Writing Gods w/ Jennifer Rahn

Wrestling with Gods, Tesser­acts 18

In co-ordi­na­tion with the good folks over at EDGE Sci­ence Fic­tion and Fan­ta­sy Publishing—and as a small part of their online event 18 Days of Tesser­acts (Sep­tem­ber 18 to Octo­ber 7, more infor­ma­tion here)—I here­by present Part Five of the inter­view series Writ­ing Gods, fea­tur­ing email chats with a num­ber of the many authors who’ve con­tributed to EDGE’s newest (and eigh­teenth[!]) Tesser­acts anthol­o­gy Wrestling with Gods.

Today’s interviewee: Jennifer Rahn

Jen­nifer Rahn

Jen­nifer Rahn has authored two nov­els and ten short sto­ries. Her work is includ­ed in the EDGE antholo­gies Shang­hai Steam, Tesser­acts 18 and the upcom­ing Tesser­acts 19.

When not writ­ing, she works in aca­d­e­m­ic sci­ence, research­ing brain tumours.


How did your sto­ry “Ascen­sion” come about?

I basi­cal­ly com­bined things I real­ly like, such as kick­box­ing and Bud­dhism, and then tack­led the giv­en sub­ject mat­ter, Wrestling with Gods, direct­ly. So I end­ed up with Bob­by the MMA fight­er com­pet­ing in cage match­es to get into Nir­vana.

What is it about “genre” writ­ing that makes it such an effec­tive avenue for the­o­log­i­cal dis­cus­sions? 

In most genre writ­ing, any­thing goes, and since the author can choose a genre that makes their imag­i­na­tion flare, the com­bi­na­tion of that with spir­i­tu­al exam­i­na­tion can car­ry the thought process a long way.

Who’s your favourite god? 

There only is one. Maybe He/She/It has dif­fer­ent faces, but always leads to the same path. That’s what I think “Almighty” means. Encom­pass­ing all.

If you were a god for one day, what would you do?

Grab com­plete under­stand­ing of the Uni­verse before the day is over.

When writ­ing about the­o­log­i­cal sub­jects, do you ever wor­ry about upset­ting some­one?

No. I tend to think about the­ol­o­gy only as it applies to me. I have no inter­est in push­ing my views on any­body else, and I’d hope that comes through in the writ­ing. So any­one who finds my views flawed is more than wel­come to think I’ve got­ten it wrong.

What’s your favourite sto­ry with the­o­log­i­cal over/undertones?

The Self­ish Giant by Oscar Wilde. I liked how the the­ol­o­gy was pre­sent­ed as “bait” for the curi­ous, or at least that’s how I saw it as a child. My reac­tion was to “inves­ti­gate” the mean­ing of the stig­ma­ta men­tioned in the sto­ry, and the moral mes­sage wasn’t over­done, just pre­sent­ed so that the read­er could make of it what she liked.

If there is some­thing beyond this real­i­ty, what do you hope will hap­pen to you post-life?

I’d love to see the big pic­ture, and whether untestable hypothe­ses, like string the­o­ry, are actu­al­ly cor­rect.

What’s the best thing about reli­gion? What’s the worst?

The best: it gives peo­ple com­fort and a sense of belong­ing to some­thing greater. The worst: it gives peo­ple an excuse to oppress and inter­fere with oth­ers.

If it turns out there is one god rul­ing over all, what’s would you ask?

Is there life on oth­er worlds?