Supernatural Fiction Readers discussion

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message 1: by Werner (last edited Oct 09, 2018 06:13AM) (new)

Werner | 1863 comments In a message I received earlier this month, one of our members commented to me that an Internet search for "supernatural reading list" turns up a surprising number of Christian links, and wondered if that wasn't grist for a discussion thread. Since we're a pluralistic group, I was inclined to think that topic might be more appropriate for one of the Christian interest groups here on Goodreads; but I happen to belong to one of those, too. So, I've just now posted a discussion thread on this topic on the Christian Goodreaders group! Any of you who feel inclined to explore this theme might want to visit that discussion, at this link: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/... .


message 2: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) What exactly is 'Christian supernatural fiction'?

Much of the supernatural literature I read, especially the older stuff, has Christian elements since most of the authors are from the US & England & tend to be raised either as or with Christians. A lot of the basic horror elements seem to come from the Christian mythos & use it to lend them weight; vampires are descended from Caine's line, demons from Hell & such. For real horror, religion is the perfect place to dredge up good & evil. I think it hits most people at a more visceral level, too.

I'm seeing a trend away from that, especially in the candy books. Vampires are not upset by the cross or holy water, for instance. These books tend not to be supernatural horror, though. They're urban fantasy or paranormal romance.

But I don't consider any of it Christian supernatural fiction. I don't know that I've ever read anything that I would consider that. Can you give me some examples?


message 3: by Werner (last edited Dec 03, 2020 04:41PM) (new)

Werner | 1863 comments Jim, you pose a good question, and make good points (as usual!) What you wrote about the influence of Christian belief on supernatural fiction genre writers, especially in the older generations, is absolutely true --but, as you indicated, that's not necessarily a matter of conscious Christian agenda on their part; it's just a response to the Christian roots of the material itself and their inherent literary power, and to the broad Christian influence on the culture the writers lived in. And as you noted, the influence on the genre lessens in modern times as it lessens on the culture as a whole. (You're also right that not all supernatural fiction is "horror.")

When I think of "Christian supernatural fiction," I think of fiction written by a professing Christian and reflecting a Christian view of the world, and especially of its spiritual realities. It may do so explicitly; Russell Kirk's ghost stories are often a good example of that (and his "Cautionary Note on the Ghostly Tale," which accompanies his posthumous collection Ancestral Shadows, could serve as a kind of manifesto for Christian supernatural fiction). Robert Hugh Benson and Anthony Boucher (who were Roman Catholics) and Manly Wade Wellman (who was an Episcopalian, and the son of missionary parents) all frequently worked Christian elements and messages into their supernatural fiction. Frank Peretti's The Oath and Sue Dent's Never Ceese can also be considered examples of this. Or, a particular writing may not have an explicit Christian element, but (because the writer is a Christian) may simply reflect or presuppose a theistic and moral/religious orientation to life; not all of the above writers put explicit Christian content into everything they wrote, but everything they wrote emerged from a Christian mindset. That could be said, too, of Rowling's Harry Potter series.

Also, there are supernatural literary works whose authors either weren't Christians, or aren't necessarily known to have been Christians, but which have clearly pro-Christian messages or symbolism that goes beyond the pervasive cultural influence we mentioned above. I would put T. H. White's "The Troll" and "Red as Blood" by Tanith Lee (who, though not a Christian, avers a sympathy with "the basic teachings of Christ") in this category. (Does any of this help answer your question?)


message 4: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) Sort of, Werner. I haven't read any of the books you cited, with the exception of Harry Potter. I do have a couple of them on my to-read list, though.

What makes Harry Potter Christian? I thought it was pretty neutral as far as religion went.

The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane by Robert E. Howard are Christian supernatural, right? (I think you've read some of these.)

What about Dracula? Again, I'd think so.

Have you read any of the Kane series by Karl Edward Wagner? I'd say no to that, although the parallels are obvious. (Kane was cursed to walk the world until the violence he brought to man brought him down after he strangled his brother on the mad god's alter...) The stories are more like Howard's Conan stories, although his methods & morals are a lot more flexible.

Are you familiar with Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series? Are they Christian?

Having been raised in a Christian country, I don't think I always recognize the Christian influence any more than I notice the air I breathe. It's not something I've ever studied.

