Where the Map Ends
By Valerie Comer
Copyright © 2008 by Valerie Comer, All Rights Reserved
Anyone who is interested in
Christian speculative fiction--reading it or writing it--should bookmark
http://wherethemapends.com and check back on a regular basis. What
is included in spec fic? Fantasy, science fiction, alternate history,
time travel, end-times fiction: anything a bit--or a lot--off the wall.
Site owner and webmaster
Jeff Gerke has set out to create a hub for all things related to this
group of genres, and I believe he's succeeded. Since the site went live
in 2006, Gerke has added a lot of content.
What can you find at Where
the Map Ends?
My favorite part of the site
is the book list. Gerke has compiled a comprehensive inventory of every
speculative book available from Christian publishing houses to date.
Even though I've been actively watching this market, Where the Map Ends
showed me that there are a lot more novels out than I'd thought. Knowing
that not everyone has high speed internet, Gerke has set the book list
up so that you can view images of the covers or go with a simple
Every month a new interview
is posted. Gerke conducts humorous, in-depth conversations with authors
and agents involved in the genre, providing plenty of insider
information and tips.
The forums are known as The
Anomaly. In one section of the board, a collaborative writing project is
under way, featuring fantasy versus science fiction in a fight to the
death. It looks like a very active fight, and both sides are recruiting
more warriors to continue the battle.
Of course the collaboration
isn't the only thing happening in The Anomaly. There are plenty of
places for folks to post other questions and discussions based on the
Christian spec fic genres and to get to know one another. It's an active
The webmaster, a published
author and former acquisitions editor for major houses, provides a
section with tools for writers. Addressed are topics such as the
usefulness of conferences, which writing books are the best, an
explanation of the complete process of publication, idea and world
builders (complete with a random story generator), and a tip-of-the-week
column that has been running for almost two years. Some of the tips are
specific to the Christian market, but many are good sense for writers
aiming at any publishing house. They range from things to avoid (such as
pet phrases and ambiguous clues), to dialogue tips, description,
characters, etc. A lot of great wisdom is included.
Gerke realizes that
speculative fiction goes far beyond novels. Folks may submit short
stories, poetry, and artwork to Where the Map Ends. It isn't a market so
much as a show place for a few pieces. Manga, machinima, computer games,
graphic novels, comics, and more are listed, along with links to follow
should these categories be of interest to you.
The newest section of the
website is Marcher Lord Press, a small print-on-demand press that will
release its first three novels in October 2008. Folks are welcome to
sign up in advance for notification and access to first chapters, and
when they do, their names are put in a draw for great prizes. Those who
purchase a novel on the grand opening day will receive additional
material--their choice of a virtual coffee table art book and/or an
ebook about the history of marcher lords. While Marcher Lord Press does
not pay advances, it is not a vanity press either. Jeff Gerke is a
professional editor with many years of experience, and he is choosing
the novels with care as well as working with the authors to produce the
highest quality book possible.
Gerke has his finger on the
pulse of the Christian speculative fiction market, and because of his
personal and professional experience, he knows how to translate the raw
data into practical advice. He's dedicated to building the genre, and I
know that if this is also an interest of yours, you'd be very welcome at
Where the Map Ends.