CSFF Blog Tour: Unfashionable Furniture

When I saw that A Cast of Stones – showcased this week in the CSFF blog tour – was listed as adult fantasy, it made me happy. Maybe unduly happy.

I was glad for the adult label for the reason that the majority of the speculative books I’ve recently read are labeled YA or younger. I have enjoyed these novels; the YA label means that the principal characters will be under twenty, but not much more. These books – sold as they are to a younger crowd – are fit for adults, too.

C.S. Lewis once weighed forth – or possibly it was Tolkien; either way, an estimable person you ought to listen to weighed forth – that fairy tales ended up in the nursery for the same reason old furniture did: It had gone out of fashion. That was a long time ago. Today speculative fiction – in many ways our modern fairy tales – is often directed, as the old fairy tales were, to the very young.

And I wonder why. Why are so many speculative books, perfectly decent for adult reading, pitched to teens and children? Why are so many speculative books written to them, reducing the age of the heroes, reducing the page count?

Is it a matter of fashion? I don’t think so; I don’t know. The current fashions are not an area of high knowledge for me.

Is it because adults won’t read speculative books? In my observation, adults read even speculative fiction that stars twelve-year-olds. But maybe it’s the crowd I’m around.

Is it driven by the market understanding of publishers? At the Realm Makers conference early this month, Jeff Gerke said that, in the mainstream publishing houses, the speculative genre is not expanding – except in YA. Maybe writers feel that to get an audience they have to aim their stories beneath adults.

Whatever the explanation, I’m glad to read a Christian fantasy written for adults. I’m glad to read a Christian fantasy about adults. To learn more about this rare bird, follow the links –

To the author’s website;

To A Cast of Stones [Book One] on Amazon;

To The Hero’s Lost [Book Two] on Amazon;

To the blog tour (reviews up in some places today!):
Julie Bihn
Jennifer Bogart
Keanan Brand
Beckie Burnham
Jeff Chapman
Laure Covert
Pauline Creeden
Emma or Audrey Engel
April Erwin
Nikole Hahn
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen

Krystine Kercher

Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Writer Rani

Nathan Reimer
Chawna Schroeder
Jojo Sutis

Steve Trower
Phyllis Wheeler

Rachel Wyant

7 thoughts on “CSFF Blog Tour: Unfashionable Furniture

  1. Y’know, I didn’t even pay attention to the audience designation when I picked up the book, nor did I think about the age group while reading it. I just dove right in. But, gotta admit, I’m weary of reading only YA-designated spec fic. Just ’cause I grew up doesn’t mean I grew out of these kinds of stories.

  2. You raise an interesting question.

    I, an adult, read YA books because they as a rule don’t contain sex, lots of violence, or profanity. The adult offerings are way off the charts as far as I am concerned in these matters. I have no interest in reading them.

    But how about adult offerings that are screened for these things, for example ones that are published by CBA publishers? I’d be happy to read more of those, but the CBA publishers haven’t figured out how to find the speculative fiction market, really. The spec fic fans don’t patronize Christian bookstores much, leaving that to the romance readers.

    It’s a conundrum. How to change the market? Well, for one, encourage people to buy excellent speculative fiction written for adults when it comes available. So, folks, buy this series!

  3. I think that one reason that Speculative Fiction is so marketed towards younger readers is that so many adults, who haven’t read it as children or teens, are unlikely to read it as adults. But they will buy it for children and grandchildren.

    What I like are parents who insist on reading whatever their kids want to read first, to make sure it is okay for them. This is a good way to hook new adult readers of Speculative Fiction.

    I got hooked when my sister had to read A Wrinkle in Time for school (she hates Speculative Fiction because of a 3rd grade assignment). I got to keep the book because I liked it! 😀

    I have 1 out of 4 sisters who likes Speculative Fiction so we share our books.

  4. How sad; I had just figured this was kind of edgy young adult (though in my defense, the protagonist is still in his teens).

    Young adult is often faster-paced than adult writing (the idea being that kids and young adults don’t have the patience to read through those boring scenes that I don’t really want to read either). So I often tend to gravitate toward it myself, but I do strongly agree that there should be more adult Christian speculative fiction out there.

  5. I feel the same way, Keenan. Instead of always trying to appeal to teenagers, why can’t they put out stories for we adults every once in a while?

    Phyllis, I hadn’t thought of that as a reason to read YA, but it makes sense. I think that CBA publishers would put out adult speculative fiction – if they could make a profit on it.

    That strikes me as true, Meagan. I’m sure there are people who wouldn’t buy speculative books for themselves but would buy it for their children and grandchildren. Four sisters is a lot, by the way. I have a good number of sisters myself, and most of them like speculative fiction. Mostly we share my books …

    Julie, I also noticed that the hero is not yet twenty – which I regard as the signature mark of YA fiction. But there is no one younger than him in the story, and most of the other characters are older – many even a generation older. The novel is also, as you say, longer and fuller (and slower!) than YA fiction usually is.

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