What is it about good/evil that says 'Christian' to you? While the Western religions (Jews, Christians, Muslims) tend now to the good/evil idea, from what little I know, a lot of other religions didn't make such a big difference between them. The powers in question were both or neither, just like the humans they lorded it over. They'll often have a few 'evil' or semi-evil characters, but not all ills spring from them. Some real creepiness can, especially the death god/goddesses.


message 5: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1863 comments Jim, lots of interesting questions there! I'll try to take them in order. :-)

You're right that the Harry Potter series doesn't have any explicit religious content at all. Rowling, though, is a practicing member of the Church of Scotland, who lists both Tolkien and C. S. Lewis as major literary influences. In her series, as in the Lord of the Rings trilogy (which Tolkien famously said is "a Catholic work"), good and evil --defined in the same terms that the Bible would define them-- are real, not illusory, moral categories with inherent validity; individuals make real, not illusory, choices between the two in their thoughts and actions, and those choices have actual consequences; the line between good and evil runs within each person's heart, not simply between two opposing camps of people; and good, not evil, triumphs. (Many Christian-influenced nonbelievers, of course, would think and write in the same terms.) In the final book, Harry's self-sacrifice, "death and resurrection" experience and final triumph over Voldemort also give the two figures an unmistakable symbolic parallelism to Christ and Satan, IMO.

I haven't read any of Howard's Kane stories, but I know they have a Christian (Puritan) protagonist. As far as I know, though, Howard himself was not a believer --he just found it expedient, for artistic reasons, to make his protagonist one, in that case. (Most of his protagonists aren't.) Similarly, C. L. Moore's Jirel of Joiry, typically for her time and place, is a Catholic, but Moore herself wasn't. Since I haven't read anything by Wagner and know very little about him, I can't shed any light there.

Dracula certainly embodies a lot of solidly Christian symbolism: Dracula (who fears the cross, and other Christian religious objects) is very much a Satanic figure, while Abraham Van Helsing, loyal son of the Church, is just as clearly a Christian warrior whose weapons are spiritual as well as physical, and their tug-of-war over Mina Harker is as much for her soul as for the fate of her body. Stoker himself may not have been a Christian (I don't know one way or the other), and some of the Christian coloration of the story may come from the basic vampire folklore itself and from Stoker's, like you, being "raised in a Christian country," rather than from any deliberate literary agenda; but it's still there as an inescapable aspect of the book.

According to his own statement in the preface to Through the Ice, the novel he co-wrote with Robert Kornwise, Anthony is an agnostic. Both in that novel and in his Xanth series, though (I haven't read the series you mentioned), he shows himself to be a profoundly moral writer, very serious about ethical questions and depicting major characters who feel the same way, and consistently supporting choices to do the right thing. In that, the Apostle Paul would say that he is following the light of moral revelation given to him by his conscience, as it is to all people. (His protagonist in Through the Ice even quotes approvingly the words of Jesus, "What is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?") Of course, Anthony's writing is fantasy rather than supernatural fiction per se, though the two are related.

Some of the answer to your closing question is indicated above. A complete Christian theology of good and evil (of course, literary works very seldom adumbrate "complete" theologies of anything --they're not supposed to be theological treatises! :-)) would also include the idea of a Fall --that God created a world in which good is to be actualized, but that humans chose to embrace evil instead and perverted creation from its original intent. As you suggested, that idea is pretty much unique to the biblical tradition and the three faiths springing from it --other religions don't have anything resembling it, and may not even be concerned much with ethics per se. The uniquely Christian message (which Judaism and Islam, as such, don't embrace) is the understanding of redemption through Christ as God's solution to the problem of good and evil, and the vehicle for ultimately restoring the good creation to its original purpose. So, how much of that view of the world comes through in a given literary work affects how much it says "Christian" to me. Hope that provides some clarity!


message 6: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) Yes, that did make it clearer. Thanks.


message 7: by [deleted user] (last edited Sep 02, 2009 05:28AM) (new)

