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Why We Need Christian Speculative Fiction

If there was one movie that would define the drudgery of routine, the undisputed champion would be the film “Groundhog Day”.

Groundhog Day is a 1993 American comedy film directed by Harold Ramis, starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. It was written by Ramis and Danny Rubin, based on a story by Rubin.

Murray plays Phil Connors, an egocentric Pittsburgh TV weatherman who, during a hated assignment covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, finds himself repeating the same day over and over. (Wikipedia.org)

The dread of sameness

Now imagine if there was a world of books where the only genre was non-fiction. No fiction at all. If people even dared to write fiction stories, the local or federal government would ostracize them from the public and thrown them in jail.

Or let’s go on a flipside…what if the only genre available was fiction?No non-fiction. What would a world like this be like?

If non-fiction only, we would never have epics like Rora to sweep us to a historical fictional world of one man against exhausting odds. The work of Moby Dick would have not come into fruition. Christian from the book The Pilgrim Progress would have never started his journey.

If fiction only, we would never have the accounts of the Bible or the biographies of men like John Bunyan, Charles Spurgeon, or D.L. Moody.

Our experiences would be just like the film Groundhog Day where we live the same day over and over with nothing to satisfy our thirst for more. Life would be as tasteless as the white of an egg.

Fresh Perspective

In Christian Book Sellers Association, the driving force in the fiction has been Amish fiction (commonly called Bonnet fiction). Do an experiment. Go to Christianbook.com. Check the best-sellers list. Bonnet fiction will shine as the winner in sells and interest.

Now what if Christian fiction was ONLY Bonnet fiction? Would you be willing to give a Bonnet fiction to someone who likes the fantasy realm, action, thrillers, or the like?

“Hey Bob, I got a birthday present for you! Go ahead and open it!”

Bob ripped off the red with gold star gift wrapping like a starved beast interested in the morsel inside. He spied a box inside with small book images checkered all over it. He teared into the box and rustled the red tissue paper to discover “The Amish Midwife” by Mindy Starns Clark.

Photo Courtesy: Christianbook.com

He looked at me incredulously, paused with silence, and then quickly hugged me with tears of joy, “Oh, thank you! This is what I always wanted!”

With my bones and cartilage cracked by his squeezing, I managed to squeak out, “My pleasure…Erk!”

Uh, no.

“Variety’s the very spice of life, That gives it all its flavor” – William Cowper

Variety is even needed in the realm of Christian Fiction and the new alternative is the rising popularity of Christian speculative fiction.

Opening the Doors

Christian speculative fiction (sometimes called Biblical speculative fiction) is a genre that can follow two pathways in its presentation: overt and covert. Overt means that the Christian themes are very clear and unashamed in its presentation. Covert means that the Christian themes are weaved into the narrative without drawing too much attention to it.

The other aspect Christian speculative fiction (CSF) is that the subject will be unlike regular Christian fiction and instead deal with fringe topics such as aliens, vampires, dragons, or supernaturalism.

The author who is responsible for the ground swell of CSF would be Frank E. Peretti. When he created his manuscript for “This Present Darkness” most publishers did not want to take a chance on his edgy presentation on spiritual warfare.

Crossway Books decided to publish the work and the results were stunning: [The book has] achieved remarkable sales success, the book has sold in excess of 2.5 million copies worldwide and remained on the CBA top ten best-sellers list for over 150 consecutive weeks after its release. (Wikipedia.org).

The naysayers have been quenched and the CBA still doesn’t know to do with CSF with its surprising successes. They are still looking at the results to decide if other Christians would actually buy CSF and if the market is too small.

While CBA has been pondering the stats, indie publishers like Marcher Press and Splashdown Books are leading the charge concentrating on the smaller niches while adding more support to the ground swell of CSF.

Outlook of CSF In The Future

I hope the case of CSF has been presented in a way that will make other Christians to be willing to venture out of their comfort zones to check out the incredible stories being produced by authors today. Anything from a person traveling back in time to kill the apostle Paul (The book: “Transgression”) to a superhero antics (The book: “Tales of the Dim Knight”) to The Rapture (The Left Behind Series).

Even if you agree to disagree, at least read some of the works before deciding to completely shunning CSF.

Overall, the future for CSF looks very bright and promising. My prayer is that the stories will be done so well that they point back to the Biblical Christ and the need for salvation.

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4 thoughts on “Why We Need Christian Speculative Fiction

  1. Publishing is a business and every business looks for what will give it the largest return for the lowest cost. Unfortunately, CSF hasn’t quite made a big enough splash for a lot of titles to be published or for publishers to take much of a chance on new authors. It’s much easier for them to crank out yet another Amish love story than to fret over whether something is too edgy. For an eye-opener, take a look at Michael Hyatt’s (Chairman of Thomas Nelson)recent blog post on the subject (link below). Authors have to build a marketing platform reaching thousands before a publisher will consider them. The good thing, as you mentioned, is that there are small presses like Marcher Lord Press, who are trying to make enough of a splash for the big boys to take notice. Also, it’s never been easier to build a following online. Hopefully we’ll come into our own before too long!

    http://michaelhyatt.com/three-reasons-why-authors-must-develop-their-own-platforms.html

    • Hi Edward,

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving your thoughts. Yes, thank God for Marcher Lord Press who are willing to take chances on our works. Hope you will stop by again soon.

  2. I think there should be room for all kinds of fiction. I hadn’t really been aware there was such a thing as Christian Speculative Fiction until I met you hehe, and yes I agree there is a niche to fill there. Up till now, I’ve seen mostly historical, love stories, and contemporary novels, touted as Christian fiction. ~snore~ I prefer more weird and crazy in my stories 🙂

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