This almost exclusively comes in blanket statements condemning all Christian sci-fi or all Christian comics or all Christian fantasy. And it usually does not involve examples -- there is no need for examples, because the example is all of it. (Exceptions: if C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkin or Madeline L'Engle wrote it.) (Other exception: if the person who is speaking or one of his friends wrote it.) (And yes, I know it sounds like I am making blanket statements here myself -- to be clear, I'm not saying this about "all" or "every" but about a few different things I have come across in the last month.)
It's kind of disheartening, as a Christian creator of fiction. Are my fellow Christians simply not giving me a chance because I identify myself as a Christian, and all media by Christians is terrible? Or is it true, and I'm actually part of the problem? (Feel free to NOT answer that question -- I don't need anything to add to my neuroses!)
There are two problems with these blanket statements, as I see it:
1. The small pond syndrome. This is my theory: yes, there are many terrible works of fiction by Christians. But I believe that the ratio of good to bad in Christian literature is actually the same as it is in general literature. The difference is the size of the audience and the size of the group of producers. Taking secular sci-fi or comics or fantasy as a whole, you have a HUGE body of work -- looking at it as a whole, you are going to be more likely to see only the good, the 10% let's say (just to pull a number). But, taking the niche of Christian books and comics or whatever, it's a much smaller selection and as a result, you are going to see all of it -- good, bad, and ugly.
The point being, the problem is not LIMITED to Christian writers, it's just more visible.
2. Most of the complainers complain about the bad. A blog I follow has devoted a whole series to pointing out what NOT to do in writing Christian fiction, nitpicking about things that they don't like about it . . . instead of encouraging and educating about HOW to do it better! Pointing out what's WRONG is an easy target to hit, but bringing something positive to the conversation is not as easy.
Please don't get me wrong -- I know that a lot of bad art is being produced. But the thing that is being forgotten is that the "bad" art that is being produced is usually being produced by earnest people who just want to express themselves artistically, usually to the best of their ability. I believe art's primary purpose is to connect with others -- and even bad art does that . . . and if it fulfills its goals, is it really bad art? That would make for an interesting discussion.
So, my questions to you: am I totally crazy? Or just partially? (You can answer that one, I'm already neurotic in this category and nothing will make that worse.)
Am I just defending mediocrity?
What's the solution?
And what good "Christian" sci-fi have you read recently? Is there good out there? I've asked this question in a number of different places, and love getting the answer. I'm on a quest to prove the blanket statement wrong . . . there IS good Christian genre fiction out there! And I'm looking for it!