Monday, September 22, 2008

Marcher Lord Press 1: Press On!

Jeff Gerke's latest contribution to Christian speculative fiction is Marcher Lord Press (hereafter MLP), a print-on-demand publishing house dedicated to Christian sci-fi and fantasy. It will officially open its doors October 1: “Atomic batteries to power; turbines to speed,” as the philosopher said.

MLP has various unusual aspects, among them the fact that its graphic mascot is almost certainly Shemp Howard with a dye job. But for those less interested in cultural allusions, the most striking feature is the initial list of novels. Even a quick look will reveal something important.

Okay, yes, the prices are very competitive. But I mean something even more important than that: MLP isn't afraid to pitch to readers with functioning brains. Summa Elvetica clearly doesn't target the hardcore dolt demographic. But even Hero, Second Class by Mitchell Bonds, which may at first seem a lightweight, offers intellectual humor and a bit of a learning experience.

Hero, Second Class is a modern fantasy, roughly along the lines of the Shrek mini-franchise. It's fantasy seen through a sci-fi lens, so fans of Tolkien, Lewis, etc. won't be too annoyed. The humor is fairly universal, however, and even people who don't care for fantasy of any kind will probably find it amusing, unless they don't care for humor of any kind either.

What about the Christian content, if any? I don't know, not having read the whole thing. However, since I've occasionally been barked at for the supposed lack of a Christian basis for "At the Mountains of Lunacy" in Light at the Edge of Darkness, I'm willing to give Bonds the benefit of the doubt. As I usually point out, "At the Mountains of Lunacy" was only a chapter from a larger story, and the next chapter, "A Paladin Called Shecky," gives a brief overview of a theological justification for the setting. (Curiously, the fact that I can justify it seems to annoy critics more than the supposed lack of justification does.) So it may well be that Bonds has some kind of explanation later on. Or perhaps he's just content to incorporate generally Christian themes into the work.

In such cases we should remember what Nicodemus asked the chief priests and Pharisees: "Does our law condemn anyone without first hearing him to find out what he is doing?" (John 7:51) This author and his book seem worth a hearing.

Tomorrow we'll look at R. E. Bartlett's The Personifid Invasion, among other things. You might want to bring a peashooter.

Well, let's see what everyone else on the CSFF tour has to say...
Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Kathy Brasby
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Janey DeMeo
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Kameron M. Franklin
Andrea Graham
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Timothy Hicks
Joleen Howell
Jason Joyner
Tina Kulesa
Mike Lynch
Terri Main
Shannon McNear
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Ashley Rutherford
Hanna Sandvig
Mirtika or Mir's Here
Greg Slade
James Somers
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespac
Laura Williams
Timothy Wise


CherryBlossomMJ said...

Very Informative, like the title of the post too. :)

Mike Lynch said...


I enjoyed reading your review. A good overview of the book.


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