Tuesday, February 20, 2007

CSFF Blog Tour: "Where the Map Ends" Day Two

CSSF Blog Tour

So here we are on Day Two of our Blog Tour for Where the Map Ends.

Did you go take a look at what the other participants said about the website? I did my best to hit them all and see what was brewing on their blogs. Be sure to stop by both Mir's and Sharon Hinck's blogs as they're running contests in connection with Where the Map Ends. Mir's is pretty spectacular. Also go to Sharon's and Rachel Marks's blogs for interviews with Jeff Gerke, the genius behind the site.

For today's post, I thought I'd touch on one part of Where the Map Ends that is still on the drawing boards, namely Marcher Lord Press. When I first went to the website after it opened, this is the feature that intrigued and excited me the most: a Print-On-Demand publishing company dedicated to Christian speculative fiction!

Now I realize that it may never materialize, but something like this is sorely needed in the Christian publishing industry. It's very difficult for anyone who writes out on the edges of the map to be given a chance in the existing houses. That's not a complaint, really. As Jeff pointed out in his interview with Rachel Marks, it makes good business sense for the existing publishing houses to overlook speculative fiction. Their perception of the Christian market is that no one would read it, so why waste the money on printing books that won't sell?

But I have this feeling that this is a vicious circle and a self-fulfilling prophecy. If they don't believe the books will sell, they don't publish them. Or, if they do, they don't promote them as they should. This means that potential readers get left by the wayside.

Let me give you an example. I mentioned our blog tour on another website I frequent (Red vs. Blue). In this post, I also mentioned a new Christian sci-fi book idea that's been percolating in my brain for the past three or four months. One of my friends on the site, a guy who calls himself Batmantis, got excited. He said he loves sci-fi and he loves Christianity and he'd love to see the two together.

So a light bulb went off in my head. I sent him a link to the book list on Where the Map Ends along with half-a-dozen author recommendations. When he saw it, he wrote back, "I haven't read much 'Christian' fantasy or science fiction apart from the obvious Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Like you have said, it just doesn’t get promoted."

Now think about this. Batmantis was excited at the thought of Christian sci-fi yet he was unaware of what is already out there. We need a place like Marcher Lord Press where Christians can go to find what they hunger for if the mainstream Christian publishers won't provide it.

But as Gene Curtis pointed out in his blog yesterday, Marcher Lord will need money, willing talent, and prayer to get off the ground. I don't know if I can provide much of the first; the amount of the second I have is debatable; but Jeff definitely has the last from me.

Wow, that tirade turned out to be a lot longer than I expected. Two more things and then I'll post the long list of links.

First of all, even if you go check out Where the Map Ends today, make sure you come back on March 1st. Jeff Gerke has mentioned this in every comment I've seen on the blog tour so far, but that's the day when he's starting his speculative fiction collabrative story project. Personally, I'm fascinated by the premise, which he shared in his most recent e-mail newsletter:

On March 1 (3/1/07) I am launching the first-ever WhereTheMapEnds
Collaborative Fiction Project.

In collaborative fiction a group of participants (including you, I hope)
works together to create a story. Anyone can create characters. Anyone can
create settings. Anyone can create plot. And anyone can write the actual scenes
that will become the story.

I've always liked the movie 'Krull,' in which fantasy heroes are attacked by
laser-toting aliens in their spaceships. So that's the kind of story I've
decided we'll tackle together.

Our premise: A medieval fantasy world--with its own problems, histories,
cultures, and cast of characters--is suddenly invaded by technologically
advanced beings from space--who themselves have their own problems, histories,
cultures, and cast of characters.

Now who wouldn't want a piece of that? Whether you like fantasy or science
fiction or cyberpunk or the clash of cultures, there's something here for

I've got the technical framework for the project all set up. I'm using a
forums/message board format, which others have used successfully for projects
like this. I've got all the forums and sub-forums ready to go. All I need is the

I feel like I've been preparing for a party and now everything's ready: the
tables are set up, the punch is mixed, the decorations are up, and the party
favors are on every chair. I can't wait to open the doors on March 1 and let the
party begin.

I hope you'll join the fun. Whether you're a writer, a reader, or just an intrigued bystander (who might BECOME a writer along the way), you're heartily invited.

And speaking of the last e-mail newsletter, he shared a fun little tidbit that I thought I'd pass on to all of you as well. If you've read Jeff's books or visited his website, now you can see him display his acting chops too.

A friend of his submitted an entry to On the Lot, a new reality show kinda like Project Greenlight, only with Steven Spielberg involved. Jeff has a role in his friend's entry, Venusian Beauties. I watched this yesterday afternoon and loved it. I half-expected to see theater seats rise up from the bottom of the screen. That's not an insult, honestly; I suspect that's the effect the director was going for!

Anyway, after you check out Jeff's acting, be sure to check out what the other blog tour participants are offering:

Nissa Annakindt
Wayne Thomas Batson
Jim Black
Grace Bridges
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
CSFF Blog Tour
Gene Curtis
D.G.D. Davidson
Chris Deanne
Janey DeMeo
Tessa Edwards
April Erwin
Kameron M. Franklin
Linda Gilmore
Beth Goddard
Marcus Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Todd Michael Greene
Leathel Grody
Katie Hart
Sherrie Hibbs
Sharon Hinck
Christopher Hopper
Jason Joyner
K. D. Kragen
Tina Kulesa
Kevin Lucia and The Bookshelf Reviews 2.0 - The Compendium
Rachel Marks
Shannon McNear
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen
John W. Otte
John Ottinger
Robin Parrish
Cheryl Russel
Hanna Sandvig
Mirtika Schultz
James Somers
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Daniel I. Weaver
Timothy Wise

I suspect that they won't be as long-winded as me.


Jefferson Scott said...

Awesome post, John. Thanks for the extensive and wonderful review of WhereTheMapEnds.

And thanks for pointing folks to Venusian Beauties. I play the commander who ends up being a Venusian spy (typecasting, I know).

And just because you've seen it everywhere else, I wouldn't dream of mentioning the collaborative fiction project we're launching on March 1. See, aren't you glad I restrained myself?

Thanks again for the great post!


Becky said...

Great post indeed, John.

The "people don't know" issue is why CSFF Blog Tour came into existence. The traditional publishers need to know readers are out there and readers out there need to know CSFF books exist. Once the two come together, the old "no one will buy" argument will crumble into dust That's my theory anyway. ;-)

Oh, and can you please add one more name to that long, long list (I love the growing participation in the tour!): Nicole.

Thanks greatly.