Wednesday, May 09, 2007

You're It!

I've been tagged! Both on the Christian Writers Notebook and on Shoutlife!

What is it to be tagged? Well, according to HRH (who tagged me, btw) "Tagging is a game played in the blogging community whereby one blogger writes up his or her own list on a certain topic and then "tags" a certain number of other bloggers to respond with their own lists on the same topic."

The first rule of the game, however, is to post the rules of the game. Here they are:

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
4. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

And, here we go . . .

Eight Random Facts about Me

#1 I make Raman Noodles in my coffee maker (and have been known to leave in the old coffee filter—but hey, I like coffee too. Upon hearing the story of the "coffee noodles," my future mother-in-law asked (with no small amount of concern) my then fiancĂ©, "Do you know what the h*ll you are getting yourself into?"

#2 I remarried four years ago after vowing to never do it again, to a woman I met by chance, on-line. I figured I was safe enough since she lived in Vancouver, B.C. and I was 2000+ miles away in Indiana and we chatted/ emailed daily. Even our first face-to face meeting occurred because of a misunderstanding: while in chat we mentioned that it would be nice to meet some day and somewhere in that conversation she thought I had invited her to fly to the midwest and hummed and hawed over it and eventually decided that she would. I thought she had invited herself! Providence was at work and we didn't realize it!

#3 I have seven cats (Mavis McWavis, Molly May, Angst Mayba, Kot, Jess, Koda and Pepper). Mavis has traveled around the United States with us and has visited western Canada and has the distinction of being a "Miss Feline Pine" 2005. She's the kitty in my author pic.
—another pertinent cat fact: my now-wife decided that I was suitable to chat with online because I announced that I was a cat person.

#4 I was in a highspeed head-on collision 10 years ago; LifeLined to Indianapolis and was diagnosed by several specialists to be severely brain-damaged and wheel-chair bound for the remainder of my life. A day after my pastor came and prayed with me, I was miraculously healed. Now I write.

#5 I spent a year in Israel as a foreign exchange student: slept on the beach for a week when I had run out of money, traveled to Egypt, learned to speak Hebrew, witnessed a car-bombing, was nearly abducted by an obsessive host mother (the organization moved me asap).

#6 I am the proud part-owner of the GreenBay Packers. Well . . . I do own a share and have the stock certificate to prove it hanging in a place of honour above the fireplace (much to the chagrin of my wife).

#7 I am an Eagle Scout and totally unrelated, this Christmas on a trip to B.C. saw hundreds of Bald Eagles sitting in Cottonwood trees along the Fraser River. Wow.

#8 I was divorced at an early age and lived the life of a hedonist until I was introduced to the writings of the Biblical philospoher Francis Schaeffer in my mid-twenties.

I've tagged: Daniel I Weaver, The Stiltskins, Grace Bridges, Sue Dent, Karri Compton, David Brollier over at CFRBlog, S.M. Kirkland on MySpace, and Lydia Daffenberg.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Problem

Finding Christian speculative fiction (sci-fi and fantasy and horror), in my youth was impossible. C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia and Space Trilogy graced the lonely shelf. Every modern genre author credits Lewis as their inspiration for good reason: he's all that genre fans could find.

In the seventies and eighties of my childhood, mom would take me into the local Christian bookstores, and I'd straight-edge for the fiction shelves. After years of only finding Lewis' titles, I stopped looking in Christian stores. My favorite fiction came from secular stores.

I'd given up in the early eighties—about a year before Steven Lawhead's Empyrion was published. After Peretti's Darkness books came out, I hopefully scanned Christian shelves again for a couple more years before abandoning hope. Obviously this was a once per decade event.

A year ago the only Christian spec-fic authors of which I'd ever heard were Lewis, Peretti, Dekker, and arguably, Jenkins. Since then, I've discovered dozens of Christian spec-fic authors on the Web. I formed the Lost Genre Guild in September of 2006, and we've erected a respectable Web infrastructure for the promotion of our favorite fiction. Genre fans, read on for a killer link with more traditionally published titles than you'd ever dreamed existed.

Some spec-fic sub-genres have recently broken the CBA publishing dam. Doors opened for Christian fantasy after the Lord of the Rings films scored at the Box-Office. Genre purists and book-retailers don't lump horror into the genre, but the definition of setting and characters does. The race we call "angels" are supernatural extra-dimensional beings. At some point when nobody was looking, some creative librarian tacked up a "spiritual thrillers" label on the shelf that ought to have read "horror." "Spiritual thrillers" sounds more like Hannibal Lechter sitting across a confessional from Clarisse Starling than fallen angels under the bed, but at least the belief system that inspired The Exorcist is also moving forward. I wonder if The Prophecy series of films, featuring Christopher Walken, didn't also have an effect. And Anne Rice accepting Christ surely looked good to the CBA world.

That leaves one of spec-fic's three main sub-genres still floundering behind the dam: science fiction. I believe there are several reasons for this. There have been no sci-fi cross-over films or popular culture fiction to shoehorn publishers into risking bets on new authors. Many view Christianity and science to be a contradiction in terms. Sci-fi's been such an anti-Christian world-view genre it's no real surprise that mothers dodge children around the aisle.

You've just read introduction to a four part series that will explore the concept of Christian science fiction. Because you're still reading, you get a cookie! The most complete Biblical spec-fic book store I've ever found belongs to Jeff Gerke, AKA novelist Jefferson Scott. Any genre fan will want to see and bookmark this site of Lost Genre novels:

Frank Creed