Library Journal Discusses the State of Christian Speculative Fiction

Christian Fantasy

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: β€œNow 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?

Comments

  • Kessie
    February 15, 2012 - 3:46 pm · Reply

    I think it’s very encouraging! It’s about time that the Christian book world started catching up. I know lots of Christian women who have read (and love) Twilight, yet the Christian publishers are only just starting to notice that bandwagon, let alone jump on it.

    • Sarah Sawyer
      February 16, 2012 - 11:37 am · Reply

      I was encouraged too, Kessie! I hope to see Christian speculative fiction make a huge impact on the market. πŸ™‚

  • Mary Ruth Pursselley
    February 16, 2012 - 12:58 pm · Reply

    I share your hopes, Sarah. I’ve been thinking for some time that the Christian Spec-Fic market would become a serious presence in the literary world. I’m so glad to see that is seems to be doing just that, and this article was very encouraging!

    • Sarah Sawyer
      February 17, 2012 - 1:10 pm · Reply

      One of the reasons I wanted to share the article was that so often we hear people speaking pessimistically about Christian speculative fiction, and I think it’s important to recognize the positive trends that are beginning to develop! It makes me glad too. πŸ™‚

  • TheQuietPen
    February 18, 2012 - 11:49 am · Reply

    This is indeed encouraging! Speculative fiction has been mainstreaming into secular fiction for years–it’s about time the Christian markets took notice. Then again, I’m slightly saddened that they’re so behind the times. I hate to think of Christian publishers “catching up” instead of setting standards. It’s probably the delicate balance between staying away from fads and close to Scripture vs. relevancy and allowing new creative writing ministries to grow.
    And publishing houses weren’t sure Christian spec fic could actually make money.
    Thanks for the update!

    • Sarah Sawyer
      February 21, 2012 - 4:58 pm · Reply

      Yes, I’m heartened that Christian publishing houses are finding ways to engage with this strong interest in speculative fiction. I know it has been a challenge for many Christian publishing houses to connect with the market that wants Christian speculative fiction, but I think it’s slowly but surely starting to happen. πŸ™‚

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