Robin Parrish is a journalist who's written about the intersection of faith and pop culture for more than a decade. He's also the author of the acclaimed Dominion Trilogy. Robin and his wife and son live in North Carolina. Visit Robin's Web site at www.robinparrish.com
Back to top.
Robin Parrish is the author of The Dominion Trilogy, comprised of sci-fi/fantasy novels RELENTLESS, FEARLESS and the newly released MERCILESS. In this interview, Parrish discusses the spiritual elements (or lack therof) in his work, and credits the classic writers J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis as personal inspirations. He also shares his thoughts on the resurgence in popularity of comic book heroes in pop culture, gives details on his current and future projects, and reveals which superpower he'd most like to possess, given the opportunity.
Question: There are strong Christian morals and values throughout your novels, and some allegorical ideas, but none of your characters even claim to be Christians, and any references to God are sparse. Have you received any criticism for this, and do you consider such criticism fair?
Robin Parrish: I wonder if J. R. R. Tolkien or C. S. Lewis were ever accused of their stories being “not Christian enough.” I would love to know what their reactions were!
Yes, I have received a little criticism for this. I’ve had friends and even family members read the books and then ask if they are, in fact, “Christian novels.” But I think this is a criticism based more on not understanding my point of view as a writer, than a desire to condemn me for not conforming to a reader’s expectations.
My desire with The Dominion Trilogy has always been to carry on the tradition of Tolkien and Lewis’s storytelling ideals. I’m not claiming to be anywhere near as talented as either one of them, but I like to imagine that if they were telling stories in our day and age, one of them might come up with something that has the slightest whiff of similarity to what I’m doing.
And just like the novels of Tolkien and Lewis, my greatest hope is that my novels can find an audience among Christian and non-Christian readers alike --- both of whom might find illumination and inspiration from them.
Q: Why did you pick the superhero genre to frame your first series?
RP: I honestly didn’t sit down and decide, “I think I’ll write a superhero saga.” It grew organically out of the story I was building. But once it became clear that that was where these characters were headed, I jumped at the chance to go there and take the story to that level. I love superheroes and always will.
Q: At the conclusion of The Dominion Trilogy, how big is the scope of MERCILESS?
RP: It’s off-the-charts huge. Not only does it wrap up the entire ongoing story, it has to tell a complete, compelling story in and of itself. And the entire world hangs in the balance. So it’s massive.
In a nutshell: A creature called Oblivion is unleashed on the world, and his effects upon it are devastating and unprecedented. The mystery of just exactly who or what Oblivion is, and what he wants, is what drives the story forward. The whole idea gives me a chance to bring all of the sidekicks and secondary characters to the forefront and explore what happens to them when they’re on their own.
MERCILESS is about what happens when everyone’s worst nightmare comes true. What if the conspiracy and subterfuge was so cleverly executed that the ultimate battle has been lost before anyone even realizes it was being fought?
Q: What’s your take on the explosion in popularity of comic book icons over the last few years?
RP: I think it's wonderful. As long as comic book writers and Hollywood writers continue to propel the genre forward and refuse to allow it to grow stale, as long as they can keep enthralling us with great storytelling, I see no reason it can’t continue to thrive.
It doesn’t take a genius to see that Marvel is where it’s at right now. They have wonderfully flawed yet noble characters that make us all want to aspire to be the best we can be. The Iron Man movie was fresh and smart, and I think they have more great stuff on the way, and their comics continue to set the standard for the industry. DC, on the other hand, constantly frustrates me. They have probably the most recognizable and iconic superhero characters in the world, but we’re rarely given the opportunity to relate to them. Their movies division is faring much better these days (particularly the Christian Bale Batman films), but comics-wise, DC’s characters are lacking in substance. They’re great at fighting the bad guys, but they rarely show signs of having a soul.
Q: What super-power would you most like?
RP: Teleportation. I hate sitting in a car for hours on road trips (not to mention the price of gas), and air travel has become an exercise in paying more and more only to be rewarded with ever-increasing hassles and aggravations! Imagine how great it would be to go from here to there instantaneously.
I also think it would be kind of cool to fly.
Q: What are you doing next?
RP: My next novel after MERCILESS is a stand-alone story currently titled OFFWORLD, and fans of my work will love it. It skews a little more science fiction in nature, but it’s still written in the familiar fast-paced gritty realism, big action, and fun characters way that the Trilogy was written. And it’s got a great hook.
After that I’m planning a supernatural thriller like nothing you’ve read before, that might just be the best idea I’ve ever had.
© Copyright 2008, Bethany House Publishers. All rights reserved.
Click here now to buy this book from Amazon.com.