I have been reading Frank Peretti's "This Present Darkness" because a friend of mine wanted to read it and I of course, felt like it might bring us closer together. Maybe to some extent it has but the guys writing is really not well done. I couldn't recommend him to many of the secular readers out there. Peretti lacks a bit of talent. IMO


message 8: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1863 comments Always, I haven't read Peretti's This Present Darkness (and probably won't), but I've read some well-thought negative responses to it from people whose judgment I respect. It's one of his earliest (maybe his first) novels; on the other hand, I really liked The Oath, which is one of his later works. You might --or might not-- want to try that one; it's set in the Pacific Northwest (Oregon), and lacks the "angels vs. demons" theme that dominates This Present Darkness.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Werner, I read The Oath, shortly after reading "House" by 'F. Peretti & T. Dekker' because I thought it was rather good and an interesting twist in Supernatural Fiction, but from what I understand, there is no Horror in Christian Fiction....
Anyway.. Perretti's book "Darkness" lacks emotions w/the characters. There are a few instants' where Things are coming together for the main characters & Mysteries are somewhat being understood or solved, but the characters are just saying their lines. No internal emotions are included.
My friend tells me that Louie L'Amour writes his westerns like that. I don't know for fact.
I'm not into Sappy Romance for reasons we don't have to explain but most characters in books have emotions toward what they are doing... His characters are fairly emotionless and he has too many new names coming and going thru the book.
If anybody does Emotion better in the MAN category, I would vote for Gary A. Braunbeck. I don't seek out emotional upheaval, however, if you can give it to me, I think it's awesome.
Did I make any sense??




message 10: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1863 comments Yes, Always, you make perfect sense, as usual! (I'd have said "as always," but I didn't want to be accused of making a pun. :-)) Generally speaking, I'm with you on the subject of emotion --I don't want to wallow in sap either, but I too like writers who take human emotion seriously as an important part of who we are, and who depict it believably. And I feel that creative literature inherently works best when it appeals to the reader's own emotions --not necessarily to the exclusion of appealing to the mind, but I think the medium is inherently tailored to be more than an intellectual exercise. (If you're into literary history and you know about the warfare between Neoclassists and Romantics --and later, Realists-- you'll get my drift when I say that I tend to prefer the Romantic school in fiction.)

House is in one of my stacks of unread books, so I hope it's good; your reaction to it is encouraging! The question of whether there's Horror in Christian fiction is an interesting one, and a lot hinges on the definition of the terms. Boris Karloff thought that "horror" and "terror" were two different things --that the former implies revulsion/disgust, and that literature appealing to either one has very different traits than tales appealing to the other. A lot of fiction/drama that goes by the term "horror" presupposes that the universe is meaningless, that evil is destined to triumph, and that virtue exists only to be corrupted or slaughtered; and generally accompanies this view with an unremitting emphasis on in-your-face graphic gore, sadism and depravity. Due to the basic differences in world-view, Christian authors won't present that message, and probably won't use that style. If by "Christian fiction" you mean books produced for the Christian Booksellers Assn. market, though --the literary ghetto of highly sanitized fiction designed not to offend the most conservative part of the Christian market-- than the exclusions would go much further; most depictions of traditional supernatural entities, other than the biblical angels and demons, would be taboo, and a lot of the scary quality of much of the supernatural genre would have to be sharply toned down. (Most of the writers I mentioned above didn't publish with CBA-approved publishers. :-)) Between those two extremes, though, lies the realm of the Christian fiction of the supernatural --which may at times be a literature of terror, as human characters confront a world where the paranormal is real and sometimes very dangerous. Whether you want to label that fiction as "horror" or not is up to you. (It's not my preferred term; but that's partly just because I like my literary genres labeled by their subject, not their intended emotional effect --which is why our group isn't called "Horror Fiction Readers!")


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

I Understand & Hope you do like "House" it is much better than 'Present Darkness'


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

It finally came to me about Peretti and I don't like the book that much after all... Forget all my previous babble before.. It finally dawned on me that Frank focused more on the Plot than the People in the book. That's what was up my craw about 'Present Darkness'
Is that something that some writers do? Or was is just Peretti's obsession w/the Christian Fiction??


message 13: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1863 comments I think that's just something some writers do, whether they're Christian or non-Christian --some of them are just more into creating work that's plot-driven, rather than character-driven. Of course, some readers also like and want fiction that's plot-driven (and might even be bored with the character-centered type of story). Personally, I can enjoy either one on its own terms, if it's well-executed --but other things being equal, I'd have to say that character-driven is better.


message 14: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) Character driven IF I can identify strongly with the character. Some main characters I can't & then there better be something else to engage me.


message 15: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1863 comments Good point, Jim. It's also been said that the plot vs. character debate is (or can be) to some extent a false dichotomy: what characters do sometimes may be precisely the author's way of showing who they essentially are.


message 16: by Henrik (last edited Sep 03, 2009 02:11PM) (new)

Henrik | 43 comments Werner wrote: "A lot of fiction/drama that goes by the term "horror" presupposes that the universe is meaningless, that evil is destined to triumph, and that virtue exists only to be corrupted or slaughtered..."

