First, kudos to Razorfist, the Poet Laureate of Profanity as John C. Wright calls him, for coining the term “Cruci-Fiction.”
So what is “Cruci-Fiction”? Nothing short of unabashedly Christian fiction that still has explosions and fights and guns and blood and guts and action all of that good stuff.
What it doesn’t have is a groveling, mewling, weak depiction of faith, or an embarrassment on the part of its writer for being a Christians and featuring Christian themes and characters.
That’s what I’m trying to write.
From my end, I’m not out to convert anybody. If people read The Last Ancestor and then do feel like converting, great! But that’s not my aim. My aim is to entertain. And like most writers, I write what I know and what I find interesting, and Christianity is interesting to me.
More than just that, it’s also gotten a bad rap. I’ve written many moons ago about how my little personal fight in the broader culture war is to change people’s perceptions about Christians and Christianity, and try to counter the tide of negativity, particularly in how Hollywood, TV, and the fiction and comic book industries portray us:
. . . there is so much misinformation and out right lies about Christianity and Christians, the nature of the Trinity and the Gospes, that I feel compelled to dispel. This isn’t a religion blog, and I don’t think I’m overtly religious or exclusionary, but it’s such an important part of my life that it’s impossible to divorce it from all the other stuff I do. I’m not trying to convert anybody (but if you want to visit a Greek Orthodox Church to see what it’s all about, that’s great!) but I would just like to change contemporary American’s perceptions about what it is us Christians do and believe.
It’s simple: Religion is important in some 6 billion people’s lives. Sure, Christianity only accounts for a bit over 1 billion of that, but here in the United States, Christianity is the majority religion. It’s also the religion upon which Western Civilization is built. Why wouldn’t its themes and ideas and concepts be used in storytelling? I mean, they had been for centuries, until fairly recently.
Oh, they’re still used, they’re just denigrated and mocked.
Screw that. Let’s change that. I know I am not the first nor the last to do this. But everything seems to be happening at once. I planned The Swordbringer trilogy, of which The Last Ancestor is book one, to have religions themes–to be “cruci-fiction,” so to speak–before I was aware of Jon Del Arroz’s smash hit Justified or Adam Lane Smith’s forthcoming Deus Vult: Wastelanders project (full disclosure: you bet I backed the hell out of Deus Vult: Wastelanders). Brian Niemeier calls this “Cruciform Sword and Planet” and I’m jealous I didn’t think of that first. I was calling The Last Ancestor “Sword and Planet” from the get-go. Brian added the “Cruciform.” See, it’s the little things that separate the geniuses from the madmen . . .
Anyway, my point is this: Like the aforementioned Mr. Niemeier said in a recent comment on his blog, “There’s a massive neglected audience that’s starving for good Christian fiction.” This audience (a) doesn’t want to be insulted, but (b) also doesn’t want to be preached at.
Maybe they want to see the Christians be the good guys for a change, and kick some ass while doing it.
Readers who are likewise not Christian, or religious at all, don’t want to be insulted. I don’t want to insult them either. I personally don’t find the themes in The Last Ancestor preachy or insulting. They’re just a part of the story. Did the Islamic elements turn people off Dune? They shouldn’t have, because Frank Herbert was a master of integrating them in a way that served the story and not his own personal predilections.
One truism of business is see a need and fill it. I’m no Del Arroz or Smith or Niemeier, but I like to think I’m contributing in my own small way to serving a woefully overlooked segment of the fiction-buying public. Christians and pop-culture connoisseurs do overlap.
If this describes you, if you enjoyed Justified and Brian Niemeirs’s subtle but still faith-inspired Combat Frame XSeed series, then The Last Ancestor is right up your alley.
Thanks everyone for your support, and for indulging me. I’m just finding this to be an exciting time. I love it when people independently come up with similar ideas.
And snag The Last Ancestor here!