CSFF Blog Tour Highlights

by Mike Duran · 19 comments

The Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy (CSFF) Blog Tour of my novel The Resurrection is in full swing. It’s both exciting and unnerving to have so many people talking about and analyzing your book all at once. It’s also fascinating to see the various angles and emphases readers extract from the book. Or don’t. Here’s a sampling of some of the discussions that have ensued over the last couple of days (and a song list to boot).

On day one of the tour, Becky Miller used the novel to discuss charismatic phenomenon (prophecy, tongues, miracles, etc.) and Christians’ responses to said gifts. It led to a lively discussion. You can see Becky’s post HERE. Novelist Bruce Hennigan has written three very extensive posts about the themes of the book. Here’s 1, 2, and 3. Thanks, Bruce! Really nice work! And a good discussion ensued at David Wilson’s site regarding the occult elements in the story and whether or not the protag’s followed a biblical precedent in how they dealt with them. Thanks, David. Also, blogging buddy Jason Joyner not only reviewed my novel, he conducted an interview with me regarding the book. We go into detail about some of the story elements. You can find Part One of the interview HERE.

Mixed responses to the book being referred to as part of the Horror Genre. Carol Keen said,

I just found out that some are thinking this is a horror story. I don’t see that. To my mind horror movies are all blood, guts, killing and hatred, Satan and no God, no redemption. There is plenty of redemption in this book.

Blogging friend Jessica Thomas suggested, in Part Two of her review, that the book wasn’t scary enough:

In my opinion, The Resurrection wasn’t as spooky as Frank Peretti’s The Oath, which gave me nightmares…  My main gripe with the story was that I wanted more supernatural elements. I guess when it comes down to it, I want a supernatural thriller to give me nightmares.

On the other hand, Sarah Sawyer is so leery of the horror genre, she did not read the book. She admitted in her post,

I don’t read “supernatural suspense”–the Christian term for horror. The few times I’ve attempted to read in the genre, I’ve regretted it. By no means do I think Christian horror is intrinsically flawed, but it reminds me too much of recurring nightmares and childhood fears to make it an entertaining or even thought-provoking reading experience. My vivid imagination needs no further provocation regarding the dark side of the supernatural realm, however redemptive the conclusion. So after hearing The Resurrection branded as horror and hearing reviewers speak of it as creepy/eerie and refer to ghosts and the occult, I determined this wasn’t a book for me.

I wonder if these different responses aren’t indicative of one of the reasons why Christian Horror struggles for traction in the Christian market. Is it too scary or not scary enough? (Sounds like a good blog topic, huh?) For those who are interested in this discussion, today I am guest blogging at Sarah Sawyer’s site with a piece entitled “The Argument Against Christian Horror — a Response.” Check it out!

John Otte takes a good critical look at what he felt was a flaw in the story and then moves to a doctrinal critique of my argument for the possibility of ghosts,  concluding that my first novel is a “less-than-impressive book.” Contrast this with Nikole Hahn’s review:

The characters endeared themselves to me. It’s a week later and I am still thinking about them…  As much as I tried, I could not find anything I didn’t like about this book. It’s earned a permanent spot on my library.

Aren’t reviews fun?

Anyway, Nikole liked my stuff enough to ask me to guest blog on her site, which I did, in a post entitled “Why We Need Supernatural Fiction.”

And on a more humorous note, Steve Trower compiled a list of the Top Ten Resurrection Songs. And, no, none of them are from Duran Duran. Lots of fun, Steve!

Anyway, you can find links to all the participant’s blogs at the CSFF site. Thanks to all those who have participated. And a special hats off to Becky Miller for spearheading this thing and her enthusiasm to see Christian writers and Christian fiction succeed. Thanks Becky.

Nikole Hahn March 23, 2011 at 8:38 AM

The person who refused to read the book because others were calling it a horror genre should have read it. I can’t blame her too much because when all the hubub came out on the Harry Potter books and Christians were talking down about it, I, too, jumped on that bandwagon judging the book before I read a single word.

Thanks for the mention! :o)

I have a friend I will refer to your blog because she’s interested in writing horror genre and she thinks the Christian world might judge her on it.

Sarah Sawyer March 23, 2011 at 4:26 PM

As the person who chose not to read the book, I have to wonder why you think I should have picked it up? I’m not judging the book as inappropriate (nor have I heard other Christians call it such), but I simply assessed it something I personally would prefer not to read, based not only on genre but also elements prevalent in the book. I have seen a number of tour members say they didn’t find it that scary, but quite a few other readers did…and that’s not my preferred choice of reading material. 🙂

Nikole Hahn March 23, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Not preferred reading choice I get, but it’s definitely not horror.

