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 Nine 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: Liana Kerzner
Liana Kerzner has had a very diverse 20 year career, having worked in TV, radio, both comic book and prose publishing, and now she writes about video games and cosplay for services including The Escapist, CGM Magazine, and Metaleater.com. She has become a thought leader in the intersection between the Media and Gaming industries. Being a staple of the Canadian TV and Gaming industry, Liana is a trusted advisor and contributor to the discussions of the evolution of entertainment mediums as it pertains to both niche sub-cultures and their interpretations in the mainstream.
How did the anthology come about?
I was asked to edit the anthology when it was another topic. I won’t say what it was because I’m glad we ended up going with religion! I was very eager to be a part of something promoting the incredible science-fiction and fantasy talent we have here in Canada.
What is it about “genre” writing that makes it an effective avenue for theological discussions?
Fantasy tradition has stories that involved gods and demi-gods walking among mortals. Science-fiction might seem like a less obvious fit, but going back to stories like Frankenstein and Star Wars, there’s plenty of religious content on the sci-fi side too.Fantasy tradition has, for some time, had stories that involved gods and demi-gods walking among mortals. J. R. R. Tolkien was a devout Catholic—he even convinced C. S. Lewis to find God, although Lewis found the Anglican God instead of the Catholic one, much to Tolkien’s disappointment. Science-fiction might seem like a less obvious fit for religious discussions, but going back to stories like Frankenstein—subtitled “the modern Prometheus”—and with Star Wars’ The Force, there’s plenty of religious content on the sci-fi side too. I think it’s hard wired into storytelling in general, but genre fiction has greater liberty to speculate without needing it to make “sense.”
Who’s your favourite god? Least favourite? Why?
I’m fascinated by Sumarian gods like Enki and Enlil. It’s practically a science fiction story in itself! Odin, on the other hand, is an asshole. Norse myth existed for a different reason than monotheistic gods, but I still think Odin is an asshole.
If you were a god for one day, what would you do?
Learn as much as I could so I could take it back to mortality and make maximum use of it.
When writing about theological subjects, do you worry about upsetting someone?
Obviously it’s a concern, but you can’t obsess over it. People can get upset over anything. As long as I feel I can defend it, I’m good with it. I think that if writing isn’t challenging perceptions, what’s the point in doing it?
What’s your favourite story with theological over/undertones?
It’s actually a video game, The Dragon Age series. It deals with the various religions in a world where spirits walk among mortals, immortals are a given thing, and people can even enter the Fade, which is supposedly the abode of the primary god in the series known as the Maker. Despite this “proof” of one diety, it also accepts as true other faiths by showing elven gods, dwarven ancestor worship, and a highly regimented philosophical system known as the Qun by an invading culture.
If there is something beyond this reality, what do you hope will happen to you post-life?
Maybe I’ll finally learn who Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” was about?
What’s the best thing about religion? What’s the worst?
The best thing about religion is the way it gives me guidance in difficult situations. The philosophical elements bring me an incredible amount of peace. The worst part of religion is the way people use it to justify their own intolerance or desire to control other people. The monotheistic scriptures don’t say anything that should lead people to wield them as weapons.
What’s with the Platypus? I mean, seriously, that’s one weird critter. Who designed that?