The Art of Surprise

Lots of beginning writers pen stories with surprise endings. Surprise! your quirky narrator was actually a bowling pin . . . Surprise! they were on Mars the whole time! . . . Surprise! This is such a ubiquitous phenomenon that books on the craft perennially warn against using such trickery. Jerome Stern gives precisely this […]

Christian Virtues in Dystopian Fiction

Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, George Orwell’s 1984, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Lois Lowry’s The Giver, Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here, Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report. Dystopian fiction. That brand of sci-fi that imagines a future world in which the powers that be—usually overzealous, overpowerful governments—have taken radical steps to ensure the well-being of […]

Seven Tips for Apologists to Improve Their Writing

Words, words, words… as a working Christian apologist, and as a teacher of apologists, I do a lot of thinking about how we communicate. The etymology of ‘communication’ is instructive: “from Latin communicationem (nominative communicatio), noun of action from past participle stem of communicare “to share, divide out; communicate, impart, inform; join, unite, participate in,” […]

Thinking Your Life Away

Two boys stand on the cusp of manhood. Each also stands at the edge of a body of water. And each struggles intensely to make a very simple decision: Do I jump in? Or do I stay on dry land where I can observe everyone else jumping in? Preoccupation with the choice consumes them. One […]

Red Booth Notes: The Great Books

I acquired my first set of the Harvard Classics, the famous “five-foot shelf of books,” following a snowstorm in 1976. After our house had been shovelled out, I walked the quarter-mile or so from our home in Brentwood, New Hampshire, over to the Mary E. Bartlett Memorial Library to have a look at the books […]