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?