While it is true that quite a chunk (ahem) of so-called horror stories do include these three elements, I hope you don't think they walk hand in hand per se, Werner. For instance, to say that the universe is meaningless (as e.g. Lovecraft did) is not to say that "evil is destined to triumph"--since it is, to quote Nietzsche, beyond good & evil. Beyond virtues too.


message 17: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1863 comments Henrik, that's a distinction that's well-taken, and no, I don't think the three elements are always an inextricably-wedded trinity. :-) I'm a Lovecraft fan myself --though I disagree with his cosmology-- and, of course, I wouldn't be if his fiction promoted evil or discouraged virtue. (Actually, he advocated strict adherence to conventional ethics, even though he didn't believe in a transcendent basis for them.) He also understood that "supernatural horror in literature" doesn't depend on nauseous blood and gore.


message 18: by Henrik (new)

Henrik | 43 comments Werner, I didn't think you did, but your note made me curious;-)

Yes, absolutely, as a person HPL advocated strict ethics, while at the same time knowing they had no transcendent basis; that they were "simply" human rules.

He also understood that genuine & effective horror doesn't need to have scores upon scores of blood etc. Absolutely, Werner. HPL was quite an intelligent man and had a lot of interesting things to say about the genre as a whole; things we can learn much from even today.

To bring this post back to the subject of this thread--Christianity--it is interesting to note that HPL's best stories deal with awe as part of the ultimate horror element (of course with a focus on the latter and not the former). Awe is often linked with religion, right? Would you say that it is often an element of the so-called Christian supernatural fiction?

I once read a thesis reading HPL's stories as sort of Christian stories, actually. Quite fascinating...


message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

You know who else is a Christian Writer is C.S. LEWIS.
I did not know this until my friend pointed a few things out and that includes such classics as 'The Lion, The Witch & the Wardrobe. It has come to my attention that he actually wrote it for children to explain the bible more clearly to them. I could be wrong.
And he has another book out called something like 'The Screwtape Letters' that is really about 2 demons that write back and forth to one another. No real story, just letters about what they've been up to.
If I am incorrect, Please Let me Know
:)


message 20: by Werner (last edited Sep 04, 2009 10:09AM) (new)

Werner | 1863 comments Yes, Always, you're absolutely right! Lewis was an adult convert to Anglican Christianity (he started out as an atheist), and wrote a number of nonfiction works on both literature --he was a professor of English literature at both Oxford and Cambridge-- and Christian doctrine/evidences.

I hadn't mentioned him before on this thread because his fiction was basically fantasy and science fiction; but thanks for reminding me about The Screwtape Letters! That could be classified as supernatural fiction, since it's about demons in this world. As you said, it consists of letters (there is a plot, but it's developed strictly through the letters --this is an "epistolary novel") from the Undersecretary of the Dept. of Temptation, Screwtape, to his nephew, Wormwood, who's working in the field. It has all sorts of serious food for thought, but it's delivered with enormously witty, dry humor (which is unconscious on Screwtape's part --demons have no sense of humor. :-))

By the 1950s, Lewis came to feel that metaphor and story was a better way of presenting the Christian message than dry intellectual argument, and his Narnia fantasy series (starting with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe) reflects this. So, yes, it's written to teach Christian truths --primarily for children, but adults can appreciate it, too. (That wouldn't have surprised Lewis; in one of his essays, he argues that literature for children and for adults aren't such mutually exclusive categories as many people think.)


message 21: by Ron (new)

Ron Madeleine L'Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time and other fantasies, makes a similar point about children's literature in her Walking on Water.


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Werner wrote: "Yes, Always, you're absolutely right! Lewis was an adult convert to Anglican Christianity (he started out as an atheist), and wrote a number of nonfiction works on both literature --he was a profe..."

