I’m two days removed from returning from Realm Makers, the conference of conferences, the gold standard for Christian writers of spec-fic.
In its fourth year, Realm Makers has seen tremendous growth, attracting countless geeky Christian writers who love to roam the broad lands of the strange and awe-inspiring, and let their stories explode with creativity.
Sadly, this passion for all things weird and wonderful has fallen upon the hard ground of the CBA, unable to take root and flourish into the forest it could be.
Why is that? The reasons and debates have been numerous, including Why Isn’t There More Christian Fantasy. I won’t go into that now.
Coming off the exhilarating high of Realm Makers, hanging out with nearly 200 fellow spec-fic writers, I want to look on the bright side. Perhaps we’re on the edge of a trend, riding the tip of the wave of the next big thing.
In his Realm Makers follow-up post, Mike Duran summed up this optimism nicely:
One of my big takeaways from the conference is that there’s genuine momentum here. Sure, I could be over-stating this, running on fumes from a long, sleep-deprived weekend. But I don’t think so. It’s not just that a bunch of geeks have another place to congregate. It’s not just that Christian nerds now have a conference where mentioning vampires won’t provoke a nervous side-eye. It’s something… bigger.
I’ll add that at Realm Makers, I met a bunch of young writers. Guess what they’re writing and reading? In conversations I’ve been part of, I’ve heard the same thing—the younger generation loves spec-fic.
We don’t have access to a TARDIS (sadly), so we can’t know what the future holds. However, we can look at the present, and from my vantage, being a lover of spec-fic and having attended Realm Makers three years in a row, I can say that the terms “spec-fic” and “Christian” are no longer diametrically opposed.
What’s even more encouraging is the number of Christian authors churning out quality fantasy and sci-fi.
5 Excellent Authors
The Out of Time Series is one of the best I’ve read—the final book releases in October. Dystopian fiction has descended from its peak, but Nadine has created something special here. Brimming with a creative world and fascinating concepts, infused with the hope so often missing in dystopian stories, and bursting with action, these books are must-reads.
I read the first two books in his Staff and Sword Trilogy, and finally got my hands on the final book at the conference. The stories combine fast-paced action with layer upon layer of intrigue, characters you want to follow and learn about, and one of the most original heroes you’ll find.
Jill is brilliant, and I say that having only read her fantasy books. I devoured The Blood of Kings Trilogy, which included one of my favorite characters ever and the most painful (in a good way) romance you could wish for. Oh, and a unique fantasy world, an evil prince, and the battle between light and darkness.
Then we have her new series, The Kinsman Chronicles. Easily one of the best fantasy books I’ve read. Complex, unique, a vibrant story world, a cast of believable and relatable characters, and an epic similar to what you’ll find in a Brandon Sanderson fantasy. And that’s only book one.
I haven’t read the acclaimed The Wingfeather Saga yet, but my friends who have absolutely rave about it.
I read Storm Siren this summer. Not only was it beautifully told, with an original storyline and strong cast of characters, it gave me a punch to the stomach. I’m talking about the diabolically brilliant ending. It will leave you begging for book two.
The list goes on and on. Check out the SpecFaith library for a treasure trove of titles.
Spec-fic isn’t dominating, and it’s unlikely to take the place of Amish fiction anytime soon, but we’re headed in the right direction. We have Christian authors weaving fantastical tales that shed light on life’s most powerful truths while telling darn good stories along the way, even if they don’t specifically target the CBA audience.
That’s something to be excited about.
Do you think spec-fic will continue to grow in the CBA?