Ane Mulligan March 23, 2011 at 6:12 PM

Sarah, you’d be surprised. I critiqued this book back when Mike was writing it, and we all LOVED it. I don’t read books like it much elsewhere, but this is so good and the writing is great.

Jessica Thomas March 23, 2011 at 8:57 AM

Great overview.

I think I’m glad that I don’t know many of those songs… heh heh

Rachel March 23, 2011 at 9:00 AM

This has turned out to be a great tour! Great wrap-up, Mike. I’m off to go read more…

Rachel March 23, 2011 at 9:03 AM

Just checked out the songlist! Some great stuff…been so long since I listened to The Stone Roses…

Jill March 23, 2011 at 9:38 AM

It’s probably a good thing that the supernatural genre is being embraced by the SFF crowd, because it opens up the genre to a wide variety of readers. Congrats on your blog tour. Maybe I’ll write a blog post sometime about the speculative realm and and how the different types merge together.

Dave Wilson March 23, 2011 at 9:44 AM

Mike,

Let me commend you for your attitude about reviews by amateurs like myself. As the scriptures say, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Based on the humility you’ve displayed, you must be a blessed man.

Regarding Christian Horror, have you read “The Falling Away” by TL Hines, or “Tandem” by Tracey Bateman? I’ve reviewed both recently, but am not a big fan. My issue was more with the quality of the writing rather than the genre. That said, the jury’s still out, in my opinion, whether there’s a big need for vampire fiction in contemporary Christendom.

I’m looking forward to seeing lots of new books from you in the future!

Dave

Mike Duran March 23, 2011 at 7:48 PM

Thanks, Dave! I appreciate your kind words. You might want to know, I am pitching, among other things, a vampire tale.

Merrie Destefano March 24, 2011 at 12:05 PM

Vampires. Yay!

Dave Wilson March 25, 2011 at 5:37 AM

Oops. Guess I stuck my foot in my mouth on that one! I’d be interested in your take on vampires.

I guess I’m still in process of deciding for myself what’s profitable for Christians in this type of fiction. On one hand, there’s the argument that because it’s make believe, we should just lighten up. On the other side, there’s a concern about things like drinking blood and magic, for example, because the Bible strongly condemns both.

What perspective has helped you in thinking through this issue?

Dave

Rachel March 25, 2011 at 2:39 PM

Oh, goodie!!! 😀

Alan Oathout March 23, 2011 at 10:39 AM

Hi, Mike…

Haven’t read the book yet (plan to), so I’ve avoided all the blog entries with spoilers. But one thought occurs to me as I look at the variety of opinions: Art being what it is (Christian or otherwise), every author is going to be criticized for something (too short – too long; too literary – too commercial; too tame – too edgy, etc).

Oftentimes, you’ll be criticized for both, by two different types of readers.

This being true, I think every author has to plant a stake in the ground: “*This* is what I’d like my book to be criticized for.” And then shoot to attain that vision.

(If I’m criticized for ________, that means I’ve met my goals, and I’ll be happy.)

I’m curious: What are you hoping The Resurrection will be criticized for?

Mike Duran March 23, 2011 at 7:53 PM

Great question, Alan. Probably, the criticism I’d most relish would be the one thing I don’t think Christian readers would level (which probably speaks to how the Christian reading community can be myopic). It’s this: So you really think the Christian religion is superior to all other religions? Now that’s the criticism I really want to sink my teeth into!

Tony March 23, 2011 at 1:41 PM

I read your comment where you said you were worried about your next novel being too creepy? So. . .we expecting that puppy any time soon? 😉

I haven’t read The Resurrection yet, and I’m disappointed to be reading so many people claiming it’s hardly horror at all (of course, that’s probably because most people don’t quite understand what horror is, or why horror fans enjoy it). I’ll still check it out though, as soon as I can. . .but I noticed there’s no Nook version of it. . .what’s up with that?

Mike Duran March 23, 2011 at 7:58 PM

Tony, my next novel is tentatively scheduled for May 2012. Digital versions of the book, from my understanding, should be available by next month. But that’s ultimately up to my publisher.

Sarah Sawyer March 23, 2011 at 4:22 PM

Thanks for taking the time to guest post, Mike! Like Dave, I’m impressed with how involved you’ve been on the tour and your gracious responses. I imagine it must be a strange feeling to have your book dissected over several days, but it’s certainly been an interesting tour.

Merrie Destefano March 24, 2011 at 12:02 PM

Mike,
I’ve enjoyed this blog tour SO much! I haven’t posted–I’m more of a lurker. But I’ve visited almost all of the sites with reviews/comments about THE RESURRECTION. I think the blog tour itself has been excellent, but I also really liked your post today. I really like how you listen to every opinion and how respectfully you treat all your readers.

I honestly think THE RESURRECTION is the first book of many, launching a wonderful career. And I can’t wait to read your next book!

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