Is There a Place for “Mature” Christian Fiction?

The Steve Laube Agency has purchased Marcher Lord Press (MLP) (link defunct), “the premier publisher of Science Fiction and Fantasy for the Christian market.” Follow the link for answers to a handful of questions about the acquisition, especially if you didn’t know there was a publisher of SF/F for the Christian market.

Steve Laube has not purchased the MLP imprint Hinterlands, which is defined this way: “to publish science-fiction and fantasy stories with mature content and themes (i.e. PG-13 or R-rated language, sexuality, and violence).” This is the imprint that published A Throne of Bones, which Lars reviewed last year. Apparently, that title raised the ire of a writer’s group that issues a prominent award, which was the motivation for starting the imprint–like zoning a red light district, I guess.

With the purchase of the press but not the imprint, another publisher could buy Hinterlands or the rights could revert to their authors. Mike Duran asks, does this “signal the end of Christian publishing’s ‘mature-content experiment’?” He suggests that it may be, but two things point away of it:

1. Vox Day’s A Throne of Bones was the first and most well-received title. The imprint’s chief says he received “astonishingly few” submissions for publication. Does that mean there isn’t much of an audience for this type of work or that too few authors are willing to go that direction?

2. Duran says Day is something of a lightening rod and some authors have refused to be associated with him. He doesn’t say they are right to shun him, but he does point to evidence that they may be doing it. To that end, he wonders whether “the non-acquisition of Hinterlands is more of a renunciation of Vox Day than a rejection of mature content.”

What do you think? You may already read books with this kind of content anyway. Have you read any of these titles (I’m having trouble identifying them).

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