Werner,
Don't be too impressed. My friend is who turned me onto C.S. Lewis. I really found it fascinating. So I had to bring it up in here.
He also told me that 'Lord of the Rings' is based in Catholicism...
And I agree that reading for children & adults aren't so mutually exclusive. But perhaps at the time. I don't know about these days though.. :)


message 23: by Ron (new)

Ron I'm not so sure LOTR is "based on Catholicism" as based on a Catholic worldview. There is a difference.

Tolkien, of course, famously hated allegory. So he might quibble with either angle.

When I began to think of myself as an adult (still in my teens, of course) I dropped children's books like hot potatoes. Now (decades later) I read and enjoy them again.


message 24: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1863 comments Good for you, Ron! There's nobody more afraid of being considered a kid than a self-conscious, insecure teen --and I was one of 'em!-- but part of being really grown-up is realizing that you've got nothing to prove to anybody, and that you can jolly well read whatever you enjoy. :-) (And like you, for me that sometimes includes well-written kid's books!)

I agree with you on the Catholicism. Tolkien, of course, was a committed Catholic, and he described LOTR as "a Catholic work." But I think he meant that it's permeated by a Catholic worldview, not that it has any explicit, obviously Catholic content.


message 25: by Ron (new)

Ron Concur.

These days I often find more pleasure in Young Adult novels than those supposedly written for adults.

Perhaps I'm regressing.


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

So Glad That Was Cleared Up :)
I just find it fascinating beyond belief :)


message 27: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 55 comments Gosh...this is an intriguing post and I cannot resist, so hear goes:

I am an author of a cozy paranormal mystery series..and since there are characters in my series who are ghosts (they have a purpose to their spectral-driven lives)... my series is supernatural.

I do a great deal of promoting in the paranormal market, so to speak, in that I appear regularly on paranormal radio programs. I have spoken about my Celtic Christian beliefs as a member of the Anglican Communion, here in the USA, we are Episcopal and we also speak up about reminding people we are the Anglican Catholic strand of Catholics (upper case "C" on Catholics) with strong taproots to our Celtic heritage.

My characters are not overtly religious, though they lead, by exmaple, Chrsitian-based lives, though their values are not unique to Christianity. In book 1 I did include a prayer (for a funeral) from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer ("BCP") because it was, as with most BCP prayers, suitable to a non-denominationl aspect of spirituality.

Now here's the catch...I looked into joining a Christain Author's Group here in the USA...and I was turned down, because I have the supernatural element of ghosts in my novels. At this point I shouild throw in that my books are not horror, by the defintion of a cozy mystery, no graphic anything(language, sex, horror, crime)! This group turned me down because the only local chapter that I could apply to, the only chap. in my region, is comprised born-again-fundemental Christians who believe that a ghost of any kind is evil. Yet when I pointed out they read and enjoy Charles Dickens classic A Christma Carol with Scrooge and a host of ghosts...they could not deny it, but would not allow my series!

And the issue of Anglican being Catholic...as one who has a first-name basis rapport with our vicar, the priest-in-charge... I give this defining example. Any person who would like to join our church (Episcopal) ..well, if you are from a Catholic strand (Roman, Old Holy, Orthodox, Celtic, Eastern...) you need not go thru education classes for official Confirmation, you merely ask to be accepted and present your Confirmation Cert. from your previous church. Whereas, all other denominations of Chirst. (Methodist, Baptist, Presb, whatever) are required to attend the Confirmation classes.

Okay, I am now stepping down from my soap box. If I can clarify the whole Anglican/Cath thing, I'll be glad to attempt a better explanation.

www.ElizabethEaganCox.net

Does anyone else hate these darn !@#$%&&*()(*&^%$#@!!! letter-box forms?


message 28: by Ron (new)

Ron Since Werner may be too humble to toot his own horn, I would point out that his Lifeblood is decidely supernatural (the female protagonist is a vampire) but also decidely Christian (the male protagonist is an evangelical Christian). And, of course, the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe feature a . . . witch.

Not sure what your point is on the Catholic/Anglican business, Elizabeth.


message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

Werner, You never mentioned it.


message 30: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 55 comments Ron said: Not sure what your point is on the Catholic/Anglican business, Elizabeth.

