Genre Inquiry


I’ve been doing some thinking about the kinds of stories that are most popular with readers at large compared to the kinds of stories that some Christian publishing insiders claim Christian readers want. It’s true, of course, that we Christians do look at the world differently from others. But it’s also true that we live in this world and are wired with the same wants, needs, desires as are other people. So are we really all that different?

Tough question. We are sinners like everyone else. But the blood of Christ has cleansed us. We have become new. So does this newness mean we are separated from the rest of mankind in our likes and dislikes?

Not really. Because we all are made in God’s likeness, we all have the capacity to enjoy beauty. So Christian and non-Christian alike love chocolate, appreciate Pavarotti, glory in fall leaves, rejoice at the sight of a rainbow. Sure, those aren’t universal. A minority would choose caramel over chocolate or Justin Bieber over Pavarotti. But the point is, those likes and dislikes aren’t determined by our being Christians or not being Christians.

There are some things that are, however. Pornography is one such thing. Granted, an untold number of Christians engage in pornography, but as yet, I haven’t heard any professing Christian advocate for pornography or say that this is pleasing to God and something we should embrace. In other words, there are objects and activities that set Christians apart from non-Christians, or ought to.

Reading is not one of those things. So why would we have the culture at large interested in certain kinds of books and Christians interested in a different kind? I don’t think we do, apart from erotic books that are the equivalent of porn. But that’s my theory. What do you think? Do Christians want to read a different kind of fiction than non-Christians?

I’m not referring to stories with Christian conversions or ones with themes uniquely Christian. I’m asking about genres–romance, historical, mystery, fantasy, adventure, horror, suspense, science fiction, contemporary. Do Christians want different genres from non-Christians?

Let’s expand the genres–dystopian, romantic comedy, urban fantasy, supernatural, contemporary romance, thrillers, crime fiction, epic fantasy, cozy mystery, post-apocalyptic, space opera, cyperpunk, romantic suspense, women’s fiction, family saga, historical romance, political, coming of age, ancient history, dark fantasy. Do Christians spurn some of those genres because we are Christians? Do we choose others because of our Christianity?

Here’s a poll to measure what you all think. I’ll be eager to see the results. Please feel free to leave comments here as well.

Published in: on October 12, 2012 at 5:59 pm  Comments (4)  
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