1. D.M. Dutcher says:

    Hero, Second Class by Mitchell Bonds is a good fantasy-comedy.

    Running Black by Pat Todoroff is well done cyberpunk reminiscent of Bruce Sterling.

    Calvin Miller’s “Guardians of the Singreale” is good if you can find it. It’s tolkien-inspired, but manages to make it’s own identity. He also wrote the poem the Singer, too.

    I like Caffeine by Ryan Grabow. It really connected with me.

    Christopher Stasheff’s “Her Majesty’s Wizard” was written as a challenge; he noticed far too many medieval-themed fantasies totally ignored religion, so he made one that didn’t. He also wrote “Saint Vidicon to the Rescue,” which wasn’t as good, but was also one of the few explicitly Christian books in the secular market at that time.

    Cordwainer Smith’s “Nostrillia” is a must-read, as are his short stories about the Instrumentality of Man. 

    Zenna Henderson’s “The People” stories are good to read as well.

    “The Wanderer’s Daughter” by Justyn Walker is a great one too, though more for kids.

    I have a bunch of honorable mentions too, but as a reader these are the books I found very enjoyable.

  2. Literaturelady says:

    Thank you for sharing your list; I enjoyed it!  It’s so much fun to see the books other people like.  I enjoy some of Stephen Lawhead’s works myself; specifically, his Song of Albion trilogy.  The man has such a way with words.
    My ‘favorites’ taste leans toward fantasy as well.  🙂  Here’s my list:
    The Knights of Arrethtrae series by Chuck Black.  It’s amazing the simple power his allegories have.  The best in the series are Sir Bentley (my favorite!) and Sir Kendrick.  The other books would benefit from some fleshing out.
    Auralia’s Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet.  This one was devoured in two days and became a favorite overnight.  Absolutely beautiful.  I’m bouncing impatiently while I wait for Raven’s Ladder to get here.  🙂
    Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.  I read this three or four times a year, and I could buy 500 copies and and shell them out to friends, family, and complete strangers…
    The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.  Hilarious, creative, and quite the sign of the times!
    I also enjoy Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, The Prydain Chronicles, selected works by George MacDonald, and Out of the Silent Planet by C. S. Lewis.  But the list up there are a few of my especial favorites.

  3. bad_cook says:

    I don’t really qualify, as the only one I’ve actually read is Shannon Dittemore’s “Angel Eyes,” but this is the Internet, and I can spew my opinion anyway. I don’t care for that book. There were some potentially interesting ideas, but I didn’t like the execution. There was only one, maybe two characters that I didn’t end up finding tedious, and sadly, the main, first-person-perspective character wasn’t one of them.

    • I remember you saying something like that before, bad_cook. I was surprised then and am now. I thought the main character was so true to a person in grief, especially experiencing a violent, traumatic death. I thought the gradual change throughout the story was believable and natural. She wasn’t just OK the day after she met Jake.

      But as I said in this post, the thing I liked the most was how true the story was to the Bible–in all respects. That’s not easy to pull off, and Shannon did a great job. I know from the CSFF Blog Tour that she’s won over more than me of the self-avowed “don’t like angel books” crowd.


  4. Emma Engel says:

    Let’s see. You already got many of my favorites: Angel Eyes, Dragons of the Watch, Safe Lands, Tales of Goldstone Woods, and Song of Lyric.

    To these I’ll add:

    Firebird Series by Kathy Tyers – These were my entry point into adult Christian speculative fiction so it naturally holds a special place in my heart. But like all of Mrs. Tyers’ book they are very, very good. I tend to think of Firebird as the “space opera” of Christian SF.

    The Gates of Heaven by C.S. Lakin – As much as a love retellings and twists on faerie tales, there’s nothing quite like someone who embraces the genre and uses it to make their own stories. I think the closest comparisons I have for these are George MacDonald’s books.

    The Bracken Trilogy by Jeri Massi – Speaking of George MacDonald, these YA novels are based on the old “wise woman” tales that he also employed. Even though they are meant for younger kids, like all good stories they can be enjoyed by everyone.

