Why I Love (and Write) Speculative Fiction

I love speculative fiction.

Most of what I read falls under the speculative category, and it’s also the genre I write in.

What is speculative fiction? Basically, it’s a general term to describe all genres that fall under science fiction and fantasy categories. Dystopian, time travel, fantasy, space operas….the list could go on and on.

In the secular market, characters in fantasy often use witchcraft and believe in multiple deities. Dystopian tends to be dark, depressing, and godless. Sci-fi tends to be evolution-based. Most secular speculative fiction often seems to promote a worldview contrary to what the Bible teaches.

Which is why I think there needs to be more speculative fiction in the Christian industry.

We need more Christian dystopian novels that show the hope we have in Christ, instead of leaving the reader with a depressed feeling. We need more fantasy books that point to God as our King. We need more sic-fi books whose characters see the beauty of God’s Creation.

Speculative fiction seems to be most popular with teens, but the problem is that most secular fiction (not just sci-fi and fantasy) is filled with sex, profanity, graphic violence, and anti-Christian messages. I think that the growing number of Christian novels for teens is a great thing—they offer alternatives that Christians don’t have to worry are leading them astray.

The thing I love most about speculative fiction books is that they are, ultimately, good-versus-evil stories. But there is a growing trend in those (secular) genres to “blur the lines” of right and wrong. We don’t have a whole lot of heroes and villains anymore. Now we have two people fighting against each other whose methods of achieving victory aren’t all that different. The only difference between them is that the villain does those things because they’re “evil” while the hero is doing those things because of “justice”.

It doesn’t work that way, though. Right is right, and wrong is wrong, regardless of motives. As Christians, we know that we can’t justify sin simply because we may have the right motives. God calls us to a higher standard, and so our Christian protagonists shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking that they can engage in the same activities as the villain (revenge, the ends justify the means, etc) simply because they’re on the “good” side.

(Now, I’m not saying all secular novels are bad. I’ve read quite a few secular YA series that I really enjoyed and don’t have a problem with recommending to my Christian friends. But in general, I do think clean, wholesome secular books are hard to find.)

Anyway, my point is, I started writing my dystopian novel because I wanted to offer teens a story that shows them no matter how bleak things in life seem, there is still hope and love and redemption found in Jesus Christ. I love seeing how there are more and more speculative novels being published in the Christian industry–because sci-fi and fantasy stories are so cool! 🙂

Readers, do you enjoy speculative fiction? What are some of your favorites?

Writers, what are your thoughts on writing speculative fiction novels from a Christian perspective?

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  1. I’ve never been a big fan of sci-fi for the reasons you mention– it’s so often too dark, too godless. There have been a few spec fic books I’ve liked over the years, but I could never say it’s my favorite genre. Then a few years ago, God put me to work writing Christian sci-fi. Huh? Yeah. Crazy. You’re not supposed to write in a genre you don’t read! So I started reading more of it just so I could see how it was supposed to work. And my opinion hasn’t changed much, overall.

    I completely agree that the world could use some well-written, solid speculative fiction that directs the reader toward God and His truth instead of denying it exists except in the under-active imaginations of ignorant people. I see no reason why Christians can’t write as well as the secular world, and we certainly have more to say than the nay-sayers.

    Thanks for this post, Ashley!

  2. I love speculative fiction too, but I mostly read it because I prefer stories with an otherworldly quality to them. I like reading about superpowers, magical creatures, advanced technologies, and all sorts of things that don’t exist in the real world. I want a book to transport me to a place I could otherwise never experience!

  3. I also love speculative fiction. I probably wouldn’t of picked one up if it hadn’t been for my daughter (Ashley) introducing me to the genre. I hope more Christian writers will write more speculative fiction that promotes God’s love and the hope we can have as Christians.

    Praying a publisher offers you a contract Ashley, so I can read your trilogy 🙂

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