Friday, November 26, 2010

De Facto Gatekeeper?

Nick Harrison recently called Jeff Gerke “the de facto gatekeeper of Christian speculative fiction.” I don’t have a clue what that means, so I decided to write about it. To be the de factor anything you either have to be the choice that pretty much everyone makes (as in Microsoft Word is the de facto standard for word processers) or you’ve got to be the only one doing it. So which is it with Jeff Gerke. Is he the person everyone chooses as the gatekeeper for Christian speculative fiction? The thing about gatekeepers (agent, editors, etc.) is that people choose the ones that let them through the gate. If you’re letting more junk through the gate than other people, that may not be a good thing. The other possibility is that he’s the only one publishing Christian speculative fiction. That isn’t true either. None of the Christian speculative fiction I’ve read recently has come from him. Seems like most of what I’ve read recently came from Thomas Nelson. I’d have to go back and check the spine to be sure, but I know it wasn’t from Jeff’s company. So, I’m still not sure what that means.

I do understand what Christian speculative fiction is, so maybe it’s worth writing about that. I like speculative fiction because it gives us the freedom to do things we can’t do with other stories. I think you have to be careful though. Some people decide they’re going to write about elves or vampires or spaceships, so they venture into speculative fiction. I think it would be better if people would think about their story first. If at all possible, put it in a normal setting, but if it turns out to be difficult to tell the story in that way, then use speculative fiction as the medium for the story. That’s about all I have to say on the subject and I still don’t know what it means to be “the de facto gatekeeper of Christian speculative fiction.”