I have a Twitter feed, #swordcrossrockt. I use it to keep tabs on Christian authors, because it seems to be more reliable than following their blogs. It’s not perfect, as the feed needs to be checked constantly and is vulnerable to become a column of undecipherable gibberish and photo links. But it’s nice to be able to get the news in a concise form.
One thing that is interesting though is the “news” you get when you don’t expect it.
It seems that about 75% of the authors I follow are female. About 90% of books on my feed or promotions from the big Christian presses are targeted towards women. When I do see male-oriented books, from a website like Spirit-Filled Kindle, the male books tend to fall into two categories:
- Non-fiction, mostly teaching.
Not to say non-fiction or thrillers don’t have a place. But it seems to be hard to find anything but.
Or say on a popular site like Goodreads. The “Christian Reader” type forums are absolutely dominated by women and female books. It’s understandable that women tend to use social media more than men. But it seems dominated almost to Pinterest levels, and topics for men really are few and far between.
This has been a personal peeve of mine, both as a reader and as a reviewer. For reading, it means that while I read widely and enjoy books regardless of gender, I read a LOT of YA books and others with women protags and targeted towards women. There’s little else to read at times, and genres like Hard SF or Military SF are increasingly rare among Christian speculative fiction.
As a reviewer, it can be tough because even though I do like and read all types of books, a constant diet of female-centered fiction can wear you down. Not because it’s bad; what strikes me is just how many strong women writers and novels are out there, even more so than the world. It’s humorous that people rag on Christianity for being patriarchal when I can’t see even secular SF matching the gender balance and openness to female views Christian spec fic has. But it leads to a weird situation where guys don’t exist except as love interests or as flavor, and there’s only so much of this as a male reader I can take.
Apparently I’m rare though. Increasingly it seems that men don’t read, with a host of articles popping up bewailing why. It’s even worse than that; not only do they don’t read, they don’t even attend church.
It’s tough. When this is combined with the seeming disinterest in Christian speculative fiction as a whole, it makes me want to pack it in. I’m doing a tremendous amount against type; I’m a man (men don’t read) who reads and reviews Christian (people don’t read Christian fiction) speculative fiction (good Christians are wary of it.) It doesn’t also help that mainstream Christian publishers ignore us, and there’s little to no fandom around Christian spec fiction as such.
Frustration. Ah well. The reviews are still going on: next up is Circle Girls.