Thursday, November 11, 2010

What is Christian Speculative Fiction?

When I started writing this story I didn’t know what genre it would fall under. In fact it wasn’t until it was written that I found out.

I went to a Writers Guild of Texas meeting, where a Christian author and Agent was conducting a lecture. After doing his best to dismay us, and tell us how impossible it would be for us to get published, he opened the floor to questions.

Don’t get me wrong, he was doing what he thought would be best: telling us how it is. He was right about a lot of things, but I found his well rehearsed bubble popping session a little condescending.

Look, I know, getting published through a BIG publishing house is very hard, impossible even. Getting an Agent is equally hard and time consuming. But I’m the kind of person who believes that when there is a will, there is a way—paved that is, with hard work and patience.

This agent did one thing though, that I am very grateful to him for; he gave my book a Genre. After the meeting was over, I approached him and briefly described my book to him. He irrevocably pronounced it “Christian Speculative Fiction”.

So what is this mysterious genre that I had never heard of?
Commonly called CSF, this genre is fast growing in popularity among those who want fast pased, action packed, yet clean fiction. The themes are biblical and morally uplifting. The settings vary between science fiction, futuristic, superhero, time travel, supernatural, end-of-the world “Armageddon” type and alternate realities to list a few.

The best known examples that fall under these categories are “The Chronicles of Narnia” and “The Lord of the Rings”. We have in fact C.S. Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien to thank for the renaissance of this genre. They, in my opinion, did in the twentieth century what poets like Dante and Milton have done in their time.
Now days a slew of new authors are bringing this old genre back to life.

Most of us are however still in the fringes of the Christian market—not for lack of demand—but rather due to an inability for large publishers to change old set in traditions.

Another reason why CSF writers are opting to get published through smaller publishing houses, like TreasureLine Books, is because these publishers offer Print on Demand (POD) services.

This is a low cost, no middle man (agent) way to get your book into the reader’s hands. These books will most likely never hit a “Big Bookstore” shelf, but it will be online at popular booksellers like Amazon, Amazon's Kindle, Smashwords and the Publisher’s and Author’s web site. The benefits of POD for the readers are obvious—low cost.

For me and many other authors that choose to go this route, the benefits are that we get to live our dreams of writing good, clean stories, and keep our current lives. No traveling, no life altering careers, just our life and our dreams!
Reading is a great form of entertainment and a powerful way to shape our world and CSF writers are doing both!

Pictures by Gustave Dore'

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