Tuesday, December 12, 2006

CSFF Blog Tour: "Trackers" Day Two

CSSF Blog Tour

So today is the second day of the blog tour for Trackers.

I had originally thought that I would post a review for Outriders, the first book of the Birthright Project series. I nixed that idea because it's been a while since I read it and as quick as I can read books, there's no way I could read it in one evening (and besides, I was almost done with Ender's Game and I didn't want to stop reading that).

Instead, I thought I would touch on something I wrote about the series yesterday. I mentioned that I had a hard time getting into Outriders because of how different the plot was. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that that really is the strength of the Birthright Project series. It's great because it's different!

Let's face it, if you go to a Christian bookstore (or to the Christian section of your local Barnes & Noble, which is what I usually do), the vast majority of the fiction books you'll see can fall into one of four categories: cleaned up romance, mystery/thrillers (including the political thrillers), the historical novels, and the apocalyptic visions of the future. I think this has been discussed before and elsewhere, but the reason there are so many of those four categories is because they're safe. They're predictable.

But to me, they're boring! I'm not big on romances (see my previous posts about the free romance novels I got from the ACFW conference if you doubt me). Mystery/thrillers are okay but not exactly my cup of tea. Historical novels can be fun if the person writing them knows their stuff (ala Paul Maier). And apocalyptic books just annoy me because the vast majority of them are written from a dispensational premillennial slant and I'm a pretty staunch amillennialist.

Anyway, back to my point. Mackel's genius is that her story is so different. It's unlike anything I've read before, which makes it exciting. It's truly speculative, because it's not a "what if a prairie school marm fell in love with a rough-and-tumble ranch hand with a gruff exterior but a secret heart of gold", but a "what if this incredible event happened in the future? What would it look like?"

Actually, as I had these thoughts, I was put in mind of something that E. Stephen Burnett wrote over at Speculative Faith. He's been doing a great series called "The Nine Marks of Widescreen Stories." His fifth installment touches on this subject and he does a far better job of exploring it than I've done here.

So my hope and prayer is that more stories like this come out where we are able to explore fantastic worlds that have never been seen before.

Go check out what other participants are saying. And if you haven't read these books yet, head over to Mirtika or Shannon McNear's blogs. They're giving away free copies of the books.

Here's the list of the other participants:

Jim Black
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Frank Creed
Gene Curtis
Chris Deanne
Janey DeMeo
April Erwin
Beth Goddard
Todd Michael Greene
Karen Hancock
Elliot Hanowski
Katie Hart
Sherrie Hibbs
Sharon Hinck
Joleen Howell
Jason Joyner
Karen and at Karen¹s myspace
Oliver King
Tina Kulesa
Lost Genre Guild
Kevin Lucia and The Bookshelf Reviews 2.0 - The Compendium
Terri Main
Rachel Marks
Shannon McNear
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Caleb Newell
Eve Nielsen
John Otte
Cheryl Russel
Hannah Sandvig
Mirtika Schultz
James Somers
Stuart Stockton
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Chris Walley
Daniel I. Weaver
Mark Goodyear


Anonymous said...

John, I hope you enjoyed Ender's Game. Also, I like your four categories for Christian fiction--especially since you separated apocalyptic fiction out from speculative fiction.

I wonder sometimes if apocalyptic fiction isn't really a sub genre of speculative fiction--though I may be disturbing people's theology to suggest it.

Anonymous said...

Love you blog title, John! I'm sure it's not true now if it ever was. LOL
There's an interview with Kathy over at my blog today and tomorrow.