We Got That Going for Us . . . Which is Nice.

How does the saying go . . . one person's garbage is another's treasure?
or perhaps "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" is more apt?

Whatever . . . bad start, let's try it again in plain language:

Yesterday my publisher TWCP received an email that pointed to a new review on amazon of Light at the Edge of Darkness (an anthology of Biblical speculative fiction in which I have three stories).

The emailer said that he'd ordered a copy of Flashpoint and because amazon had a "special" offer buy Flashpoint and Light at the Edge of Darkness and save 4 bucks, he decided to check out Light.

Of course, he looked at the reviews. It was the most recent one (and Light's only 3/5 review to date) that caught his eye:

Beware of graphic violence!

I feel compelled to warn future readers that two stories had graphic violence in them. "Frozen Generation" describes fetal mutilation, and "Undeniable" describes physical torture. I had a nightmare after reading these stories, and I wish someone would have warned me. The rest of the stories are relatively tame and interesting.

The emailer explained:

"I knew I had to buy the book when I read the top "negative" review that said it gave the reader nightmares.”

Now, I must admit that I don't like the idea of giving nightmares to someone, but we have to remember that everyone's tastes are different. I get recurring nightmares where I have become a Harlequin Romance author! Brrrrr. I understand.

It is nice, however, when a negative turns out a positive response like this.

In the (almost) words of Carl Spackler (Bill Murray, Caddy Shack):

So . . . we got that going for us . . . which is nice.


Anonymous said...

Isn't the object of the Horror Genre "to give the reader nightmares"? The description says "DARK Speculative Fiction", and DARK Speculative does NOT equal all sweetness-and-light with a happily-ever-after Altar Call at the end.

At least this shows Light at the Edge of Darkness ISN'T your Officially Christian anthology, CBA-certified "Safe for the Whole Family". Lawful Good does NOT mean Lawful Nice.

cyn said...

Actually, there are warnings every where you go to purchase or read about the book (including in the preface to the book itself). There are stories in it that aren't for the faint of heart.

The description: Headlining the book is "Undeniable" a riveting, chilling tale by Canadian Horror writer A.P. Fuchs. Pretty much says it, doesn't it?

kc said...

I can't believe that person. Nightmares? Geesh. I have read much more disturbing stuff in CBA books than in either Flashpoint or LATEOD.

Rock on.


SherryT said...

I really must buy these two books!


UtM, SherryT

Andrea Graham said...

"graphic violence . . . describes fetal mutilation"

Really? Did I write the same story he read? Maybe I have mastered the Alfred Hitchcock art of firing the imagination up without actually detailing much actual gore without even realizing it . . . Interesting that the images their mind painted were put in the same category as Fuchs even though I know I used far less graphic language. Or did someone slip pictures of aborted fetuses into the final cut that I don't know about? (j/k)

Not a lot of ways to speculate on what *I* speculated on without offending someone, that's for certain!

BTW, the fetuses featured in Frozen Generation weren't, strictly speaking, fetuses. They were, developmentally, one-year-olds being harvested for their organs. And I only had two such scenes. Just for the record. But as I said, when you're writing about the evils man could come up with to do to their own children in the future, it'll make some uncomfortable no matter how it's handled.

Anyone who loved FG, though, should ask to beta read Genesis of Judgment. 50,000 words of more of the same :)

Anonymous said...

And in a way, this is actually an advantage. Horror fans (and a lot of fen in general) are just contrary enough that if it's said to "give the reader nightmares", that'll make them want to read it!

A lot of horror fen who wouldn't be caught dead reading anything "Christian" might go for this. Now all we need to do is get the Official Christians denouncing it and the contrariness of fandom will do the rest...

Author Sue Dent said...

Okay, KC! I gotta know, what CBA book even comes close to anything in AP's story or Daniel's or Andrea's (that scary, edgy woman) *shaking finger at Andrea*

CBA Granny would've been in a coma! They would've had to bring the paddles in.

So what did you mean by more disturbing exactly?

And no, you don't have to answer that. I was just curious.

Did I miss something. :o

Deb said...

I can't answer for all Christian fic, but I did read one by Kristin Heitzman that showed, graphically enough for my taste, a teenager being murdered by strangulation.

As the mom of a teenager, please note that I HAVE considered this myself, but...


Author Sue Dent said...

LOL at Deb!

But as a rule, CBA and ECPA stay far, far away from this. And though some books get by that might be remotely as challenging as A.P. Fuch's story, they would be pulled from shelves in an instant should someone complain.

And even if one did really, really well, they have no desire to change their content guidelines to allow more of that in.

Andrea Graham said...

Scary edgy and Frozen Generation:

The current incarnation of the basic topic of the story has been covered in the CBA--I've read several of them, but the one that sticks out to me was badly cliched (the daughter almost aborted grows up and discovers, you guessed it, a cure for cancer) But showing a baby screaming his lungs out seconds before being dumped unceremoniously into a machine that slices and dices . . . I don't believe anyone has dared go inside the abortion clinic and describe what actually goes on today, no. And the futuristic version is probably going to be "too graphic" no matter how staidly described also. Somethings, no matter how sensitive you are too the topic, are horrifying no matter what. But I tend to believe this kind of horror, shedding light on our darkness, is good for the soul.

But yah, if people don't want to see it, I don't have much hope that a mainstream publishing house will publish it unless they've mastered the art of riding the wave of controversy, and most Christian houses haven't. God could open the door I suppose, if the MS hit the hands of the right editor who loved and believed in the story enough to fight for it, but that would be a miracle pretty much.

I'm an odd ball that bucks sterotypes. One of those (tongue in cheek) hated conservative evangelicals who writes the stuff I'm supposed to condemn. I've skated the edge in fiction when I've sensed God telling me to. There is a tradition in the Faith of shining a Light on the dark places we'd rather ignore.

BTW, a nice motherly/grandmotherly lady at my church read FG, and it was scary/emotionally whalloping for her; like moved to tears. Because she, from the sound of it, kept seeing her adopted almost-aborted daughter in the faces of the babies in the story. She agreed with the general consensus that it's well written, but I could tell "fun read" isn't a phrase that would come to mind in the same sentence as "frozen generation."

I advised her to skip AP Fuch's story :)

Author Sue Dent said...

I'm an odd ball that bucks sterotypes. One of those (tongue in cheek) hated conservative evangelicals

LOL Just make sure you don't let it get out that Sue Dent hates conservative evangelicals. For one, that would be a sin :) and I only ever stated that I don't write for the market CBA and ECPA do. On the other hand, I don't appreciate the way they present themselves as something other than a niche market. It does hurt ALL of Christian publishing when they say they are it. Which they do.

Anonymous said...

But as a rule, CBA and ECPA stay far, far away from this. And though some books get by that might be remotely as challenging as A.P. Fuch's story, they would be pulled from shelves in an instant should someone complain.

As the ad campaign for the Officially-Christian radio station in my area puts it: "We're Safe for the Whole Family". You want Aslan "Safe", declawed and "fixed" like a housecat in your Safe-for-the-Whole-Family Thomas Kincaid-painted cottage; what happens when (not if) Tash comes knocking?