I’ve suddenly become interested in this particular type of religious fantasy fiction genre when I saw a novel advertised in recent issues of The Catholic Answer magazine called My Visit to Hell by Paul Thigpen. It looks to be a paperback version of a previous book of his called Gehenna published a few years earlier, reissued under the current new title. I checked out the reviews posted in Amazon and it got enough thumbs up comments to make me decide to order it and try it out. Through a different website - www.realmsfiction.com - I saw another similar type book The Fall of Lucifer by Wendy Alec. That one got somewhat mixed reviews at Amazon, I’m not sure if it’s good. So, besides the literary classic, Dante’s Inferno, does anyone know of any other good Catholic/Christian/fantasy/religious sci-fi novels that deal with descriptive bible-based stories and imageries of Heaven, Hell, angels, demons, etc. similar to the two titles I mentioned? I would think there would be a whole distinct market segment in existance within Catholic/Christian book publishing, yes?
C.S. Lewis wrote a little gem called “The Great Divorce”. I’m not sure if it meets your criteria of bible-based stories and imageries of heaven - but it’s a bang-up fantasy read of heaven and hell.
I give it:thumbsup:
Christ the Lord Out of Egypt: A Novel
I have not read this book but i heard the author is a recent convert to Christ.
the princess bride has a good description of what hell could be like, but its not catholic. but i think people have experienced this while on earth…its called the ‘zoo of death.’
there’s even a lot of evil throughout the whole book from beginning to end. redemption is in buttercup’s baby
Thank you all for your suggestions. I had forgotten C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce. I’ll read that one first, then check out the others mentioned.
I love Charles Williams books, especially All Hallows Eve:
A friend of C.S. Lewis and Tolkien, Williams wrote seven Christian fantasies, all of which are intellectually demanding but exciting, and totally unlike most other fantasies. Descent into Hell, War in Heaven, and 4 others.
I’m not sure whether he’s Anglican or Catholic, but his books seem in line with Catholic doctrine in so far as I can figure them out.
This is a little bit more of a Fundamentalist version of things, but I cannot recommend Ted Chiang’s short story ‘Hell is the Absence of God’ highly enough for religious science fiction. It’s in his collection Stories of Your Life and Others – which also includes a beautiful take on the story of the Tower of Babel, among others.
For another classic to put next to Dante, Faust is definitely worth reading. Goethe’s version is one of the greatest works of literature ever produced, and Marlowe’s isn’t half bad either. I’ve read several translations of Goethe, and Walter Kaufmann’s is by far the best.
Finally, Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita is another one to check out. It’s hard to summarize, but it follows a varied cast of characters through the literary scene of 1930s Moscow while the devil is setting up a Walpurgisnacht ball. Pontius Pilate and Jesus also figure in quite importantly.
I have read this book, it is a good read -however, it does not center on the themes the OP references. It is a fictionalized version of what Christ’s childhood might have been.
Anne Rice is a re-vert to Catholicism. During her “away from the Church” period, she did an interesting look at heaven and hell in one of the Vampire books “Memnoch the Devil”.
Another suggestion, while not a novel - is deStephano’s “A Travel Guide to Heaven”.
While not Catholic in anyway, but an interesting novel is “What Dreams May Come” (the book is interesting, the movie was bland).
I’m checking out some of these books. I’ve read The Great Divorce. Be careful of Wendy Alec. Apparently she claims Jesus appeared to her in a vision. She is an Evangelical Christian who owns a TV station in the UK. Not that any of those things are bad.
Since I read mostly non-fiction I can sometimes be led astray by fiction books creeping into my thought patterns. Sometimes the lines between fiction and non-fiction become blurred. I guess that’s why there was such an uproar over The Davinci Code, people like me can’t separate our fact from fiction:blush:
I just finished reading *My Visit to Hell *by Paul Thigpen. I couldn’t put it down after the first couple of chapters. The thought of all those tiny aborted babies floating there waiting for their parents to accuse them was scary.