From a USA POV..the word "Catholic" is thrown around and the vast majority of the time the frame of reference is specific to Roman Catholic. I live in California where the majority use "Catholic", (meaning R. Catholic), they simply do not clarify and many do not even realize there are diff. strands of Catholics.




message 31: by Ron (last edited Sep 05, 2009 03:56PM) (new)

Ron And ...? Understanding that--aside from the ancient branches like the Maronites, Coptics, Armenians, etc.--the greater division of Christianity has been between the Catholic west and the Orthodox east; and that many later groupings has arisen which participate in neither of them, I'm wondering why you brought it up. Were you going somewhere?

And Islam is divided between the Sunni and Shi'a, with many minor (heretical in the greater divisions eyes) sub-groupings. The Buddhism is likewise divided...

Aside from the lesson in comparative religions, I was wondering if you were trying to tell us something.


message 32: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 55 comments Just wanted to clarify what Catholic is to me, since I was using the term in uppercase... it does differ in common frame of reference, perhaps, you have not experienced that.

www.ElizabethEaganCox.net







message 33: by Ron (new)

Ron Ah. Thank you.


message 34: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 55 comments You are welcome ;-)


message 35: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1863 comments Elizabeth, I think I understood your point --as an "Anglo-Catholic" (to use T. S. Eliot's term), it bothers you when people use "Catholic" and "Roman Catholic" as exact synonyms. A lot of us (me included) do that, just because we're not used to thinking of "high" Anglicans as Catholics in any sense; but I'll try to be more sensitive and precise in my usage in the future. And yes, Tolkien was a Roman Catholic.

Both my Goodreads friend Sue Dent (a Christian who writes vampire/werewolf fiction) and I can relate to your experience with fellow Christians who treat supernatural fiction --and people who write it-- like dirt. It's frustrating; but then, every family has its problem members (and sometimes its crazy relatives in the attic :-)), and God's children are no exception. :-) Your series sounds great, and I wish you all the best with it!

Always, I've never mentioned my book on this thread, because I'm not comfortable using a discussion like this to advertise my own work; and I don't think it's worthy to be mentioned in the same class with some of the works we've talked about here. But Ron, it was very sweet of you to mention it. :-)

Henrik, sorry to be so late in responding to your question (I've had a lot of irons in the fire!). Yes, IMO, as Schleiermacher said, awe is the natural reaction of humans to an experience of the Divine, and is the basis of all human religious expression. And certainly a lot of supernatural fiction --both Christian and non-Christian-- aims at engendering awe. (Of course, a much smaller percentage of them actually succeed at doing so --but they try!)


message 36: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 55 comments Hi Werner... (somehow I knew you would understand the Anglican/Cath thing... I was a school librarian in Calif) ;-)

I Googled your publisher, could not find it. One site said they are no longer in biz.

If so... consider mine: Write Words Inc (in Maryland), they publish under 2 imprints: Cambridge Books for softcover and E Books on the Net for e-books. My series comes out in e-book first, then goes to paperback. The publisher (Arline Chase one of the pub partners was once a lead editor for Writer's Digest and co. This is a legit pub....very traditional and genre fiction is a specialty. I have published before in non-fiction and when I switched to fiction, I was delighted to sign with this publisher. My previous publisher was fict and nonfiction, but I found that after two books, their style had worn off and they went really commercial.

Right now, they are redesiging the web site, there is a link, I think, to it on my site under buy a book.

Genre fiction novels need to be at least 50,000 wds. I keep mine in the 55,0000 wd mark.

very interesting topic here....;-)


message 37: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1863 comments Elizabeth, thanks for the tip. Yes, Silver Lake went out of business last year; so I'm looking for a traditional publisher to do a reprint, and I'll keep Write Words in mind. In the meantime, I'm in the process of self-publishing an edition through an Internet printing service, just for all the folks who already want to read the book! I hope to have an announcement about that in the next few days, in fact.


message 38: by Ron (last edited Sep 06, 2009 05:56AM) (new)

Ron May I offer C. S. Lewis's On Stories: And Other Essays on Literature to help understand the Christian perspective (at least, his Christian perspective) on stories in general and the supernatural in particular. The closing essay "Unreal Estates", the transcript of a 1962 discussion in Lewis's rooms at Magdalene College about science fiction and fantasy, is great fun, but the titular article will be of particular interest to authors and readers of the supernatural.

