(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

In The Singer Trilogy, Calvin Miller allegorizes the life of Jesus Christ, the struggles of the Christian church, and the future promise of rebirth in an alien world where the names are different but the motivations are similar to those found in the New Testament. Each character and each event mirrors a New Testament person or action. The Singer is much like the four Gospels, The Song partly mirrors the book of Acts, and The Finale skips ahead to an apocalyptic ending akin to the book of Revelation.

The Singer recounts the life of a young Tradesman who fights his real nature as the Troubadour or Singer who created the universe by his words. The events of the Gospels are collapsed, though John’s ideas of transcendence and the fight between good and evil have a strong influence on this book. Throughout, Miller changes characters’ names to reflect their new roles and new spiritual and emotional levels of consciousness.

The Singer encounters the World Hater multiple times as he travels, singing the Star-Song and healing the minds and bodies of those he encounters—if they wish to change and believe it is possible—including a crippled girl and a prostitute. In a retelling of the Sermon on the Mount, he sings the Hillside Song, which is rejected by his listeners, who want other ways to overcome the Canyon of the Damned, the World Hater’s realm.

In a move reminiscent of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem, the Singer goes to the Great Walled City of the Ancient King, whose people practice the old, traditional religion. There he frees the Madman, who becomes his final disciple, and together they stir up a crowd. Their victory is short-lived, because the Singer has never sung the Star-Song in its entirety, and the last stanza angers the Musicians of the old religion, who with the crowd that has become enraptured by their traditions, seize, mutilate, and then kill the Singer on the Great Machine of Death, which resembles a torture rack. In the end, the Singer’s Mother and the Friendship Seller go to comfort the Madman while the Singer rises and brings the Crippled Girl to them.

The Song is about the battle between the World Hater and those who hear, embrace, and try to pass on the Star-Song in a fashion similar to the acts of the Apostles. As the Madman is changed into Anthem, founder of the Singerian religion, via a Holy Spirit entity called the Invader, the...

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(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Sources for Further Study

Blodgett, Jan. Protestant Evangelical Literary Culture and Contemporary Society. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1997. Calls The Singer Trilogy the most successful Christian fantasy work of the modern era and discusses several of its themes.

Miller, Calvin. Covenant for All Seasons: The Marriage Journey. Rev. ed. Wheaton, Ill.: H. Shaw, 1995. The story of the courtship between Calvin Miller and his wife, Barbara. Contains many biographical details.

Miller, Calvin. Jesus Loves Me: Celebrating the Profound Truths of a Simple Hymn. New York: Warner Books, 2002. Miller’s book focuses on music as a way to spread the message of Christianity. Provides insight into his use of song and poetry.

Mort, John. Christian Fiction: A Guide to the Genre. Greenwood, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited, 2002. Discusses several trends in Christian literature and cites examples of several popular fantasy and science fiction books, including The Singer Trilogy.

Szalewski, Susan. “Omaha Pastor’s Works Popular in Bible Belt: ’Humble’ Author Has Few Local Readers.” Omaha World-Herald, July 14, 1989, p. 9. A short profile of Miller looks at his works and life as a pastor.