Last week when I invited commenters to list Christian books in the speculative genre that they would add to the number I had mentioned, we received a grand total of . . . one. One. So I started wondering, are we still reading? Are we reading Christian fiction? Are we reading general fiction? Are we reading independently published books or those published by small presses?
If the latter, all the more important that we tell each other about the good books we’ve found. Traditional publishing has a number of ways of getting the word out about the books they put out. Small presses and individual authors have less resources and fewer options.
And the truth is, with the number of books available now, there really is no way to read them all. I’m a member of a Facebook group for speculative authors (actually more than one, but in this case, I’m thinking of one in particular), and I’ll be frank: though I know many of those authors, there really is no way I can read all their books. I’ve bought some, but the number I can actually read is not large. Still, I would expect some of those names to appear on a list of good books you’d recommend to others.
That wasn’t the case.
I understand some people simply prefer books put out by the general market. I’ve bought some of those, too. I mean, I totally get why people love Brandon Sanderson. His writing is fresh, intriguing, innovative.
I also understand that there are a lot of speculative story options on TV or movies, including Netflix. From horror to fantasy to science fiction, and all of the permutations of those genres, it seems like some venue is showing the stories that land in the speculative fiction lover’s wheelhouse.
But I have to come back to the Christian part of the equation. Some 15 years ago, I insisted that there was a market for Christian speculative fiction, if we would only produce it. Now I’m starting to wonder. Was I wrong? Did we Christian speculative fiction writers miss the window of opportunity? Or are people actually reading but not writing reviews, not telling others about the best books? Or have our writing skills not caught up to our storytelling skills, so that “best books” are elusive?
I wish I had some definitive answers here. But I’m honestly at a loss to know why, when prompted to share with others the books we love, we don’t have Christian speculative fiction titles to pass along. So I guess, this post is really my effort to understand the state of speculative Christian fiction as it stands today. Any thoughts you care to share would be greatly appreciated.
Plus, if you could help me out by participating in this poll, I’d really appreciate it.