I was talking with a non-publishing friend a while back, and she asked me what kind of book I was writing. I told her about my science fiction series and my Steampunk series. Then I said, “Actually the short answer is I write spec.”
At her blank look, I corrected myself. “Speculative fiction.”
If anything her look got more confused, and I realized she had no idea what I was talking about when I said speculative. So I took the opportunity to explain the term to her.
Speculative, or spec for short, is the umbrella genre where you find science fiction, fantasy, horror, steampunk—most of what touches on the supernatural. If you go into a mainstream bookstore it’s all the books you find in the science fiction/fantasy section.
And this lead me to an interesting distinction about this term. It’s one you almost exclusively used in the Christian fiction world.
That’s not all that surprising if dig a little and consider the history of Christian fiction. When Christian fiction began to emerge, there was a deep prejudice against science fiction. Many thought that there could never be such a thing as Christian science fiction.
Odd if you think about it, considering the works of C.S. Lewis, and some of the late nineteenth century writers. Although, strictly speaking his works were fantasy, not science fiction (the difference between fantasy and Science Fiction will be my next Genre Talk post).
But back to speculative. These are books where the main components are supernatural. You will still find some romances that have a minor supernatural element shelved with the romance books.
Many of the large Christian publishing houses have spec lines. But the leader of speculative fiction in the Christian world is MarcherLord Press. They ONLY publish spec fiction. And beyond that, they push the envelope on what’s acceptable. For example one of their newest releases is Amish Vampires in Space. Think I’m kidding, here’s a great review from Lisa Godfrees.
Speculative is a genre whose time has come in the Christian Publishing World. I encourage you to look for spec titles at your local Christian bookstore.
Here are some sites (beyond the two I've mentioned) where you can explore more about speculative fiction:
Now I'd love to know who are some of your favorite spec authors. Leave your suggestions in the comments section below.
Don’t forget to join the conversation!