With this issue of CT we begin a new tradition: an annual section devoted to Christian fiction. By "Christian fiction" we mean fiction that is informed by a Christian world-view. That includes, but is not limited to, fiction that is issued by evangelical publishers and sold primarily in Christian bookstores. It includes writers as various as Georges Bernanos, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Madeleine L'Engle, C. S. Lewis, Janette Oke, Walker Percy, Brock and Bodie Thoene, and Walter Wangerin, Jr.
The territory is vast, and we should be suspicious of any sentence beginning "Christian fiction is … ," whether the tone is boosterish or dismissive. We're on safer ground simply noting how strange it is—from the commonsensical materialist's point of view—that human beings invest so much energy and passion in creating alternative worlds. In doing so, J. R. R. Tolkien said, we are "sub-creators," imitating the supreme imaginative act of the God in whose image we are made.
The geography of the Christian imagination encompasses the windswept plains of Larry Woiwode's Beyond the Bedroom Wall (just reissued in a handsome paperback edition in Graywolf Press's Rediscovery series) and the slightly rundown postwar English parishes of Barbara Pym. So in this issue we range from Jan Karon's Mitford, a small town in the South where everyone knows everyone else's business, to the apocalyptic visions of a trio of end-times novelists. And because part of our purpose is to encourage excellence in Christian fiction, we're publishing a new short story by James Calvin Schaap.
Let us know what you think of this special section, and what you would like to see in the future. We look forward to hearing from you.
John Wilson, Book Review Editor
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