The process of researching and noting agencies is, as always, enjoyably frustrating: enjoyable because hey, books! and people to query! and frustrating because there are just so many pages to trawl through. I am, however, beginning to memorize the agents of such bestselling novelists as Suzanne Collins, Cassandra Clare, Scott Westerfeld, and Stephenie Meyer. And then there are the ones whose works are represented by more than one agency, and that just gets confusing.
Poking through lists of recent fantasy novels, I've also begun to notice trends. One is that most of these books get some pretty awesome covers, and could I have a cover like that? Why, yes, thank you, I will take the cover of Wither! The second, though, is that dark seems to be incredibly in at the moment. Everywhere I turn I see yet another book about the undead; about vampire-slaying; about the end of the world; about romance between a human and a devil or an angel and a devil or a SOMETHING and a devil. Vampires are going out of vogue (Twilight is so 2005) and dystopian is in, but even in young adult novels technically labelled "fantasy," horror seems to be the overriding element.
This is not to say that all of these are badly written. I'm sure some of them are; I suppose some of them may very well not be. Nor do I have what you would call an iron stomach, so perhaps I'm not qualified to judge the creepiness level of any book. However, seeing all these books lined up in virtual rows and reading all these queries of books that sold has made me wonder where exactly the obsession with death came from. Death is something alien to the way things ought to be and there is, or used to be, a healthy dread of it. Now it seems to be embraced.
I don't believe Christians ought to shy away from addressing the hard, dirty problems of the world: on the contrary, I think the attitude of treading on eggshells that believing writers adopt is part of the reason our literature is so terribly insipid. Death is a hard, dirty problem that must be faced. What I wonder in looking over recent publications is whether they are no longer treating it as a problem, or whether the authors are attempting to confront the problem and failing. And I wonder, too, whether readers are not being inoculated to the issue by the prevalence of horror and skewed spiritual ideas. If the trend continues, will it not become harder and harder to battle a problem that readers no longer imagine to be a problem?
What think you?