Let me tell you a fun story. This past Thursday, the ACFW Conference held its annual editor panel. Most of the editors at the conference were put in front of the firing squad and were asked submitted questions from the slathering horde of writers, both published and unpublished.
Okay, perhaps I'm being a bit melodramatic. But we ran through the usual questions: what's good, what's not, what are you looking for, that sort of thing.
And then the question the editors dreaded popped up: what about speculative fiction? What is that, exactly?
The editors looked a bit stumped. They hemmed, they hawed. One took a long, exagerrated look at her watch and declared, "Oh, look at the time!" They offered a few pat answers, one of them raising the question of whether or not to include the Left Behind series.
And then Jeff Gerke of Marcher Lord Press leapt to the rescue. He strode up, politely took the mic from the moderator, introduced himself, and then explained to everyone present that speculative fiction could be summed up in one word: "Weird."
How true it is. And how wonderful it is as well! That's part of the reason why I'm looking forward to October 1st. On that day, just one week away, three books will hit the market which are, to put it bluntly, weird. Gloriously, superbly, creatively weird!
The first is The Personifid Invasion by R. E. Bartlett. This is a sequel to the previously published The Personifid Project. In this sci-fi story, people can cheat death by having their souls transferred into artificial beings called "personifids."
Admittedly, this is the book that I'm least enthusiastic about. I haven't read the first one, and while I know that Invasion can stand alone, I wasn't too thrilled about dipping my toe into a story that's a continuation of a previous one.
But after nosing around the blog tour yesterday, I saw that several of my fellow tourists (for lack of a better term) are impressed and excited to get their hands on this. Perhaps now's the time to say that I held a copy of this book in my hands already. Jeff Gerke had a copy with him at ACFW and he showed it off a lot. Very well done.
Anyway, seeing the enthusiasm of others has piqued my interest, so much so that I placed an order on Amazon to get a used copy of Project. That way, I can read the original before I delve into the sequel.
Moving right along, we have a book with a mouthful for a title: Summa Elvetica: A Casuistry of the Elvish Controversy by Theodore Beale.
This one has intrigued me ever since I heard its premise. Most fantasy novels are set in an alternate version of medieval Europe, but they leave something pretty big out of it. That's the Roman Catholic Church. So what if the Catholic Church existed in a fantasy world? How would they relate to the fantastical creatures such as elves? To put it bluntly, would they believe elves have souls?
That's what a young priest has been sent out to determine, only he gets caught up in a great adventure as he wrestles with that issue. What a crazy premise, right? But I can't wait to see this and read it for myself because it sounds like a great speculative story and should prove to be a wild ride.
That brings us to the last book being released, namely Hero, Second Class by Mitchell Bonds.
Jeff Gerke raved about this book the whole time he was at ACFW. Bonds was 19 when Jeff acquired the book. Jeff says Bonds's writing is phenomenal. Reading the description on the website has me salivating already. I have a bizarre sense of humor to go with my weird taste in stories. This is going to be a wild ride and one I'm sure I'll remember for a long time.
You may have noticed that in all these cases, I have not taken advantage of the sample chapters that have been posted on Marcher Lord's website. That's a personal choice; I wanted to wait to read the books for the first time after I have them here. So I have to go on the little bits and pieces I've picked up here and there.
Now here's the fun: Jeff Gerke is already hard at work getting the next books that Marcher Lord will put out. He told me a little bit about one of them at ACFW. It's a sci fi book that includes a mystical talking wooden puzzle box. Seriously. I can't wait.
He also said that he's hoping that Marcher Lord will be able to acquire out of print books so readers can continue to enjoy them.
Whatever the case, here's hoping that Marcher Lord will soon have a massive list to keep those of us who love "weird" fiction in wonderfully bizarre stories for years to come.
Go out and see what the other tourists have to say:
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Kameron M. Franklin
Todd Michael Greene
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika or Mir's Here