For the first time in almost two years, I am not personally participating in the CSFF Blog Tour. Meaning, I have not read this month’s selection and will not be posting my opinions or feedback or response to the book.
And yet, I want readers here at Spec Faith to know what’s happening in the publishing realm. Christian publishers (or the Christian arm of secular publishers) are slowly making room for speculative fiction, though they may not always admit it.
A case in point is the CSFF Blog Tour feature, The Begotten (Berkley Publishing Group), first in The Gifted series by Lisa. T. Bergren. On her web site, Lisa herself describes the books as historical, but clearly there is a supernatural component to the story.
Publisher’s Weekly calls The Begotten a spiritual thriller but then says:
Disregard Da Vinci Code comparisons and think Lord of the Rings, but without Hobbits and the allegorical trappings.
From talking with Beth Goddard who reviewed the book for the Tour committee, I labeled The Begotten supernatural suspense. However, I understand there is also a romance element too, so I guess The Gifted is one of those series that defies precise genre labeling.
Good for Lisa, I say. In my opinion, books should be read because they are intriguing, well-written, captivating, not because they fall into a certain class. Which is one reason we hold the CSFF Blog Tour. How will readers know what books are available unless someone tells them?
But it seems I am in the minority, and many readers prefer to stay within a particular genre. However, since there are so many sub-genres, we who read some form of speculative fiction bordering on a regular basis, understand one person’s all time favorite may not appear on someone else’s radar screen.
Late last February, I posted about fantasy sub-genres over at A Christian Worldview of Fiction.
The Writer’s Digest had just come out with an article about what genres are hot. Anyone who pays attention to what books and movies are currently doing well knows that fantasy is still riding high. What surprised me, however, was the number of identifiable sub-genres—twenty in all, including urban fantasy, dark fantasy, magic realism, new age, cyberpunk, steampunk, science fantasy, Arthurian, fantastic alternate history … and epic fantasy.
I find it rather amusing, then, that a publisher might have one fantasy series and think this will satisfy fantasy readers. First, we can read more than the one book a year, or in the case of those that are coming out fast and furiously, the two books a year produced by a publisher’s designated fantasy author. But add to that the fact that readers will not all like the same kind of fantasy, and it seems apparent more titles should be on the shelves of Christian bookstores and on the religion shelves of general market stores.
Here’s hoping the books out there will be so successful, publishers will be scrambling to add to their already growing list of speculative writers.
If you’re interested in what the CSFF Blog Tour participants have to say about The Begotten, take some time this week to visit these sites:
Brandon Barr/ Justin Boyer/ Jackie Castle/ Karri Compton/ CSFF Blog Tour/ Gene Curtis/ D. G. D. Davidson/ Jeff Draper/ April Erwin/ Karina Fabian/ Beth Goddard / Marcus Goodyear/ Todd Michael Greene/ Michael Heald/ Christopher Hopper/ Joleen Howell/ Jason Joyner/ Kait/ Carol Keen/ Mike Lynch/ Terri Main/ Margaret/ Melissa Meeks/ Pamela Morrisson/ John W. Otte/ Rachelle/ Steve Rice/ Ashley Rutherford/ Chawna Schroeder/ Rachelle Sperling/ Stuart Stockton/ Steve Trower/ Robert Treskillard/ Laura Williams/ Timothy Wise