If you’re a reader or writer of Christian speculative fiction, you know that such books are in short supply compared to the number of titles that fans of the genre would like to see. In recent years, changes in the industry have provided new venues through which the genre can grow, and though there will always be naysayers, a number of authoritative voices have begun to speak positively about the fate of Christian speculative fiction. A recent genre spotlight by Library Journal falls into this category.
The spotlight article focused on Christian fiction as a whole, pointing out the ways in which boundaries have begun to stretch beyond the stereotypical historical romance read by an audience largely comprised of white, middle-aged females. In a discussion of various facets of the genre, it included a substantial section on Christian speculative fiction and highlighted several positive trends.
The article suggested that a number of the Christian publishers are expanding their speculative fiction lines, citing Thomas Nelson (HarperCollins) and FaithWords (Hatchette) and Bethany House as examples. While Thomas Nelson seems to have interest primarily in supernatural or paranormal fiction, the others have begun to publish more fantasy titles.
In addition, the article explored the role of small independent publishers and pointed to the success of Marcher Lord Press as a promising step for Christian speculative fiction. The article concluded by quoting Jeff Gerke, founder of Marcher Lord Press, who said: “Now is the time when Christian speculative fiction can come out of the shadows and begin to find its audience.”
What do you think? Is this the time for Christian speculative fiction to come into its own? Are Christian publishers truly becoming more open to speculative books?