A teaser quote from "On Stories": "Nature has that in her which compels us to invent giants: and only giants will do."


message 39: by Ron (last edited Sep 06, 2009 06:04AM) (new)

Ron And, of course, you should also read J. R. R. Tolkien's "On Fairy-Stories" from The Tolkien Reader. It is--or ought to be--the defining essay on supernatural literature.

Remember, literature was Professors Tolkien and Lewis's day job (Anglo-Saxon for the former [no surprise to LOTR readers:] and Medieval & Renaissance for the latter) as well as their avocation.


message 40: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1863 comments Both "On Stories" and "Unreal Estates" can also be read in the C. S. Lewis collection Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories, edited by Walter Hooper (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1966). The theme of the collection is speculative fiction, and some of the essays have content that is certainly relevant to supernatural fiction, though the latter isn't Lewis' focus.


message 41: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) What about the Left Behind series? Would that fit the topic?


message 42: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1863 comments Hey, Jackie, glad to see you joined us! I haven't read the Left Behind series; but from what I know of it, it's premised on the inbreaking of supernatural forces (both Divine and demonic) into the natural world at the end of history. So, yes, it would fit the definition --though for me personally, eschatolgical scenarios (especially ones based on theological systems I don't agree with :-)) aren't a favored form of supernatural fiction. It could be considered science fiction of the sociological sort as well, I suppose, since it speculates about social conditions that have never existed yet.


message 43: by Werner (last edited May 09, 2011 10:25AM) (new)

Werner | 1863 comments Wow, this thread's been quiet for awhile! I've just finished (last night) reading On the Soul of a Vampire, by Roman Catholic author Krisi Keley. IMO, it's an outstanding, and profoundly Christian, contemporary approach to the vampire mythos. Some readers might be put off by Keley's style (which is reminiscent of Henry James --but of James at his best rather than his worst!), but for those who would be up for the challenge of prose that takes close, careful reading, I can't recommend it highly enough! (I've been gushing about it all day!)


message 44: by Werner (last edited Dec 03, 2020 04:57PM) (new)

Werner | 1863 comments Apropos of the larger discussion on this thread, a good collection of stories that includes Christian supernatural fiction is Feckless, edited by our own Ellen C. Maze (who's also the author of two Christian-themed vampire series, the Rabbit trilogy and the Corescu Chronicles). One of the standout supernatural tales in the collection, IMO, is Kat Heckenbach's "Delete." (My full review can be read here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... .)


message 45: by Keta (new)

Keta (ketadiablo) | 3 comments I'm reading Peretti's book now: This Present Darkness. So far I'm really enjoying it although it is dated.


message 46: by Werner (last edited Jun 07, 2013 06:02PM) (new)

Werner | 1863 comments I've mentioned Krisi Keley's trilogy opener, On the Soul of a Vampire, earlier on this thread. (The second book, Pro Luce Habere, has now been out for some time, and is also outstanding.) Last month, I was privileged to beta read Mareritt, the first volume of her new supernatural series involving the cases of former novitiate turned P.I. Tobias Berger. It's now been published, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention it here. (I rated it at five stars; here's the link to my review: www.goodreads.com/review/show/635693987 .) IMO, Krisi is the best contemporary Christian author writing in this genre (at least, that I've read).


message 47: by C.E. (new)

C.E. Martin (cemartin2) | 49 comments I'm curious as to what makes a supernatural book Christian. For my series, I don't overtly preach anythingh, but I do work in a lot of biblical lore- like antediluvian villains in the modern era and an old fashioned super solider who says grace before his meals and has a penchant for saying "The Lord works in mysterious ways"- when he's not brutally killing supernatural monsters.


message 48: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1863 comments C. E., that's a good question, and one that came up very early on this thread! Check out messages 2-10, and see if that clarifies the idea.


message 49: by Charles (new)

Charles (kainja) | 85 comments A couple of the first short stories I wrote were vampire tales that I thought were actually pro-Christianity because they made the connection between the vampire myth and Jesus. For example, in one story, "Messiah," which is in my collection Midnight in Rosary, a vampire is 'cured' by tasting the blood of Christ. However, several Christians I talked to about it said it was horribly blasphemous. I thought it was the opposite of that. I was raised Catholic by the way.


message 50: by C.E. (new)

C.E. Martin (cemartin2) | 49 comments I have to wonder where it would GET the blood of Christ... but yes, that sounds intriguing to me as well, and not blasphemous.


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