I read an interesting blog posting by Rebecca Luella Miller today. She was talking about how Christian fiction is “growing up” and is no longer the “poor quality” stuff that used to come out. What caught my attention was this line: “Some Christians are troubled by writing that includes immoral behavior, while others are disturbed by stories that have happy endings.”
I’ll admit, I laughed when I read that line. Obviously, the title “Christian reader” can’t be limited by boundaries. Not all Christian readers appreciate romances. Not all Christian readers buy speculative fiction. Some of use won’t touch a story about the end times, while others thrive on end time thrillers. Obviously, diversity is alive and well among Christian readers. As it should be!
I write fantasy. Bad things happen to my protagonist. He’s tempted by those things that tempt all men: lust, greed, anger. Yet I’ve heard some well-meaning Christians say they don’t want to read books that have the protagonist doing something evil. They don’t want to see bad things happen. They don’t want to read about giving in to temptation. They want a happy ending, where the hero and heroine get married and live happily ever after raising seven kids, three dogs, a cat, a rat, and a hamster. And I’m happy there are books out there to fit the bill. Personally, I’d rather stick my finger down my throat. Conflict gets my blood racing, and there’s nothing I love more than a story full of tension and fantastic elements and the unknown. I don’t mind a love story subplot or a sad ending, as long as it was a fantastic ride and the ending tied up all the loose ends. I know I’m a minority in the world of Christian fiction readers, but it pleases me immensely that I can find books I like in amongst the romances, thrillers, and cozy mysteries.
God has created a fantastic world, and none of us created beings are completely alike. And THAT’S where the conflict comes from. It’s a blessing to know good writers fulfill all those literary desires, and that the Christian fiction industry is, indeed, growing up, publishing a wide variety of genres by authors who’ve perfected their word-smithing skills.