1. dmdutcher says:

    I don’t think you can make quality the basis of a  healthy market. For secular speculative fiction, there’s always been a wide variety in quality across the board. Usually a market is healthy when there’s a large number of books being published of all types. There’s Hugo-award winning work, B-tier writers, c-grade military fiction, d-grade video game tie-in novels, and quite a few things that get published only because of author name. If anything, the healthier the market, the more quality problems you have: look at YA fiction at the height of the boom for an example.

    I agree writers need to step up their game, but the health of the market should be in how many writers are getting the opportunity to tell their stories.  Very few do to any real audience.

    • R. L. Copple says:

      Agree in the general market, and the desired outcome: people reading our stories.


      Still, the way to get people reading our stories is to do them so well that people want to read them. You’ll see that with the occasional breakout author like Deker. Who, incidentally, in an interview with Jeff Gerke a few years ago shied away from  calling himself a Christian Speculative writer because the term “Christian” had too much negative connotations for him when attached to novels. Rather, he sought to tell good stories and the Christian element flowed from it.  Much like what I was talking about.


      The more novels that are well written including in the area of effectively incarnating the faith into the story, the healthier it will be as a whole. People won’t tend to think of them as “Christian” whether they contain the gospel or not, because while there, it doesn’t stand up and wave its hands in the air for attention. It just shows faith in action, in the lives of believable characters and stories.  Without that, you can’t create the demand that would drive a thriving Christian Speculative fiction market.


      I’m not saying there has to be most of them of that quality, and who knows, maybe we’re already there? But we need to have enough of a percentage of such quality to draw people to the genre. If that isn’t there, other solutions are just attempts to prop up something that can’t stand on its own.


  2. DD says:

    How well do you feel the genre as a whole is incarnating Christianity into their stories?

    I’ve wondered about the value of the genre term “Speculative Fiction.” Has it just distanced writers from potential readers? If someone asks you what kind of fiction you write, and you state “Speculative Fiction” or “Fantasy,” which makes the instant connection? SpecFic covers Fantasy, Sci-Fi and some others, but is the extra layer needed? Especially when Fantasy and Sci-fi are so well-established?

    There’s no way of knowing how much this may impact the market. However, with many Christian authors debating the value of attaching “Christian Fiction” to their works, is adding another layer helpful or hurtful?

    If this all sounds basic, it is. We need to start with the basics. There’s a lot of discussion in recent posts on the state of the ChristSpecFic market. People are smart enough to figure out what SpecFic is, but the question is whether or not such a market exists.  Fantasy and sci-fi exist and people love them.

    Many people are working hard to make ChristSpecFic successful. Let’s make sure we’re not unnecessarily reinventing the wheel and flying right by the readers everyone is looking for.

    • R. L. Copple says:

      Correct. Readers aren’t going to generally know what you mean by using the term Christian Speculative Fiction. They think in terms of fantasy, science fiction, horror, etc. Likewise, when someone wants to know what I write, I don’t use the term Speculative Fiction short of deciding it is a good teachable moment. 🙂


      It is more an insiders term to refer to fiction written by a “not currently true but what if . . .” by and/or for a Christian that portrays some elements of Christian life in it. It isn’t so much a genre, but a collection of genres that fit into such a category. So when one refers to the Speculative Fiction market, it refers to the combined markets of the genres falling under that umbrella term. Not a market as a reader would perceive it, but a mega-market made up of several for insider analysis.


      This is a site dedicated to promoting Christian Speculative Fiction, thus the focus. But that focus isn’t toward marketing speculative fiction as a genre to readers, but each individual genre under that umbrella. But when we want to talk about the group as a whole, it is a lot easier to say “Christian Speculative Fiction” than to list out every possible genre and sub-genre we’re referring to.


What do you think?