So Many Books
After the feedback I received last week, specifically how Spec Faith visitors would like to know more about the Christian speculative fiction that’s coming out, I thought I’d do a little research and make a short list of books that look intriguing, that we might all want to put on our to be read lists.
Well, I’d have to say finding good books is harder now than ever before. I went to Amazon first, thinking they list books in categories. Sure enough, I quickly located the Religion & Spirituality : Christian Books & Bibles : Christian Fiction : Fantasy list. I clicked sort by publication date which called up, what I assumed would be the list I could share with you all.
However, the first couple pages were books that have not released yet. In addition, there were books that clearly did not belong in the category. One identified itself as WWII Historical Fantasy, another as lesbian erotica. OK . . . So clearly, selecting books for this list was going to take a bit more work!
I scanned titles and clicked on a few that seemed promising. One had a book description that had me wondering if it was, in fact, Christian. I went to the customer reviews and began to read. Some were glowing . . . excepted they were written back in 2011. This book, despite its brand spanking new publication date, was not a new book at all.
As an alternative, I also searched Books > Religion & Spirituality > Fiction > Science Fiction & Fantasy. The results here were worse than the first effort. Many seemed to be supernatural, angel versus demon struggles. A good many others looked like end-times stories, and a bunch more seemed to be unconnected to the genre, either the spirituality end or the speculative end. Even he ones that identified as religious, there was no indication if that religion was Christian. Apart from going to each page and reading the description and reviews, I couldn’t figure out how to cull the list to those I could set before you with any confidence.
I decided the next step would be to look at the books Christianbook.com listed. Yes, they had a “fiction, science fiction & fantasy” section. Yes, I could sort by publication date. Except their list also included picture books. OK, just a little more to sort through. But surely I could find a list of the most recent releases. Except once again, a book that had recently come out in a Kindle version garnered a recent publication date, so all kinds of older books surfaced as if they were new. There were also some series collections. In other words, lots of books.
I eventually came across some authors whose names I recognized. One was a writer I’ve actually met in real life. We were in a critique group together for one week. I really like his writing and was thrilled to see he had something new out. Except, when I looked at the description, I discovered it’s just a short story. A good one, though, I think. The story is called “Time Jump: Apocalypse” and the author is Brandon Barr. Here’s the product description:
Time Jump: Apocalypse . . . an end of the world short story
Jack Henshaw and the millions left alive on Earth are desperately looking towards a time jumper to help them elude the cataclysmic disasters wreaking havoc across the globe. If a jump is successful, those seeking refuge might maintain some semblance of civilization. The problem is, there are only two men genetically able to handle the extremes of a time jump . . . and one of them has been lost. Henshaw, the head of NASA’s JUMP program must race time and disasters to unravel the mystery of the first jumper’s disappearance, all the while struggling to find the answers to his own urgent question: What is causing Earth to destruct . . . and why has his wife vanished without a trace?
Doesn’t sound like a typical Christian end of the world story at all. And it’s only a short story . . .
The hunt for new books continued. I came across the books that Enclave will be releasing this spring. Since we already mentioned them in a news item, I didn’t think repeating them here would actually be adding anything new. I had found one book last week that I hope to include in our Fiction Friday series, and which actually gave me the idea for this post. Because I was coming up nearly empty, I decided to share the description of the book here. The author many of you know since she used to write for Spec Faith. I’m talking about Yvonne Anderson, and the book is The Last Toqeph (Gateway to Gannah Book 4):
While traveling through desolate terrain, Adam stumbles upon an impossibility: a village of Old Gannahan survivors. Hard to believe. Harder yet, it seems one of them is the true heir to the throne.
Will Adam right an ancient wrong and lose his inheritance? Or ignore the truth and lose his integrity?
Book 4 is a little problematic for a reader just coming to the series. So maybe the best thing is to start with book 1. However, one reviewer came to the series with this book first and had this to say:
Yvonne Anderson does something that I wish other authors would do- she includes a detailed preface for people like yours truly who have not read her previous books in the series.
In my search I did recognize another author’s name: Cindy Koepp. Her new release is Interference The Web Surfer Series – Volume 4. Again the Volume 4 part is a little problematic for those of us who have not read Volumes 1-3, but here’s the description:
One of the Web Surfer AI’s many personas is Sander’s sister, Lexus. Sander must stop her from attacking one user for another user.
At the turn of the Twenty-Second Century, cyberspace had no bad AIs, only bad coders. However, AIs measure their lives in days, eternity is out of their reach, and they fail to bring about the advent of a holy infant in cyberspace. Alexander Lloyd McGregor is an infant, but he isn’t holy, and only he is saved from death by his father converting his cells into biological supercomputer components. The child develops an AI mind called Sander and a human mind called Alex. Sander is a bad AI subjected to slavery’s chains to get him to obey his code as he serves a billion users all around the world. He’s also a king who reigns over most of Earth’s computers, in a global society where tech-dependency can kill. Freedom’s calling to Sander like a siren. His answer could shake the earth.
