Thor, a movie based on Greek mythology, has released to good reviews, and the buzz is spreading, but last night I saw my first advertisement for the final Harry Potter movie due out in July.Apparently these two are merely the dorsal fin breaking the waterline when it comes to speculative movies that will air this summer. One writer claims that one or more speculative movies will release almost every weekend — whether about Greek gods, superheroes, mutants, alien invasions, barbarians, vampires, zombies, evil mermaids, robots, boy wizards, magic or the cosmic. Titles include Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; X-Men: First Class; Green Lantern; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2; Another Earth; Cowboys & Aliens; The Future; and many more (click here to view trailers for these movies).
Apparently movies don’t have a corner on the speculative market this year. Examiner.com reports that in the fall, all TV networks are “actually catering to the sci fi and fantasy viewer by showing some interesting shows…” Some of the new titles include NBC’s Grimm and Fox’s Terra Nova.
I have several thoughts about this apparent burst of speculative stories. First, I suspect the technological advances that make it possible for movie makers to render the fantastic in a realistic way explain in part the increased number of speculative films.
In addition, I believe our postmodern culture is more open to the fantastic — whether spiritual, magical, futuristic, or alien — whereas the rationalism of the modern era discouraged such “flights of fancy.”
Supernatural stories on the little or big screen undoubtedly bode well for books. The two media seem inter-dependent. Some of the movies were born from previous print sources (books or comic books), and these movies, in turn, will foster new works of a similar kind.
The question is, where will the Christian writer fit into this explosion?
Some Christian publishers such as AMG and Zonderkidz seem to be embracing the speculative genre and are adding writers. Some authors who haven’t found a home in the Christian side of the publishing world or who wish to write for a wider audience are turning to general market houses as R. J. Anderson did. Others are seeking publication with small, independent publishers such as Marcher Lord Press and Splashdown Books. Still others are looking to self-publish, either through one of the established companies such as WinePress Publishing, through Amazon, or through one of the new self-publishing imprints traditional publishers have introduced.
Clearly, Christian speculative literature is keeping pace with the culture, though the Wild Wild West which the book industry has become makes it difficult to know how readers will actually find the books they long to read.
Perhaps a service like the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour or a community like Speculative Faith will serve as the new “gatekeepers” to let readers know what good books are out there.
What do you think? Right now, how do you find the books you read? Are you open to ebooks as much as to print books? To books by authors you’ve never heard of as much as to ones by authors who have a publishing history?
Do you rely on the opinion of a collection of readers and writers to make your book selections? For example, do you look at reviews at places like Goodreads or Amazon to help you decide which books to buy?
In your opinion, what’s the best way for readers to find the books they would love? Looking forward to your ideas.