved on to Lloyd Alexander, still for my money the best YA fantasy author of all time, although Susan Cooper and Robin McKinley deserve to be in the same ring of honor. Then I went to college, took writing courses, and learned that fantasy is best left for others to tackle. I still don’t know why. Actually, now I do. It’s because I have to make everything up. EVERYTHING.
I still dig C. S. Lewis, although the Narnia books are a little too YA for me to enjoy except as a memory. I dig him because he was a Christian apologist. Now this is not a blog about religion, and religion is something that I don’t really want to discuss here, except to relate C. S. Lewis’ philosophy on the whole deal. I didn’t know then that the Chronicles of Narnia were a Christian parable, and I’m still that naive when I read, thank goodness.
Clive Staples started out as an atheist. Then he went off to war, and became more of an atheist. Then he rediscovered faith, and achieved fame talking and writing about it. He married a woman he loved deeply, she got sick, she had a miraculous recovery, and then she died, but Clive Staples kept his faith. He compared faith to Joy. Now I don’t care who your God is, or what religion you are, but that’s exactly right. Faith should be recognizable on earth, and it should show itself as Joy.
This is what Clive Staples said. He said that if a person was searching for God in the world, and they went deep inside of themselves, they would find him or her there, right where they would expect God to be. I believe in that personal, private interpretation of religion. I think that it’s our responsibility as human beings to search for Joy inside ourselves. It’s there, inside all of us, right where we should expect it to be.
The Neversong sure looks a lot like the Dawn Treader, doesn’t it?