I don’t want to just rely on authors I know, however. Plenty of good authors I’m not familiar with yet are out there. So I’ll add Beneath the Forsaken City, #2: Song of Seare Series by C.E. Laureano (I think we have the first book in the series here in the Spec Faith library). Here’s the description:
Conor and Aine have barely escaped Seare with their lives. Conor knows he must return to find the harp that could end the Red Druid’s reign of terror, but in the midst of their escape, he and Aine are torn apart once more. Surrounded by despair and thrown into as much danger as they left behind, Conor and Aine must cling to the whispers of Comdiu’s plans for them and the homeland that depends on their survival. But at what cost? Will they learn to depend on Comdiu completely? Or will they give up hope?
I also came across a middle grade novel published by a general market house, Katherin Tegen Books: The Castle Behind Thorns by Merrie Haskell
Sand is a blacksmith apprentice who wakes up, alone, in a ruined castle, with no memory of how he got there or why. . . but the thorny brimbles that grow on the walls of the castle prevent him from leaving. Doing what he knows, he lights up the castle’s forge to mend what he needs. But these things are working even better than they did before. . . is there magic involved?
Sand finds the castle’s lost heir, and the two work together to uncover the secrets behind the castle’s mysteries.
Here’s one I found amid the Amazon offerings that has me intrigued. I don’t know anything about the author, Heather Letto, other than what she put in her bio. The book is Impervious (The Ascension Series Book 1). Yea for book 1! Here’s the description:
The residents of Impervious survived the War of Annihilation. And though the city is chock full of pleasures to tantalize and entertain, a Beast lurks in its corners. This Beast has destroyed most of Generations One, Two and Three. Therefore as Gen-Four prepares to take the stage, a provocative, yet questionable, method to avoid an untimely death becomes a cultural rage.
Fran is counter-cultural, living off the grid in true Rebel fashion. Her life is far from opulent as she scurries through dark tunnels, searching for hot meals and ditching the holographic security team. Yet, it’s a healthy trade-off. Unaccountability means The Council can’t wrap their cold fingers around her sliver of hope in the the Epoch–an end to the madness.
With the Beast on her tail, Fran grasps painfully onto this splintered sliver until, through a miraculous discovery, a new hope is born…
If she can she outrun the Beast.
In all this, I’m more convinced than ever that we here at Spec Faith need your eyes and ears. What books do you know about that have recently become available? Maybe you haven’t read them yet, but you’ve heard about them and you’re intrigued. Because the truth is, there are just so many books out, it’s really, really hard to sort through them all to find the ones which could become our favorites.
Out of Darkness Rising by Gillian Bronte Adams is a new fantasy novel releasing soon! It’s cover is simply jaw-dropping, and Gillian has already proved herself a beautiful writer in Orphan’s Song.
Rooglewood Press is releasing their second collection of fairytale retellings that include genres of fantasy and sci-fi, Five Enchanted Roses. The first collection, Five Enchanted Slippers, was simply amazing. And its fascinating sci-fi retelling is continuing in a series called The Cendrillon Cycle by Stephanie Ricker.
Siren’s Fury by Mary Weber – Volume #2 in the Storm Siren trilogy comes out in June.
The First Principle by Marissa Shrock was just published in December.
Random search isn’t the best method.
My novel Servant was just added to the library here at Speculative Faith. It involves exorcism and spiritual gifts that are so refined they’re almost like superpowers. (Regrettably, unlike my characters, I have no superpowers at all.)
I just finished Emissary by Thomas Locke (aka Davis Bunn). It’s the first in its series and I enjoyed it! Epic fantasy complete with wizards and elves.
Breeder by Casey Hays came out a year ago, and the sequel came out in November. I haven’t read the sequel yet, but I really liked the first book. Yes it’s another dystopia, but it didn’t feel trite.
How many people are familiar with Shelley Adina? I really enjoyed her steampunk series – – Lady of Devices. They’ve been out for awhile though, I think.
I keep a shelf of Christian-speculative books at goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/7363329-lauren?shelf=christian-speculative
Feel free to check it out for more ideas!
Wayne Thomas Batson has a novel up, The Misadventures of Strylun and Xerk.
The erotica book…was it Raven’s Hand? I downloaded the sample because I had seen James Somers’ books on Kindle before, but the opening was definitely not what I expected. No sex, but two whippings and a lot of focus on bare skin. The weird thing was that the second chapter seemed like normal fantasy.
I’m downloading a bunch of free samples to check things out. It is hard. The bad thing about a genre driven mostly by indies and small presses is that there’s no real central marketing or destination where you can find new releases easily.
Wonderful titles! Thank you all very much. David, the erotic one actually had that as a subtitle, so I don’t think it was James’s book. I honestly don’t remember the title. I thought at the time that somehow Amazon had a glitch in their sorting system and a couple books that didn’t belong in the category slipped through.
But you all have given me more books to explore than all that searching I did.
Lauren, I don’t hang out at Goodreads much. I did try to access your bookshelf but I guess we have to be friends. I tried to add you, but I’m not sure it went through (amid my needing to log in since it had been so long since my last visit).
At any rate, please keep the suggestions coming, either here or in the comments section of any of my posts. I really appreciate this a lot.
Just came across a series I think may fit – the Mindwar Game trilogy by Andrew Klavan? It’s virtual reality based – a gamer recruited to fight real-life bad guys in a virtual reality world – “what happens to you in this virtual world affects your body in real life.”