    Oxygen/The Fifth Man by John B. Olson and Randy Ingermanson – I was a huge NASA nut as a kid (less so these days with the direction the program’s taken) and actually found these novels thanks to the involvement of Shannon Lucid. She’s been one of my heroes for as long as I can remember and finding out she advised for a Christian science fiction novel about the first manned trip to Mars was so exciting.

    Everything by Timothy Zahn – Like Kathy Tyers, I’m not certain if Mr. Zahn actually belongs on this list since all his books are published by secular publishing houses. (Many of hers have been reprinted by Christian imprints though.) However, he is openly Christian, and it is very much reflected in his books, particularly Deadman’s Switch and Angelmass. Deadman’s Switch is one of his best with the plot revolving around the struggle of a telepath to understand the morals and ethics of his gift.

    • D.M. Dutcher says:

      Citation? I’ve read Timothy Zahn from Cascade Point and Cobra on, and I don’t think he’s openly Christian. His stories are good SF, and free of the atheistic bias many in the genre have, but this is the first I’ve heard of him being so

      • Emma Engel says:

        If you follow his Facebook page you can pick it up based on many of his comments (wearing a Star Wars costume to Bible study stands out) but I’ve also gotten to talk with him several times in person. I guess my wording might have been misleading. He isn’t standing on a table and shouting about it, but he isn’t trying to hide it or downplay it either.

  5. Alassiel says:

    I noticed that Jill Williamson’s book The New Recruit is on the list of nominees, but it isn’t speculative fiction. It’s a great book, but it’s a spy adventure story and doesn’t really have speculative elements.

    • Alassie, since all Marcher Lord Press publishes is speculative fiction, it’s apparent there’s enough speculation in The New Recruit to qualify. There are some visions, if you recall, which some people might say isn’t speculative at all but real. However, when the spiritual breaks through into the natural in exceptional ways (not everyone has visions), then I think that qualifies as supernatural suspense. Some people might expect angels and demons at least for stories with that designation. I don’t think God’s supernatural power is limited in that way, so having a story that shows a different level of the supernatural is good, I think.


  6. Steve Taylor says:

    One of my favorite trilogies ever was The Pearlsong Resounding by Michael D. Warden. Books one and two (Gideon’s Dawn and Waymaker) were spaced far apart and book three has never been completed. There are many of us prodding the author to get moving but so far the years keep passing with no release.
    There are many great Christian spec books out there and these first two books stand out as some of the best. If I were to list all the books I’ve really enjoyed I’d be typing all day. 
    If any of you know Michael please kick him for me. I mean kick-start him for me. Thanks

    • Steve, I was so excited when Gideon’s Dawn came out. I was a fan of Stephen Donaldson and the Thomas Covenant series, after all, and this book was cut from the same cloth. Plus, I was thrilled that a Christian house was putting out a hard core epic fantasy series.

      What a disappointment when the series stalled. I know from the editor’s point of view, this failure put a dent into that one house’s regard for fantasy. Such a sad situation.

      But it’s nice to meet another reader who enjoyed at least the beginning of The Pearlsong Resounding.


  7. Kessie says:

    I’m relieved to see that I know most of the titles on the list, even if I haven’t read them all yet. What fun!
    I just finished rereading Linnets and Valarians by Elizabeth Goudge. We only discovered her because she was on Rowling’s list of books that influenced Harry Potter. It’s lovely fantasy set in 1912 England, and the kids have to help undo a terrible curse on a prominant family in the village. 
    But what freaked me out was her author’s note in the back, talking about the real village, the white and black witches, the friendly elves, and a strange disappearing wood. These were all things the villagers had told her and she hasn’t room for them in the book.
    I know she was a Christian–her books are full of glorious grace and salvation–but how does a modern Christian tackle Magick, and voodoo, and elves, and the in-between realm? I find that it doesn’t fit in my nice Christian boxes.

  8. Kessie says:

    Also, it’s really ashame that Bid the Gods Arise by Robert Mullin didn’t make it onto the list. Maybe his series will get big enough so that not having a publisher won’t matter.

