Several weeks ago author R. J. Anderson who has been a guest blogger here at Spec Faith, left a comment to my post “Who Reads Speculative Fiction?” regarding Christians writing fiction in the general market. She named a handful of authors, herself included, and said
But none of these authors were published in the CBA, so many Christians looking for good speculative fiction don’t know enough to seek them out. It seems that between the Christian authors writing for the ABA and those writing for the CBA there is a great gulf fixed, and there are really very few resources out there to help readers close the gap.
The point of my article was that there seems to be a gap between readers and Christian speculative fiction published by Christian imprints, but I also agree with R. J. Besides the gap I identified, I think there is also a gap between Christians writing and publishing in the CBA, those doing so with independent presses, those self-publishing, and those publishing in the ABA. In other words, we are a somewhat fractured community. Rather than working in unity, we seem content to support and encourage only those who are like us.
How different that approach is to the one the Mormons take with writers such as Orson Scott Card, Shannon Hale, and Stephenie Meyer.
The issue is complicated, I’ll agree–Christianity itself is a rather lumbering bride with disjointed parts. We know we have unity of purpose and a future we will share, we know we are part of the same family, but some family members don’t talk to one another, and a few are considered black sheep. Add in this detail: not everyone claiming to be a family member actually is.
OK, so how do we sort this out? Or do we simply remain cloistered in our safe haven of the known and accepted People Who Are Like Us?
I’d say, for those who are reticent, for whatever reason, to read Christian speculative fiction, general market fiction written by Christians is a viable option. R. J. Anderson gave us a start by naming a handful of young adult writers.
Perhaps the newest is Jessica Khoury, a twenty-three year old from small-town Georgia writing young adult science fiction. Her debut novel, Origin, came out September, 2012. From the introduction to one interview: ” ORIGIN is about jungles and science, doing what’s right, and making sacrifices to do it.”
Veronica Roth, a native of Chicago, may be the best known of the writers R. J. named. Her debut novel Divergent, a young adult dystopian, opened in the top ten of the New York Times bestseller list. She has since published the sequel Insurgent, and the as yet untitled third in the trilogy is due out in October.
At forty-one, D. M. Cornish is the senior member of this group and hails from South Australia. He is the author of the young adult high fantasy Monster Blood Tattoo trilogy (Foundling, Lamplighter, and Factotum), known in the US and Canada as The Foundling’s Tale.
With six books to her credit and another due out in a year, Canadian R. J. Anderson is the veteran of the four. Her young adult novels include the fairy books *Knife, *Rebel, Arrow, Swift, and coming in 2014, Nomad. She’s also written the young adult science fiction/psychological thrillers Ultramarine and the just released Quicksilver.
*Released in the US under the titles Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter and Wayfarer respectively.
R. J. doesn’t wear her Christianity on her sleeve a la Tim Tebow, but neither does she shy away from a discussion of her faith. For example, this from one of her online interviews:
Do you believe that there’s another world out there?
Well, as a Christian I believe in a supernatural realm which exists beyond the physical and is actually more, not less, significant than what we’re currently experiencing. I think that philosophy underlies all my stories — the idea of another world unknown to us but no less real because of it. But do other inhabited planets exist which support alien life? I think probably not — but it wouldn’t bother me if there were, either.
To this list I’d also add N. D. Wilson, who I profiled here at Spec Faith last July.
What Christians writing speculative fiction in the general market would you add? How can we support them, or do you see no need for Christians rallying around one another for that purpose?