Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hey, I sense a trend: Positive Article on Christian Fantasy in Washington Post

Not long ago, it seemed that every time we saw a news article or blog entry by an industry insider on Christian SF, it was bleak, most horribly bleak.

But in the last months, we're seeing something of an optimistic tone rising up amidst the dark predictions.

Hey, I'll take any scrap of hope they wanna toss my way.

And the latest cheering entry comes from the Washington Post:

"Christian Fantasy Genre Builds Niche Without Hogwarts, Muggles or Spells"

The first line asks: Could the next Harry Potter be a devout Christian?

Well, that ties in very nicely with the discussion that Becky Miller has been encouraging over at her blog, A Christian Worldview of Fiction.

From the Post article:

Christian fantasy, which had been a slow seller, has caught fire recently, industry analysts say, ignited by the success of the Potter series, which has sent some Christian readers looking for alternatives.

Secular and Christian publishers are churning out titles aimed at the lucrative and growing audience of readers, who are snapping up an estimated $2.4 billion in Christian books a year -- about a 30 percent increase in the past four years.

It goes on to summarize the Harry Potter controversy within Christian circles--and no, I'm not going there. You already know I'm a Potterphile, and if it's not your thing, fine. The apologetical arguments grow tiresome. If you don't like Potter, write something better without witches and with a church and prayer in it, but leave me to my Harry and alternate realities. Thanks.

TheFantasy 4 Fiction Tour gets a nice plug, too.

Then this:

More than a dozen Christian fantasy titles are due out this summer from secular publishers and large Christian publishing houses. Yesterday, Random House's Christian imprint, WaterBrook/Multnomah, which publishes several fantasy series, released "Dragon Fire," the fourth book in a series by retired teacher Donita K. Paul.

"This has definitely been a profitable genre for us," WaterBrook spokesman Joel Kneedler said.

One current hot seller is Fablehaven, a series by Mormon writer Brandon Mull that was the first Christian fantasy series to hit the New York Times children's bestseller list. The books feature a sister and brother who set out to save a preserve for enchanted creatures. Unlike the Harry Potter series, it pits people, not wizards, against evil beings.

Take note of the phrase "from secular publishers."

Those of us who have spewed our angst over where we belong--too much magic for CBA, too religious for CBA--may yet be able to hope that a secular imprint will see the benefits of publishing for the Christian readers who aren't afraid of the speculative that goes beyond allegory and the utterly uncontroversial.

We'll see.

I don't think it's a coincidence that over the past couple years--and most intensely in the last year--we've seen readers and writers of Christian SF band together, open blogs, discuss, support, encourage, promote books in blog tours, and challenge publishers to give us what we long to read.

What can I say? I'd like to see a thriving Christian SF genre before I head off to the pastures of Paradise. I mean, man, I've got grey hairs. Move it along, peeps!

In the meantime, I continue to pray for the Christian SF-supportive generation of editors to come up, the CBA Datlows and Windlings and Dozoises. (Yes, yes, someone out there give me some intercessory agreement!)

Anyone else have some nice positive reporting on Christian SF to link us up to?


1 comment:

Selena said...

My dad just called to tell me about this article too. It was funny how I had to tell him I'd already heard about it from Mir in Miami.