In my previous blog Announcing Death Ship I touched on the subject of Christian Science Fiction. I mentioned that to my knowledge CSF is not an existing genre. But there are significant differences between CSF and your run of the mill SF. Let’s do a review.
What is Christian Science Fiction? It is:
- Space travel
- Warp drive
- Alien animals
- Exotic weapons
- Far off planets
- and more.
Just like science fiction. But the difference lies in what is missing. There:
- A Christian worldview
- No alien intelligent beings
- No vulgar language
- No extreme graphics
Why not just operate within traditional Science Fiction?
I may just end up doing that. But if I do I will probably continue to tag it as Christian Science Fiction. Why? Because I don’t want to deceive my potential audience. They will never see some being from another planet who is alien rather than human. Animals, may tend to be exotic, gigantic, or have other unearthly features but nothing that evokes evolution (evolution is non-Christian and is best known as Humanistic Evolution). While there may be Christians that actually believe in evolution it is a sign of their lack of Bible knowledge. So I will be upfront with them and anyone else who prefers traditional science fiction.
Is there a market for CSF?
I really don’t know and it would be very difficult to ascertain as this time. Since there isn’t any definitive genre as CSF it makes research that much harder. Having said that, I believe that the Left Behind series by LaHaye and Jenkins and other End Times novels are at least futuristic and possibly borderline science fiction. The only thing keeping them from being considered such is the lack of space travel, etc.
Probably my biggest argument for Christian Science Fiction is my personal preferences. Our world has been and is plagued by the nonsensical belief in evolution. It defies observable science, masquerades as scientific fact when it can only accurately be called a scientific theory. To be a fact it MUST be observable and repeatable which it is not (which is why Creationism is also a theory).
While it is possible that characters in my books may swear, I never allow the words to be spelled out. I have been against using swearing words in print long before I ever wrote my first book or (for that matter) became a Christian. It doesn’t add anything to a novel, often detracts from the book, and is just in bad taste. People who favor its use usually talk about reflecting the reality world; that everyone swears. But that isn’t any truer than to say everyone is slim. Some people swear a lot, some swear moderately, some swear a little, and some don’t swear at all. Let the reader supply the words just like they did in older fiction with symbols.
So the question was is there a market for CSF and I believe the answer is probably yes. Unless I am an aberration (a definite possibility) then there are others out there who believe the same as I do whether or not they are Christians. They may not be a huge market but they could be a decent size and profitable market.
How realistic can CSF be?”
Actually, it is more realistic than traditional science fiction. Somewhere within the story line there must be a track back to the Earth we know. Since I am, for example, establishing a whole new world there needs to be answers to how it all came to be. Death Ship will answer a lot of those questions. The next 2 books will provide additional answers even while speculative science becomes more pronounced.
There is another idea about reality. Star Trek and Star Wars books, and similar stories, create new worlds that have little, if any, relation to what is presently known about space. My book actually reflects a discovery about a real planet relatively close to Earth. It is possible, I suppose, for other CSF writers to invent imaginary worlds. I have no opposition to this since in fact I do invent an imaginary planet. But generally speaking the more often the reader can identify a real planet or weapon or anything else, the better.
Why do you emphasize the reader’s imagination?
I do that for any genre. And the answer is simple: A reader’s imagination is a tool that every successful writer seeks to stimulate and use. I make use of it in all my books. There are successful writers that I don’t like (their books) who violate my principles but they are still trying to make use of imagination. That is where graphics comes into play. Graphics are word pictures that can go to the nth degree.
As a writer you may have an ideal reader in mind, but you really don’t know what that reader is bringing to the table. Too much graphics can turn them off; too little graphics can be boring. That is the difficult part, finding the middle road that appeals to the widest audience without the author selling out.
But more important than that is the fact that it is the reader who determines the success or failure of a book. Some readers have very little imagination and some a great deal, but how they understand the book is directly related to their imagination. When I write a scene it at first reflects strictly my imagination. My job as a writer is to try to put myself in the reader’s shoes and edit the scene appropriately. Not an easy job, but important.
Do you think they’ll create a Christian Science Fiction genre?
Short answer is probably not. If authors start writing SCF books that prove to be successful then there will be pressure to create such a genre. I do believe that it will take time, perhaps years.
Do you plan on writing other CSF books other than Christland?
At this time the answer is no. Christland will involve a number of books over a period of years. That will keep me busy. Especially since I plan to write at least two more World That Was books and perhaps other Bible based books in the future.
Since I am now 75 it is safe to assume that such writings will take me into my 80’s and 90’’s.
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), or World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One of Christland) I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review Death Ship.’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).
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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to email@example.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.