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CSFF Blog Tour – Your Favorite

I’m partly to blame. When the previously scheduled CSFF featured book for August was pulled by the publisher, I agreed with the suggestion that we turn this month into a Your Favorite feature. A great idea, really, and I’m so […]
| Aug 23, 2010 | No comments |

I’m partly to blame. When the previously scheduled CSFF featured book for August was pulled by the publisher, I agreed with the suggestion that we turn this month into a Your Favorite feature. A great idea, really, and I’m so looking forward to reading everyone else’s posts. But writing my own … now that’s not so easy.

I mean, how do you narrow down what you’ve read to “Your Favorite”? Of course for me “favorite” means fantasy, but are we talking about favorite of all time (a toss up between Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien and Watership Down by Richard Adams), my favorite for this year (Wayfarer by R. J. Anderson), my favorite of the Clive Staples Award nominations (I’m not saying πŸ˜‰ ), my favorite YA (North! Or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson), my favorite middle grade (The Bark of the Bog Owl by Jonathan Rogers), or my favorite adult fantasy (toss up between By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson and Blaggard’s Moon by George Bryan Polivka).

You can see my dilemma.

Add in the authors whose books I really like (Sharon Hinck, Karen Hancock, Christopher and Allan Miller, D. Barkley Briggs) and the authors who have changed the landscape of Christian fantasy (Donita Paul, Wayne Thomas Batson, and Bryan Davis), and it’s getting to be a nearly impossible assignment.

So let me tell you instead what comprises my favorite book. It would have an engaging protagonist and a medium-paced story. The world would be dense without being confusing.

The story would feel fresh without being off-the-wall. There would be lots of tension from the start and surprises and twists.

The plot would not be hard to follow, but it wouldn’t be simplistic. There would be romance, though it wouldn’t dominate the story. There would be battles, too, and running-for-your-lives scenes. So lots of action broken up by some quiet moments that spotlight internal tension rather than external.

In the end the character will be changed and the reader will be moved. And as I near that end, I slow my reading down because I don’t want to leave this world that seems so real it feels like I will find it when I peek around the corner.

Yes, that‘s the book I want to writ, er, read. OK, it’s also the book I want to write, too. πŸ˜€

Your turn. What is your favorite? After you’ve left a comment, check out what the other CSFF participants are saying about their favorites:
Brandon Barr ** Thomas Clayton Booher ** Keanan Brand ** Grace Bridges ** Beckie Burnham ** Morgan L. Busse ** Jeff Chapman ** CSFF Blog Tour ** Stacey Dale ** D. G. D. Davidson ** Jeff Draper ** George Duncan ** April Erwin ** Andrea Graham ** Tori Greene ** Ryan Heart ** Timothy Hicks ** Becky Jesse ** Jason Joyner ** Julie ** Carol Keen ** Krystine Kercher ** Mike Lynch ** Rebecca LuElla Miller ** New Authors Fellowship ** John W. Otte ** Donita K. Paul ** Sarah Sawyer ** Sarah Sawyer ** Chawna Schroeder ** James Somers ** Rachel Starr Thomson ** Steve Trower ** Jason Waguespac ** Fred Warren ** Dona Watson ** Phyllis Wheeler ** KM Wilsher

Best known for her aspirations as an epic fantasy author, Becky is the sole remaining founding member of Speculative Faith. Besides contributing weekly articles here, she blogs Monday through Friday at A Christian Worldview of Fiction. She works as a freelance writer and editor and posts writing tips as well as information about her editing services at Rewrite, Reword, Rework.

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It really is a difficult question. There are so many. My favourite novels now are Stephen King’s The Stand and C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. Both explore the nature of faith, sin, suffering, free will, community and redemption. Both have hugely memorable characters – eg. Narnia: Puddleglum and Aslan, The Stand: Mother Abigail and Randall Flagg. Both are highly imaginative and challenge the reader to think deeply and are well-written.

Timothy Hicks

Becky, Great book and author suggestions. There are so many more good Christian SF/F choices available than just a few years ago.

Thanks for suggesting the Free Choice Blog Tour this month. Now we can learn about even more great stories.


E. Stephen Burnett

Becky, your question prompts me to admit something I’d rather not say. Sometimes (cringe) I, too, fall victim to my Nonfiction Side, a sort-of Evangelical Pragmatism, and fail to see the “point” in some fantasy stories. Perhaps I have not been reading the right stories? This is when I tend to opt either for science fiction, or a more-specific hybrid of fantasy and stories set in the “real world.”

Or perhaps I lean toward novels with real-world settings, yet supernatural edges. Thus I’ll say here, that in addition to the usual fantasy staples of The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings, one of my favorite novels is The Visitation by Frank Peretti.

Its setting is in the real world, and is one of the few “evangelical” novels that admits

1) there is a Church, manifested in local churches, and it factors into characters’ lives;
2) the Church and a local church are certainly not perfect;
3) imperfect churches do not have simple problems that you can easily dismiss with “well, if only they would believe this / do that, the problem might be resolved”;
4) actual, named Christian denominations exist, and have their silly idiosyncrasies β€” and can even be gently, gracious mocked without turning off readers, being heavy-handed, being too inside-jokey, or sacrifice story integrity.

Also there is the fantastic story itself, balancing action and character-driven elements in ways that Peretti had not done before β€” and hasn’t done since. (Hmm, perhaps this Thursday I’ll repost the review I wrote last year. …)


[…] √ John W. Otte √ Donita K. Paul √ Sarah Sawyer √ Chawna Schroeder James Somers √ Speculative Faith Rachel Starr Thomson √ Steve Trower Jason Waguespac √ Fred Warren Dona […]


My favorite fantasy changes every time I read a new one–besides the staples of Lord of the Rings and Narnia. Those never change.