Orson Scott Card has defined fantasy, as opposed to science fiction, as a story about things which couldn’t happen. In other words, there are wonders and magic.
Recently fantasy has had a bit of a growth spurt in traditional Christian publishing, and a few trends are becoming apparent.
First, a category that continues to have success is legend. Robert Treskillard is leading the way with The Merlin Spiral series, a new version of the Merlin and King Arthur story. Following Treskillard’s debut novel, Merlin’s Blade, the second in the series, Merlin’s Shadow released this month.
Sigmund Brouwer also makes use of the same legend in his young adult series Merlin’s Immortals. Book three, Martyr’s Fire, came out this month as well.
Refashioned fairy tales also continue without losing steam. Melanie Dickerson leads the way. In January 2013 she released The Fairest Beauty, a Sleeping Beauty story, and next month The Captive Maiden, a reworking of Cinderella, is due out.
Alternate medieval fantasies seem to be doing well. R. J. Larson and Patrick Carr are two authors with successful series set somewhere else, though the place has a decided medieval feel to it. Carr’s The Staff & The Sword trilogy consists of The Cast of Stones, A Hero’s Lot, and A Draw of Kings due out in January. Larson’s Books of the Infinite include Prophet, Judge, and King.
Dystopian fantasy is a fourth category that traditional Christian publishers are producing, with Jill Williamson leading the way. Her Safe Lands series, set in this world in some imagined future, begins with Captives. Outcasts is due to release in January.
Evan Angler also has a dystopian fantasy series, aimed at a middle grade audience. The Swipe Series consists of four books so far, with Spark launching in November.
Myth is another subdivision of fantasy, and Anne Elisabeth Stengl leads the way in Christian myth with her Tales of Goldstone Woods. An illustrated novella, Goddess Tithe, is due out next month, and Shadow Hand will be available in February.
Donita Paul’s Realm Walker series seems as if it falls within this category as well. The first of the series, One Realm Beyond, will be available in January.
I’ve only scratched the surface of the books that are out or that will be soon. There are fantasies available from independent publishers too, and many more from self-publishers.
I can’t help but think a list like this might be a good starting point for Christmas shopping. What fantasies can you add that people should put on their “buy this for a Christmas gift” list? Which ones would you like to receive? (After you leave that comment, be sure to direct the person most likely to buy you a Christmas present to read Spec Faith! )