While discussing my first book with a fellow Christian the other day, I found myself explaining for the umpteenth time I didn’t write “Christian” science fiction so much as science fiction with Christianity in it. Then while on the receiving end of another puzzled look, I went on to say I wanted to bring a Christian perspective to a genre and audience that has traditionally been dominated by neo-pagan, agnostic/apatheistic, or atheistic worldviews.
“Oh…” he brightened. “Like a ministry.”
Erm… not really.
While I deliberately integrate faith and devotion into my fiction, and I’ve been accused of proselytizing in doing so, I’m trying (my damnedest) not to resort to Morality-play stereotypes, evangelical tropes, and contrived ‘alter call’ moments. Others may have an element of success doing so, but I’m not interested in following their footsteps.
It’s not me, and more importantly, I don’t think that’s what fiction is for.
Now perhaps God will use my work to minister to someone, Christian or otherwise. He’s perfectly able and that would be great, but the conventional notion of preachy fiction isn’t my cuppa. At all. I have sermons and Bible studies if you want to hear me do that. Fiction is a different animal that works on different levels than straight-up declaration and exposition. Each has their place. Grace and truth remain, but they’re different vehicles that operate on different wavelengths. As I’ve said before – a novel isn’t a sermon.
REAL MEN READ FICTION
Recent rummage through the ‘net turned up this cheery news: Mike Duran’s Post on Christian Spec-Fiction and I found myself asking that ubiquitous marketing question:
Who is my target audience?
Gave it some serious thought and my answer is: Men.
Specifically Christian or other spiritually-minded men who want their action and entertainment to have a bite of realistic grit and supernatural substance. Of course anyone can read my book, but I’m writing for them. Perhaps I’m writing for myself, as well.
To further clarify, let me say I believe in and have experienced the miracle of Conversion, Regeneration and the Fruits of the Spirit, and no I don’t think MMA is any kind of discipleship template, but I am sick and tired of the insipid, predictable, saccharine tripe that’s offered by much of Christian Publishing these days. It sells, I know. There are exceptions, I know. But I don’t think that following Jesus means men have to subscribe to some kind of androgynous ideal of spirituality. Women don’t lose their unique femininity upon conversion; men shouldn’t abandon their masculinity.
(I’m sensitive about this issue. Can you tell?)
I’ll end with the obligatory Scripture reference:
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”
1 Cor. 16:13 (NASB)
Oh and buy my book, will ya? Or tell a friend.