Editing Gods w/Liana Kerzner

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 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

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.

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

What’s with the Platy­pus? I mean, seri­ous­ly, that’s one weird crit­ter. Who designed that?