The author talks about inhabiting a science fiction world with faith.

Joshua A. Johnston was raised on sci-fi TV and film before being introduced to the wider universe of science fiction literature as a teen. His latest novel, Through Chaos (Enclave), is the third book in his Chronicles of Sarco: Captain Jared Carter and the Navy cruiser Hattan have helped liberate an alien race from the clutches of darkness, but at a terrible cost of lives and ships. When they receive word that a shocking fate has befallen the Confederacy during the Hattan’s distant campaign, the crew faces the prospect that their home as they knew it is no more. In this interview, Joshua talks about series, explains the qualities of Captain Jared Carter, and reveals the origins of his surprising side project…

Joshua, Through Chaos is the third book in the Chronicles of Sarco. What can you tell us about the overarching story of the series?

The Sarco series is an epic space adventure, set across a wide swath of the galaxy in a far future, some time after Earth has lost most of its history through a Dark Age. The trilogy centers around a great evil that emerges from far away, threatening both humanity and its allies, and how Jared Carter and those under his command will confront that evil.

Tell us about the creating the world of this series. What details or ideas (or stories) inspired this world?

From the outset, I wanted to try and write the same kind of story that had given me such a sense of wonder as a kid. By that, I mean the feeling I got when the U.S.S. Enterprise reached some distant, uncharted world, or when the Millennium Falcon crisscrossed the galaxy, or when Doctor Who took the TARDIS to some exotic new place in space and time.

From the start, I wanted readers to feel like they were on an epic journey, one where they, too, could visit strange new worlds and face new dangers.

When you’re building a whole world from scratch, how detailed do you have to be? How much stuff doesn’t even make it into the stories?

Since I was dealing with both human and alien civilizations, each of those societies had its own sociology and culture. That made for all kinds of world-building.

Some of it did wind up on the cutting room floor, although, between the three novels and four short stories, I was able to squeeze in a lot more than I thought I’d be able to. It was fun to find little, organic ways to sprinkle things in, even in the waning moments of Through Chaos.

What are the challenges for a Christian author to invent a fantastical world that’s still grounded in a biblical reality?

I think the biggest challenge is deciding what kind of Christian novel one wants to write. One school of thought is that the stories should deal directly with Jesus and the Bible, perhaps with conversion stories and even apologetics.

The other school of thought is that the stories should incorporate Christian themes in a more salient way, be it allegorical or drawing from Biblical themes. I don’t know that there is a wrong way, per say, but figuring out which direction to go is a really important decision.

From early on, I determined that I wanted my approach to be more salient, in the vein of Narnia or Lord of the Rings. For me, the next step was figuring out how to situate faith in a science fiction world in a way that was natural for both.

It was a big challenge, but also came with a big sense of accomplishment, especially in the way things played out in the endgame.

Click through to find out how Joshua created a larger world with a companion Sarco series…

1 2 3

Check out more great articles