  9. UKSteve says:

    Just looking through this conversation is reminding how many Christian spec-fic titles are still on my ‘to read’ list!
    Among those I have read and enjoyed in the past: The Enclave by Karen Hancock, Austin Boyd’s Mars Hill Classified trilogy, and Offworld by Robin Parrish (which would make an awesome Doctor Who story) come to mind.
    More recently, The Bright Empires series is ticking most of my boxes; although I’d rather see a less well-known author get recognition in the CSA. Probably Greg Mitchell, because Rift Jump is on my ‘to read’ list.
    My all time favourite though – and still the book I wish I’d written – is Imaginary Jesus. I just love that Mikalatos humour!

    • UK Steve, I almost added Austin Boyd’s Mars Hills Classified trilogy. Can an eyelash away. 😉

      I’m with you re. Mikalatos. He has a middle grade fantasy out now, and it’s good, but I love his humor in the adult books.

      And yes, Stephen Lawhead already has name recognition, but these Bright Empires books–my favorite of his, without a doubt.


  10. Robert Mullin says:

    Becky, Michael Warden completed his trilogy and self-published through Lulu, so you can read the rest of it if you are interested. (I wish he had used Createspace, as I think they have higher quality covers due to the laminating, but that’s a minor quibble.)
    Kessie, thanks for being such a stalwart champion of Bid the Gods Arise!  Crimson Moon Press is indie, so I suspect that it wouldn’t qualify, but I really appreciate the nomination!  

    • Marcher Lord Press is Indie, so that’s not an issue. If it’s royalty paying and meets the other qualifications, then it can be nominated.

      I haven’t checked in on Michael Warden in years. Steve, above, is of the mindset that he published the second book but not the third. I knew of Wayfarer but this is the first that I’ve heard he published the third as well. Thanks for the info, Robert.

  11. Robert Mullin says:

    I apologize; it is not yet out. Odd, because I remember seeing the cover on Lulu. I wonder if he withdrew it to make revisions?  Anyway, here is a link to the third book on his website, currently listed as in the process of being written.

  12. Steve Taylor says:

    Michael Warden started writting book three on his blog and when it was completed he was going to have it published. Sadly he stopped at chapter 2 and hasn’t written any more in a hounds tooth.  Hopefully he’ll read this and know that there are those of us out here that would really like to see him finish his work. If he keeps up with the first two books, the trilogy could easily become a classic.

  13. […] speaking of books, don’t forget to pick the books that look most interesting to you from the list of Clive Staples Award nominees, and read, read, read. We want YOU to be an eligible […]

  14. Marion says:

    Here’s my list:  
    1) Trophy Chase Trilogy and Blaggard’s Moon by Polivka.  The trilogy and prequel were fun reading and engrossing.  Wondering if he’s publishing anything soon?
    2) Daughter of Light by Busse.  It’s a solid debut novel and I just got the sequelSon of Truth and I’m looking forward to reading it.
    3) Child Goddess by Louise Marley.  An excellent story where science meets Catholicism due to children on a distant planet that can’t not age and could be considered immortal.  Kudos to the author for showing both science and religion in a fair light as possible without condemning one or the other.
    4) The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell.  This novel has jumped onto my favorite novels list after reading it at the end of 2012.  I have given several copies of this novel away in the last few weeks ago and those people have enjoyed it.
    The story of Jesuit Priests leading a first contact mission that all goes wrong and one survivor tells his side of the story to his father superiors in Rome.  This is the best novel I’ve read in some in dealing with a crisis of faith.  It should be a must read for all enjoy the Christian Speculative Fiction genre.
    5) The Captives (Safe Lands #1) by Jill Williamson.  This was recommended to me by Becky.  I’m over halfway through and I liked it.  Engaging and readable.  I will post a full review when I’m finished.

    • Steve Taylor says:

      I have to agree that The Trophy Chase Trilogy should be on the list. I thought the writing was fantastic and the storyline very unusual. I loved the blending of fantasy, the real Bible and an adventurous swashbuckling tale.
      As someone who came out of Catholicism I don’t read their books anymore but I did find Athol Dickson’s Lost Mission to be very good and fair on the religion. If you haven’t read it I highly recommend it.

      • Marion says:

        I have read Lost Mission and Opposite of Art by Athol Dickson. He has become one of my favorite novelists. I didn’t include them on my list because those books had a magical realist bent and not speculative. Otherwise, I would have included those novels.
        I would definitely recommend The Sparrow. A very powerful novel!

What do you think?