Why All Speculative Fiction is Allegorical

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    A while ago, I made a comment on someone else’s topic about how all speculative fiction is allegorical. I said this knowing full well that it would be new to most people, and I love catching people off guard, not to mention the fact that I knew most people probably wouldn’t notice. Well, someone noticed, so now I’m going to explain what I meant. Forewarning, I don’t know how much I will have to say as the point I’m trying to make is a basic one. You may walk away with more questions than I have answered if you walk close enough to read this at all. If so, I urge you to hold your questions until the end. Otherwise, chaos will ensue, and I don’t have the brain cells to handle that. I’m going to give you the short version and the slightly less short version of my argument, and then you may tell me why I’m right. Ready?

    Here’s the short version: All speculative fiction is allegorical because all speculative fiction is “used to express large [and] complex ideas in an approachable manner.” That definition comes from masterclass.com if you would like to read more.

    Here’s the slightly less short version. All speculative fiction begins with a “What if…?” question the writer wants to answer. This can take an infinite number of forms ranging from “What if animals could talk?” to “What if humans could travel faster than light and interact with alien races?” to “What if the Nazis had won?” Authors take those questions and incorporate their own worldviews and beliefs in their attempts to answer them. C.S. Lewis answered the first question with the Chronicles of Narnia, where he discussed (among other things) what the implications would be if animals were sentient, talking beings. Would they be like humans on four legs? What would happen to the unbelieving talking beasts in the end times? He concluded that, yes, they would be like humans on four legs, and in the end times, the unbelieving ones would lose their ability to speak and, essentially, go to hell – they would lose their souls. Gene Roddenberry answered the second question from an optimistic viewpoint, repeatedly stating how Earth no longer experienced poverty, disease, or war. Of course, that makes for some really boring television, so he found ways for humans to still experience those things away from Earth. Thus, even though he believed humanity could escape conflict on their planet, he acknowledged the human condition. If that sounds impossible, I assert that it is. The creators of the show The Man in the High Castle, the creators examined events in history and asked what would have happened if the Axis Powers had won WWII. Since that’s all I know about the show, I can’t tell you what they concluded, but I imagine it was really something.

    While no Christian would deny that Narnia is allegorical, some may question whether these other stories are. I think the reason for this is that Christians have gotten it in their head that “allegory” refers exclusively to retellings of Scripture. But that’s not what an allegory is. It’s not what the word means. An allegory is designed to teach and usually promotes a worldview. That’s all it is. Anyone can write one regardless of whether God would agree with it. That’s why it’s so important to be discerning when reading or watching speculative fiction. These stories aren’t just about aliens and astronauts, talking beasts and alternate realities; they are written by people who are trying to help you make sense of the world. They may not always see, however, that their conclusions make no sense.

    "In a world full of bookworms, be a book dragon."
    - he who made the T-shirt

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