CSFF Blog Tour – The Shadow and Night, Day 3

Is it me, or do these blog tours really get better and better? That’s a real question. I know I’m biased, but here’s what I see. Bloggers are genuinely entering into discussion about British author Chris Walley‘s Christian science fiction The Shadow and Night.

Once upon a time, the tour consisted mostly of standard reviews, with an occasional author interview. Now, bloggers are interacting with the book—”This is what the book made me think about” or “I noticed the author did this or that.” Then commenters are chiming in with agreement or disagreement or a new view on the subject. It’s … it’s … book buzz! 😀

I point that out because, as you may suspect, not all buzz is positive. When you start interacting with a work, you also voice the cons as much as the pros. I don’t view this as a black mark on the tour at all, especially in light of the standard PR quip: No PR is bad PR.

I mention this at all because as I’ve roamed about the blogsphere reading what others on the tour are saying, I see a consistent opinion expressed: the pace of The Shadow and Night is slow. Surprisingly, some look at this as a weakness while others view it as a strength. But even those who saw it as a weakness commented that they were so glad they stayed with the story through the slow parts because the pay-off later on was well worth it.

There have also been some comments saying that Walley has become a new favorite author or that the blogger has already ordered the next two books in the trilogy. Great stuff. The pace, for a good number of these bloggers, was not a factor that spoiled the story.

Another topic that has come up several times is the eschatological position of the book, since it starts off 11,000 years in the future and during a long run of peace after the Intervention that bound Satan. Sin still causes disease and death, but that’s about it. The opening chapters, then, portray characters at peace with one another and with God, not filled with gut-wrenching desires blocked at every turn. In other words, characters with next to no conflict. As tour participant John Otte said, he found himself rooting for evil—not to win, but just to show up.

At this point, I do want to interject, I thought the arrival of evil was foreshadowed appropriately. I thought there was an undercurrent of tension—change of some sort was on the way, but what exactly that would be … well, readers are going to have to be patient.

This reduced conflict, however, brings up another question. Are stories about Christians acting as Christians should, destined to be slow paced? Does evil always have to show up? Or can a story show in a gripping way the struggle with the evil that’s already there, in each character’s heart?

Some bloggers think that’s what Walley was able to accomplish. But my question remains. To pull this off, of necessity, must the pace then be slow?

Your thoughts?

Take time this week to see what other CSFF’ers are saying about The Shadow and Night: Brandon Barr Jim Black Justin Boyer Grace Bridges Jackie Castle Carol Bruce Collett Valerie Comer CSFF Blog Tour Gene Curtis D. G. D. Davidson Janey DeMeo Jeff Draper April Erwin Beth Goddard Marcus Goodyear Rebecca Grabill Jill Hart Katie Hart Michael Heald Timothy Hicks Christopher Hopper Jason Joyner Kait Carol Keen Mike Lynch Margaret Rachel Marks Shannon McNear Melissa Meeks Mirtika Pamela Morrisson Eve Nielsen John W. Otte John Ottinger Deena Peterson Rachelle Steve Rice Ashley Rutherford Chawna Schroeder James Somers Rachelle Sperling Donna Swanson Steve Trower Speculative Faith Robert Treskillard Jason Waguespac Laura Williams Timothy Wise

4 Comments

  1. Great article! I don’t get around to the other review blogs since my time is devoured by CFRB (Christian Fiction Review Blog) email and my own writing. Yet I’ve found myself reflecting on these works in a way that brings out the Christian message in each. It’s the way I do things, and it comes natural to me. I receive it as a gift. You and your viewers are always more than welcome to come visit us. Since a number of our members are in CSFF and LGG it’s altogether possible you’ll stumble in on something unique. In March we will be touring THE VOID, by Mark Mynheir. We really get into it.

    Take care and God bless.
    David Brollier

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  2. I thought of plenty of ways to pick up the pace, some of which Walley uses. Foreshadowing, dreams, prophetic visions, etc. I have to say that was enough for me (that and my tendency to skim the slow parts). But there are so many literary devices. Frame stories and so on.

    Given the constraints he set himself, I think it was fairly tense, if you read the undercurrents. Unfortunately, I think many readers don’t know how to read a book that isn’t spoon fed to them. They want the GMC right there on page one, with tension galore to follow, and woe be to the author who doesn’t do that. They don’t recognize foreshadowing or other subtle creepy tension building techniques. I won’t say the opening had me leaping out of my chair in excitement, but I also can’t say I thought it was excessively slow. But like I said, maybe I just skipped those parts without realizing it. 😉

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  3. David, thanks for stopping by, even though A Christian Worldview of Fiction falls far short of a review site. Sometimes, it seems, reviews come in bunches, and this happens to be one such time.

    Rebecca, intriguing to consider what you would change. And you’re right that many readers have become impatient—part of our fast-paced society, I suspect.

    I’m big on hinting, so I appreciate foreshadowing, but I did think on more than one occasion that the main character gave too little attention to what I consider to be the inciting incident. He forgot to mention it in his daily report, didn’t talk about it with his aunt and uncle, kept quiet about it when he got home. Yes, he had other things to deal with, but something that unusual—t seems it would have generated at least passing discussion.

    But how would such an approach have changed the story?

    Interesting to think about.

    Becky

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  4. I couldn’t agree with Rebecca more when she said, “Unfortunately, I think many readers don’t know how to read a book that isn’t spoon fed to them.”

    While some would consider it slow at times, and perhaps the main character did skim over things, I thought overall it was an engaging read and worth my time. Otherwise I never would have finished it.

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