Wednesday, April 20, 2011

April Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog Tour

The Strange Man (The Coming Evil)

This month, the tour goes out to The Strange Man, first volume of the Coming Evil Trilogy by Greg Mitchell. At least one review has described it as something like a B slasher film with overt Christian overtones. Well, that's certainly different. Judging from his blog, Mitchell is something of a fan of the B movie.

Noah Arsenault says there is "quite a bit of gore."

Shannon McDermott writes a fine review. The story, she tells us, is about a fanboy in his early twenties who wastes his life buying action figures and renting slasher films, but now has to save his friends (he has friends?) from Satan, who shows up and, contrary to his typical, more subtle modus operandi, starts slashing people. So it's sort of like the protagonist of Train Man fighting the devil instead of getting a girlfriend. Or maybe he gets a girlfriend too. I don't know. I haven't read the book.

McDermott also writes:

There was too much violence for my liking, and occasionally the creepiness went too far. I’m all for the hero pedaling for his life from a horde of gremlins, but I draw the line at mind-controlling little girls, and Eldon Granger’s fate was unnecessary. The author would do well to ratchet back such factors. [more . . .]

She draws the line at mind-controlling little girls . . . I probably shouldn't show her my work in progress. Anyway, Rebecca LuElla Miller has an even-handed review describing what she sees as both strength and weaknesses in the novel; that looks like the go-to review for this tour.

From what I gather, the novel is heavy-handed both on the explicit violence and on the explicit Christian elements. Over the years, I've softened up on explicit Christian elements: the problem with so much Christian fiction is not the presence of Christianity, but bang-the-reader-over-the-head awkwardly inserted shallow Christianity. As for violence, I try to keep my view nuanced: it certainly has its purpose (heroism, resisting evil, and displaying the consequences of evil, most obviously), though a certain amount of restraint is in order. Excessively described gore in prose quickly becomes bad writing, and excessively displayed gore on film becomes inartistic and begins to draw near to the damnable genre called "torture porn." But it is quite legitimate to call violence in fiction a gray area. Since I've not read The Strange Man myself, I make no comment on its violent content.

Behold Your Blog Tour . . . and Your Doom!

Noah Arsenault
Red Bissell
Kathy Brasby
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
CSFF Blog Tour
Amber French
Tori Greene
Katie Hart
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Inae Kyo
Emily LaVigne
Shannon McDermott
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Gavin Patchett
Andrea Schultz
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Jessica Thomas
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler