Tuesday, March 20, 2007

CSFF April Blog Tour: "Double Vision" - Day Two

CSSF Blog Tour

We're continuing our look at Double Vision today.

As I mentioned yesterday, this book is labeled as "romantic suspense." That's not inaccurate. The main character, Dillon, is indeed caught in a romantic triangle that helps drive, if not the main plot, then at least the almost as important subplot. I know I was as confused as Dillon about who he should choose and pursue romantically.

But here's the thing: the book, in my mind, might suffer a bit from that distinction. Here's why: the MacGuffin for the story is a quantum computer. Specifically a biological quantum computer. Using this device, anyone would be able to decrypt any encoded database or message (truth be told, the plot reminded me of the movie Sneakers. That's not a bad thing. I love that movie). There are several times when we get lost in the technical explanation of how the quantum computer works and why it's such a big deal. During those times, the book seemed to stray very close to "hard science fiction," which isn't a bad thing as far as I'm concerned.

But I wonder what romantic suspense fans thought of those moments. I fear that they may have been turned off by it. Maybe not. I have no idea. I don't read romantic suspense normally, so I don't know what keeps readers interested and what doesn't.

This highlights one of the problems we have as a writers of Christian science fiction. It's obvious that, for whatever reason, the market is closed to blatant science fiction tales. Does that mean we should instead try to sneak them in, Trojan horse style, by pumping up a lesser quality and marketing it as a completely different genre?

In some ways, I think this might be the way we can begin to soften the market, so to speak. If people are exposed to genre elements in other stories (i.e. biological quantum computers) and like it, they may be more willing to try out "harder" sci-fi. Think of it as reverse innoculation.

At the same time, though, I suspect that there's a bright line that non-sci-fi and non-fantasy fans won't cross. A quantum computer as a MacGuffin? Well, okay. But a book with aliens? Forget it!

Time will only tell. Hopefully the market will open up to the harder stuff someday. In the meantime, we can celebrate when sci-fi or fantasy elements get "snuck into" a story.

Be sure to visit the others on the blog tour:

Nissa Annakindt
Jim Black
Grace Bridges
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Frank Creed
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Janey DeMeo
Tessa Edwards
April Erwin
Beth Goddard
Marcus Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Leathel Grody
Katie Hart
Sherrie Hibbs
Sharon Hinck
Christopher Hopper
Jason Joyner
Tina Kulesa
Lost Genre Guild
Kevin Lucia and The Bookshelf Reviews 2.0 - The Compendium
Rachel Marks
Shannon McNear
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Caleb Newell
Eve Nielsen
John W. Otte
Robin Parrish
Cheryl Russel
Hanna Sandvig
Mirtika Schultz
James Somers
Tsaba House Authors
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Daniel I. Weaver


the BookWyrm said...

See, I *do* read romantic suspense, and I would hesitate to place DOUBLE VISION in that genre. The problem is, most romantic suspense books include more than just a courtship. And so most readers of "romantic suspense" expect to see a romance (any romance) consummated. Since DOUBLE VISION is also a Christian book with the hero a very Christian man, the steamy scenes implied by the "romantic suspense" label just isn't going to happen.

I am not saying that this is a bad thing, nor a good one. But people that come to DOUBLE VISION expecting it to be like other romantic suspense books will, I fear, be more put off by the light tone to the romance part than by the sci-fi elements to the story.


Randy Ingermanson said...

Hi John:

Thanks for your comments, and I'm glad you liked the book! As for that pesky "romantic suspense" label, it has a different meaning in Christian fiction than in the general market. Ain't gonna be no steamy consummation in a Christian novel!

I'll just say I had fun writing the book. It let me play with a bunch of different ideas and get inside the head of REALLY different kind of character.

Best regards,

Becky said...

What's interesting is that John Olson said "camouflaging" the speculative elements was NOT the way to go. I realize this is just an opinion, but I think marketing Double Vision as a romantic suspense did not help SF lovers find the book.

Nicole's point is an interesting one, though Randy's certainly right. Someone reading Christian fiction would not expect an illicit consummation, though maybe an engagement, ;-)

Personally I found it a little hard to believe that the two women as Randy characterized them would actually be in a battle for Dillon, as Randy characterized him. LOL

But back to the SF issue. I am a fantasy aficionado so the science is a barrier to me and one reason I don't care for SF as a rule. I thought Randy made the science accessible. Much like Kathy Tyers in Firebird, a more typical, space opera SF.

Does "softening" the SF play well with the SF fans? That's really the question, I think, because they have to be the first line target audience.