CSFF Blog Tour: Bark of the Bog Owl

The Christian Science Fiction Blog tour's november feature is Jonathan Rogers, Bark of the Bog Owl, book one of The Wilderking Trilogy (B&H Publishers)

Bark of the Bog Owl is young adult fiction, but there are two elements combined in this story that really interesting me.

1) The genre is fantasy

2) It's a retelling of the story of King David

I love what fantasy can do! It can transport us out of the ordinary world, and set us on new, fresh ground. That's what's so magical about fantasy fiction. Often we become so familiar with the things around us, and we begin to "possess" them, as C.S. Lewis once said. The danger in mentally possessing something is that we no longer feel the awe and amazement that once accompanied that thing. A marriage perhaps, or a new home. Once we've "possessed" them a while, we loose that excitement. It's a common problem we human beings have.

Tragically, we do this to the Bible as well. The stories, the parables, the miracles, we've heard them frequently, and they often grow old in our minds, and thus they lose their power. And it's our own faults, because those things still have the power, we just fail to feel it anymore.

But that's where Fantasy fiction comes in. Fantasy fiction can retell a story, giving it a new setting, new names, and can refresh our senses, reminding us of the true power of the story. Think of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis...or the sci-fi short story "Scanners Live in Vain," by Cordwainer Smith.

Bark of the Bog Owl has taken the story of David and retold it in a fantasy world. Christian writers have a wealth of resources to use in the old and new testements, and these "biblical" retellings are so powerful because of the good vs. evil scope that the Bible has established. We are in a battle in this world, but sometimes its hard to remember that. There are spiritual forces battling around us for our thoughts...for our souls. Fantasy can remind us of that. There are still such things as Dragons.

For a good review of Jonathan Rodgers book "Bark of the Bog Owl," check out Mike Lynch's Blog


chrisd said...

Thanks for the info about the review. I'm headed over there now.

Jonathan Rogers said...

You're right about fiction's ability to awaken us to the possibilities that have been in the Gospel all along. Human hearts are sluggish; we can sleep through whole hurricanes of grace. Fiction shouts at us, shakes us awake. Thanks for a great post.

Scriptorius Rex said...

Well done on the insightful post.

Valerie Comer said...

I agree--refreshing it is!

Pixy said...

Great post, Brandon! Very inspiring!

Becky said...

Brandon, what a great testimony to the power of fantasy. I'd like to quote you when I do my fantasy talk next month at the teachers' convention.

Of course, for the retelling to work, it needs to be handled with the skill Jonathan exhibited. That's a challenge to each of us writers, I think.

Thanks for a great post!


Robert Treskillard said...

That's true about getting too close/possessing things to see it with fresh eyes.

Jonathan Rogers did an excellent job thinking creatively about the story of King David.

Brandon Barr said...


Thanks everyone for stopping by!

Hi ChrisD, thank you.

You're very welcome Jonathan! Thanks for visiting. My writing buddy Mike Lynch had nothing but praise for your book. And he can be a harsh critique.

Thanks scriptorius rex.

Hi Valerie!

Thank you Pixy (Always love your artwork)

Hi Becky, I'm glad you liked the post, and I'm honored you'd like to quote me. I actually wrote an entire forty page paper on this very topic in College.

Hi Robert, thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

Dear Brandon,
What you have said goes very true in the world today. I have recently been struggling with this fact over the pass few mounths. In the US today, we see everything and have everything that we need just from our own power. We truly do not understand the power of God. I pray for us to find it.
I do not know much about Science fiction, but this sounds like an excellent way to reach this generation. I look forward to reading more and for Brandon's new book coming out.
- Josh McConnell

Jason said...

I'll add to the "good job" on the post. One of the best for the tour. I made sure to highlight it on my blog.

UKSteve said...

It's good to see that some folks are positive about the whole Biblical retelling thing, and I've picked up some useful hints here and there to use as I retell it in science-fiction form.

I guess I've just got Becky's challenge to tackle now...

Brandon Barr said...

Hi Josh, thanks for coming by, and yes, by all means check out my book coming out this February.

Jason, thanks, I'm honored.

Hi UKSteve, one of the greatest retellings of the Bible, is Cordwainer Smith's short story, "Scanners Live in Vain". It's an amazing allegory of Jesus' arrival on earth, and the fear the pharasee's had of him taking away there power. A masterful story with cyborgs written in the late 40's! Amazing! Amazing!

Mike Lynch said...


I enjoyed reading your review. Very insightful. It's interesting to see the different kinds of perspectives we all have on the same thing. I think your comments about Fantasy begin a good way to recapture the "awe and magic" of the Bible were dead on.

Mike Lynch said...

P.S. Thanks for sending people to my blog site.

Eve said...

Great post to which my blood and pen are stirred once more to write like never before.

No HECKlers please ("...be sure to heck out these other CSFF blog tour member sites...." *laughing good naturedly*

Raymond said...

hey brandon, great post. i will start checking this more often. see you soon.

Brandon Barr said...

Thanks Mike!

Hi Eve, I appreciate your comment!

Raymond...you dropped by! Now I expect to see you more often :)