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The Lost Genre Guild

As part of the CSFF Blog Tour, I’m featuring the Lost Genre Guild today. I’ve been a member of the organization for nearly two years now, though my level of participation has fallen off considerably of late. As I understand […]
| Dec 31, 2008 | No comments |

As part of the CSFF Blog Tour, I’m featuring the Lost Genre Guild today. I’ve been a member of the organization for nearly two years now, though my level of participation has fallen off considerably of late. As I understand it, LGG has over 130 members, which means they are nearly as large an organization as CSFF. Of course, I’m not the only one who belongs to both groups. The point is, however, that between us, we have a growing number of people with interest in promoting the “lost genre”—Christian or Biblical speculative fiction.

What I discovered today in reading some of the other tour posts has given me pause. In one comment at least, the Lost Genre Guild is painted as an alternative to the “CBA monopoly.” Several tour participants observed that the Guild Review, set up at the LGG site as a review of books in the lost genre, contain only a handful of books that are available, none from the CBA.

My thinking has been that many writers have grown frustrated with waiting for changes in Christian publishing. I’m not sure why those writers haven’t pursued publication with general market presses. Maybe they have, with no success. The point is, for whatever reason, a considerable number of speculative writers have self-published or utilized the services of small houses or alternative publishing sources. And shouldn’t we all come together and support one another?

Quite honestly, the CBA did have a monopoly for some time, but what is breaking the hold of that organization over Christian fiction in general and speculative specifically, is Barnes & Noble, Borders, Walmart, and the like. Christian fiction is now welcome in general market stores. Publishers Weekly even had an article about general market publishers producing some Christian fiction through their non-religious imprint so that the books will find their way onto shelves next to other mysteries, suspenses, romances, and fantasies.

In other words, I think the biggest agent of change (humanly speaking) in Christian fiction is in the distribution and shelving. As the fiction from Christian authors becomes available to wide ranges of audiences, fewer restrictions will be in place. This is good … and bad in my view.

Good, because a wider range of stories will be accepted, including more fantasy and science fiction, as the market dictates. Good, because many writers want to write stories with non-Christians as their target audience, but since non-Christians don’t generally buy from CBA stores, those books have not been picked up by Christian publishers.

Bad, because anything can now be called “Christian,” if the author claims to be a Christian. Many Christian writers say that their “Christian worldview” will inevitably come out in their fiction. I dispute this, though there is an element of truth—when I write for the newspaper, my Christian worldview comes out by my choosing to write truthfully, for instance, though readers aren’t going to pick up on that.

But here’s the bottom line. Shouldn’t we who want to see more Christian speculative fiction support it no matter what form or from what venue it comes to the reader? I don’t see the value of segregating traditional from non-traditional. In other words, I’d like to see the Lost Genre Guild include on the Guild Review books by CBA authors. I personally think that can only help all concerned. If a link for a Donita Paul book review puts a reader on the Guild Review page where there are dozens of other lesser known books, how can this do anything but help the cause of speculative fiction?

Just my opinion.

Check out what others on the tour are buzzing about:

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