Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy

No fantasy on this tour. It's all about the science fiction. That's because this month we focus on Wayfarer’s Journal, a site with this stated purpose:

Our mission is to develop a venue to publish and review science fiction with a spiritual dimension. Now, that doesn't mean that the fiction will be "message" oriented. I'm a big believer in the old adage, "If you want to send a message call Western Union." What you will find here are good stories with strong characters and engaging plots. However, some of the characters may have a spiritual world view and some of the plots may take place at the intersection of the scientific and the numinous.

I was not wowed by the two offerings in the poetry section. But then, it's a new magazine, and probably doesn't have the volume of subs for poetry that established mags, especially secular ones, have. In time, I hope to see improvement, as I hold a big, big soft spot for SF poetry, along with a desire to find new and good Christian SF poetry. I will say that there are moments in Terri Main's poem "A Prayer Under A Strange Sun" that offer good images and emotional tugs, especially since I share the expectations of the narrator. Of the two up for you to read, Terri's is the more successful poem.

Terri happens to be no ordinary contributor, but also editor-in-chief of Wayfarer’s Journal . Now, you know. :)

Because my eyes are still healing, and I now have to use reading glasses--a pair I ordered haven't arrived--I have not been able yet to read except for brief moments at a time. (And imagine how that feels to a bookworm! It's AGONY!) So, besides the poetry, I sampled only two stories from the latest issue. The first was a brief one called "Changed Minds" by a familiar name, Alice Roelke. The concept is reminiscent of some classic SF tales and of Twilight Zone episodes (where people try to extend life by less than ethical means, where there is an obsession with beauty), as well as referencing back to the Beauty and the Beast tale. However, the story needed more depth to succeed. The ending feels abrupt and without sufficient foundation, and the characterization's too sketchy. And yet, it does give that nostalgia factor. Come on, who didn't love TZ and B&B?

Stoney Setzer, another familiar name to those who have read DEP publications, offers a story that takes on the idea of fear, aptly titled--especially for a science fiction novel set out there on a Martian moon--"Phobos." This is marred early on by As You Know, Bob and later by unintentinally comical dialogue. (Example: "Aiieee" and "AARGH." The latter I don't expect to see as an actual distressed sound coming from a human being.) I'd have preferred to see snapshots or other presentations of the actually outworking of the phobias. Still, it's a solid SF premise, that of facing our deepest fears, especially when that there is a civilization that can use those fears against us via special abilities. What can one trust? What can one believe? When will one succumb? Is autophobia your big fear? Stoney offers considerable conflict and a setting that space-oriented SF afficionados will enjoy.

Please drop by the magazine and read some of what's published. If you love it, let Terri know, so that she can get an idea of what readers want more of--or less of.

And be aware that Terri is moving away from the usual "issue" model:

One plan I have right now is to move away from the "magazine" model of a story site. This model is one which has "issues" coming out at a set interval. One of the advantages of the web is that you can update a site at any time. We get enough material to be adding some new material every month, but not enough to create a whole new issue. Simply updating the site when something new and interesting comes in would create a dynamically changing destination on the web. It would also shorten the time for writers between acceptance and publication of their work.

For those of you wishing to submit your creative work, the author guidelines for Wayfarer’s Journal may be found HERE. This is a modestly paying market--but hey, money. Money's good!

I wish Terri and WAYFARER'S JOURNAL plenty of great subs and long may she publish. It's always good to see another paying venue for Christian SF, no matter how modestly, and hey, I've volunteered and still do at modestly paying venues. I dream of the day our CSF mags/sites will be able to pay well and publish better and better and..the BEST!

Brandon Barr
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Grace Bridges
Amy Browning
Jackie Castle
Carol Bruce Collett
Valerie Comer
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Chris Deanne
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Marcus Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Jill Hart
Katie Hart
Michael Heald
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Mike Lynch
Rachel Marks
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika or Mir's Here
John W. Otte
John Ottinger
Steve Rice
Cheryl Russel
Ashley Rutherford
Hanna Sandvig
James Somers
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespac
Laura Williams
Timothy Wise

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