Q&A: Keith A. Robinson (Elysium)
YOUR NEW SERIES, THE TARTARUS CHRONICLES IS SET IN AN UNDERGROUND WORLD IN THE FUTURE. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT WHY YOU CHOSE THIS SETTING?
Elysium belongs to a new genre of Christian fiction called Apologetics Fiction, or sometimes Literary Apologetics. As such, the goal of this series is to deal with the topic of why Christianity is unique among the world religions. In order to tackle such a hefty topic, I needed a setting that would be a microcosm of the world’s religions, yet at the same time be science-fiction (which is a completely untapped genre for Christian fiction – largely due to the theological difficulties inherent in the genre).So, I created a fictional, underground world that is inhabited by humans who were accidentally transported there via mysterious portals.
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR ELYSIUM?
As I previously mentioned, the goal of the Tartarus Chronicles is to demonstrate the differences between the major world religions and present a reasoned argument to show why Christianity is unique, and the truth. However, the trick of writing an apologetics fiction novel is to present the apologetics arguments in such a way that it doesn’t interfere with the pace and plot of the story. Therefore, I wanted to create a novel that largely centers around an unscrupulous character who learns he has only thirty days to live. As the story progresses, he begins to question what he believes about life after death. This plot is further woven into the overall narrative about a team of fugitives who are trying to reverse the portals to return the population of Tartarus back to earth. However, they are forced to dodge the government and other warring factions who are determined to steal the technology to further their own ambitions.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR MAIN CHARACTER, GUNTHER?
Gunther is actually one of three main characters. He is a sixty year-old particle physicist who gets sucked through a portal and winds up in the city of Elysium. He spends much of the next several years trying to reverse the portals so that he can return to his beloved wife on Earth. His work on the portal project is the only thing that keeps him from going insane, and he is willing to risk everything to succeed.
The second “main” character is Raptor, a mafia-type criminal who ends up aiding Gunther, only to discover that his very life and eternal soul are at stake.
The third “main” character is Braedon, a Christian soldier who also ends up helping Gunther. Through the course of the series, he helps answer Raptor’s questions about worldviews and religions. In addition, he demonstrates by his actions that his faith is genuine.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE IN STORE FOR THE REST OF THIS SERIES?
Elysium sets the stage for the rest of series, and presents the basic questions that each worldview attempts to answer. Book 2 presents the basic beliefs of Hinduism and Buddhism, and Book 3 deals with the beliefs of the monotheistic religions of Islam, Judaism and Mormonism.Book 4 wraps up the series and summarizes all of the arguments for the truth of Christianity that were presented throughout each book in a way that is sure to not only instruct, but keep the reader entertained and engaged!