Cruci-Fiction (?)

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!

14 comments

  1. 1. “Cruci-Fiction” reads like something that someone would buy on a T-shirt at a skeptics convention.

    2. Both of these authors tried too hard with their descriptions. “To save a world… he must rely on God” has too much cheese (And what the heck is up with Sr. del Arroz’s Amazon avatar?), whereas Adam Lane Smith’s description reads excellently until “The first book in a new heavy metal Christian pulp series.” That final line is the perfect invitation for fedora tippers to post the clip where Hank Hill remarks, “Can’t you see you’re not making Christianity better? You’re just making rock and roll worse.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • “1. “Cruci-Fiction” reads like something that someone would buy on a T-shirt at a skeptics convention.”

      Savage! But hilarious.

      I think both authors know their audience and are hitting that sweet spot hard. Definitely no subtlety there!

      Like

  2. —Hans wrote: “…1. “Cruci-Fiction” reads like something that someone would buy on a T-shirt at a skeptics convention….

    “…a new heavy metal Christian pulp series.” That final line is the perfect invitation for fedora tippers to post the clip where Hank Hill remarks, “Can’t you see you’re not making Christianity better? You’re just making rock and roll worse.”

    —-He’s right, ha ha ha!

    —Who knows, maybe the term will take off and become popular and a rallying point but it’s not to my taste.

    —If I just pick up a book and discover Christianity is a focus in some way that’s fine if it’s well written. But if books are there to lecture that’ll discourage me from reading them. I know that’s not what your goal is and maybe it’s not any of these authors goals are.

    Alexander said: “This audience (a) doesn’t want to be insulted, but (b) also doesn’t want to be preached at….”

    —There you go. “Cruci-ficition” looks goofy is all. Sci-fi. Cru-fic. I don’t know.

    cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anonymous,

      Fair enough. I think we shouldn’t get hung up per se on the marketing titles. Just go with your standard: does this book entertain me or not despite the overt Christian themes?

      If the writer messed up and got too preachy. Tell him constructively that he botched it. Then let him correct his aim.

      xavier

      Liked by 1 person

      • Xavier, this is a good strategy. Naming something is important, but not as important as the quality of the things themselves.

        And please, if you find The Last Ancestor too preachy, please let me know (maybe in your amazon review).

        Like

  3. Alexander wrote: “But when you get lots of different people reacting negatively to a term, you have to listen!”

    —-Good point. Who knows. What sounds goofy today could become some new literary movement tomorrow.

    cheers

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “Maybe you can help me, I’m looking for a book titled Deus Vult.”

    “I’ll check for you.”

    Tappity-tappity-tap.

    “Oh yes, that’ll be in a our Cruci-Fiction section.”

    “Wait, what? It’s a religious book?”

    ‘No sir, Cruci-Fiction is in the fiction section between Sci-Fi and Fantasy.”

    “So you’re saying the Crucifixion is fiction?”

    “I don’t know sir, I’m agnostic.”

    cheers

    Liked by 1 person

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