"retelling" of Job 41: does that automatically count as Christian?

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HannahMerryll

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Hi everyone! Please help me with my genre question.

I wrote a novel that involves a "re-telling" of Job 41 (God's description of Leviathan). In this case, Leviathan is in the form of a boy who falls in love with a girl (because of course he does). But here's the thing: I am not religious and the story, while consistent with and respectful of a religious outlook, is not primarily a religious book. It is a book about the nature of knowledge and scientific inquiry.

Here is a query I worked up for it:

Callum Jonah Cole doesn’t know what he is, but he’s pretty sure he’s not Leviathan. Not when his name means Dove Dove and he wouldn’t hurt a fly.

And if he is Leviathan, then that part about him being a “creature without fear” is b.s. Because he’s downright terrified of Tiger Mouse, a.k.a. Queen of Colors, a.k.a. Ella Patrick. She pierces his skull with a hook and drags him around wherever she pleases. And that’s just by singing to him, which she’s done ever since she found him in the barn nine years ago.

It was one thing when she just worked him over with cream eggs and kittens and Dr. Seuss. But then she dressed him up in every single one of Newton’s Laws and made him walk around like that until he could actually pass for human.

Well, almost human.

Because on the eve of their Senior year, his flesh was still as hard as millstone and he still couldn’t kneel without scarring the earth. But Ella had a plan to fix that, too.
Had Callum not snuck off to meet that seer, he might not have ended up behind an abandoned gas station, bound and bartered for sport. All he wanted to know from the fortune teller was if Ella would ever love him. Was that too much to ask? But instead what he got was a lesson: that just because you get the truth, it doesn’t mean you should believe it.
 

Calla Lily

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Hi, Hannah, and welcome to AW.
As proof that I'm not always a big meanie poopypants, I'm leaving this thread open. :thankyou:

Normally I'd be sending you a PM about :rulez and how new members need at least 50 substantive posts which engage with the community before being allowed to post their queries in the Share Your Work forum. But IMO what you're asking here is not "crit my query NAO."

I read your query twice and couldn't get a handle on it, so I jumped over to Bible Gateway and reread Job 41.

Here's what I'm seeing in your query: YA or possibly high MG coming of age novel. In a HS (freshman year?) for mutants/superheroes/aliens which may or may not be on an alternate Earth, your MC is in major denial of his essential nature. This may be because he thinks he was abandoned by his parents, but it's possible he was created as a special one-off by nature/God/aliens. He has a domineering GF with a massive arsenal of powers and she plays with him exactly like a cat with a mouse, including the catlike trait of "maybe I love you and maybe you can pet me but only when I choose and it stops the instant I say so because claws." (I own 3 cats. Can you tell?)
For me, the story needs setting. These phrases are where my brain :flag::
--She pierces his skull with a hook and drags him around wherever she pleases. (the singing clause almost made it clear)
--she just worked him over with cream eggs and kittens and Dr. Seuss
--she dressed him up in every single one of Newton’s Laws

The good thing is, the query has voice. From it I got a 14- or 15yo trying to deal with the worst puberty EVER. That's not enough in this case, because the Job quotes actually confused me more.

The problem you're going to run into is when you say "Leviathan," people will slot it as CF. Even though Leviathan is "just" a gonzo sea monster and a fun gross-out 80s horror movie by the same name had nothing Biblical in it, the word is an instant label.

* * *

Now I'm going to put on my Mod hat. Discussion about writing and how to convey in fiction the nature of C-fic vs knowledge vs science vs SF (C or mainstream) is perfectly acceptable in this thread. It can't become a query crit thread or I will have to close it.

Good luck.
 

HannahMerryll

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Thank you so much for not being a meanie poopypants! I really was not asking for any kind of query crit. (I'm happy to remove the query entirely if that might lead people astray in the thread). It's just that i'm stuck in a catch-22: I need to read more "in genre" but can't really seem to find anything that fits what I've done.

Here are the elements of the novel that make it hard for me to classify, so if anyone can help solve the puzzle, I'd be grateful.

- It's a combination of three re- tellings: the prophesy about Socrates from the Oracle at Delphi, Job 41, and Thomas Hobbes' classic Leviathan

Thank you!
 
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Calla Lily

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Actually, genre is the easy question. What you have is literary fiction, not genre fiction. What you're describing reminds me of Cloud Atlas, Slaughterhouse Five, The City & The City and other slipstream and/or interstitial books I've heard about. They're not my style, so I've never read them.

You might want to browse the Contemporary Literature sub-forum. Don't re-post your query and explanation there. Link to this thread with a phrase about how you explain everything here. :)
 

HistoryLvr

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This seems like more or less just contemporary fiction to me, with slight paranormal. From your query, it reminds me a little of the Mortal Instruments, but obviously not as hard (does that even make sense)? In the way of hard vs soft sci-fi. I would say your best bet for reading in the genre would be to read things that have similar aged MCs. If this is helpful, a book that may be similar to yours with religious undertones would be We Were Saints by Han Nolan (I think). I read that many years ago but it might be worth checking out for you.

Good Luck!
 
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