by Jeff Gerke
Fans of Christian fantasy and science fiction, be encouraged! Whether you read it or you write it–or both–this is an exciting time for you.
Today, October 1, marks the launch of a new publishing company dedicated to the kind of fiction you love. Marcher Lord Press instantly becomes the premier publisher of Christian speculative fiction–mainly because it’s the only one to produce those genres exclusively!
Marcher Lord Press is launching with three full-length print novels for Christian adults and older teens. Summa Elvetica by Theodore Beale is a thoughtful fantasy based on a wonderful premise: what if the High Church decided to determine whether or not elves have souls? Summa Elvetica is one part Canterbury Tales, one part Thomas Aquinas, and five parts fantasy fun.
The Personifid Invasion by R. E. Bartlett is action science fiction in a future in which science has allowed humans to transfer their consciousness into artificial bodies, and thus live forever. But certain other spiritual entities, known in the future as Interterrestrials, have also discovered that these artificial bodies make much better residences than the dry and waterless places to which they are accustomed.
Hero, Second Class by Mitchell Bonds is a roast of all the fantasy elements we hold dear. Cyrus wants to be a Hero in a world in which Heroes must pay dues and Villains are allowed only one eclipse per fiscal quarter. Cyrus is training to be a warrior–so what is this magical energy suddenly pouring from him? An Arch-Villain wants to know too–because Cyrus is the only one who can prevent him from assembling his dastardly P.L.O.T. Device.
So the first thing to be encouraged about is that you’re about to get a new publisher dedicated to the fiction you crave. The second reason to be encouraged is that you’re living in the midst of a publishing revolution.
It is my conviction that we are living in the age of the independent press. With the advent of print-on-demand technology and the Internet as a viable sales and distribution channel, everything has changed. No longer will the big publishing companies have a lock on what you can buy in the bookstore and the censorship to determine what does and doesn’t get published.
That will be a good thing for writers and readers of Christian speculative fiction. The novels being produced by Marcher Lord Press, for instance, would probably not have a chance of being published at a traditional CBA house. And yet there they are.
I predict that new publishers will sprout up using models very similar to MLP’s model. Suddenly there will be a dozen small presses wanting your Christian speculative fiction MS that you’ve been unable to sell anywhere. Halleluiah! Now, you might not be getting the standard rich and famous contract you’d been hoping for, but what you will have is publishers interested in getting your story in front of readers eager to gobble it up.
Many other genres will benefit from this revolution. Those who write and read military fiction, men’s fiction, true crime, or any other genre or subgenre that is currently not accepted at CBA houses will see publishers rising up to fill those niches. It’s a great day to be a writer and reader of “obscure” Christian fiction.
Of course there will be some novels that aren’t as good as others, and there will be freedom too for kinds of books that we’re all glad had previously been censored. That’s part of what happens in a revolution. But the market will correct these and, as we’ve seen with YouTube, the products with any excellence will find their way to the top.
So be encouraged, ye longsuffering fan.
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