1) What keeps you writing in the world you’ve created, the Underground?
My laptop. Bad joke.
So many things go into that. First, I’m driven to write in this cyberpunk (a link between the human brain and the computer) world because I have a strong preference for high-tech action. I've loved writing since childhood. It’s a passion, and maybe even a talent/ gift that I can’t waste. I’m not a prolific writer, but I must keep churning out Underground fiction at my own slow pace.
So I love the cyberpunk sub-genre, but all the speculative fictions genres (science fiction, fantasy and horror), are powerful vehicles with which to show a worldview. In my mid-twenties I discovered The Complete Works of Francis Schaeffer and learned why the Christian worldview was truth. I knew that I wanted to share the tremendous philosophical answers offered to humankind by the Christian worldview through my passion for writing. A fiction writer’s first goal must be to entertain—it’s why readers buy fiction. With that in mind, if your characters just happen to be believers living out their faith, nothing has to be preachy. The characters’ worldviews are just part of the story. I write especially for anyone raised with religion.
A lot of years have gone into creating the world of the Underground, so it’s a good thing I have a passion for the genre. Perhaps one day I’ll aspire to something beyond Christian cyberpunk--maybe even something that pays the bills. But not today. J
2) What is the Underground all about?
A one world government runs the planet in the 2030s and has declared that all religious fundamentalism is terrorism—there has historically been too much violence in the world because of fundamentalism. Open belief in the Bible, or any other word-of-god, is illegal, and qualifies a citizen for rehabilitation. Believers run secret home churches and risk being rehabbed. Those who wish to live their faith openly join an underground church called the Body of Christ. Saints in the BoC undergo a high-tech process called re-formation that nudges a believer’s body a little closer to their soul. Re-formed believers in the underground specialize according to their talents, and receive mindware, a kind of software loaded directly into the brain. Saints in the BoC resist the one world government, and the power of Mega-corporations. Anyone who likes fast paced high-tech action would enjoy the Underground.
3) What Underground books are out there?
Flashpoint: Book One of the Underground is the logical place for readers to start. My main character, Calamity Kid, is forced into the Chicago underground in 2036 and his experiences are a good introduction into the world. Flashpoint won awards and ranked as a number-one best-seller on Amazon.
War of Attrition: Book Two of the Underground features high-tech action in 2037 Chicago against gangers, corporators, and, of course, the One State Neros.
Underground Rising: Tales from the underground is an anthology featuring some of my own original Underground short stories mixed with those of talented authors. I edited the work and am very pleased with the literary quality.
Join the Underground: The Role-Playing Game, by Mike Roop, puts players in the deepest cracks of the BoC. It was actually my high school class prophecy that I, one day, would have my own role playing game, and it came to fruition!
4) What lies in the future for Frank Creed?
Good times. *wave at Diane M. Graham*
I just signed with a new publisher, Splashdown Books, who wants to publish my stuff. Devil’s Hit List: Book Three of the Underground is slated for an October first release. Yea!
I’m co-authoring another novel, Lost Zone, with author Grace Bridges. Greg Mitchell, another Splashdown novelist, has contacted me about writing an Underground novel of his own, and Dark Shepherd will be based on a strong character from Greg’s short story contribution to Underground Rising.
I’m thrilled that a number of other Christian spec-fic writers are creating in the world that I’ve so carefully constructed. I’m just glad it means there will be more fiction for fans of the Underground. Where this may lead in the future, I leave to the Boss.
5) Can you tell us more about Splashdown Books?
Based in New Zealand, Splashdown is a newish publisher that specializes in Christian speculative fiction. Lately they have been putting out one new book per month, and have released something like eighteen titles. Small independent presses are helping to fill the void of Christian spec-fic. So if you know any believers who are genre fans, please send them here. There are a lot of new titles over there.
I’ve been friends with Grace Bridges, owner of Splashdown, for years. She’s working hard to connect her authors to readers who don’t yet know that their favorite books are out there, and available on the Web.
6) Can you tell us a little about the Lost Genre Guild?
I wanted to write fiction books since I was a kid, and as a reader I cut my teeth on classic spec-fic. I was raised in church, and Mom dragged my little sister and I through many a Christian bookstore, none of which sold any spec-fic beyond C.S. Lewis. I’d already read and re-read the Chronicles of Narnia.
Even though the top grossing films were spec-fic, Christian bookstores offered nothing in the genre. I wanted to do something about that, and thought a guild of artists working together would be a good thing.
So about six years ago I started a Yahoo Group called the Lost Genre Guild. It’s now over two-hundred members strong and we welcome all artists and advocates of Christian fantasy, sci-fi, and horror. Anyone interested just go to http://frankcreed.com contact me by e-mail, and I’ll hook you up. The newsgroup is still the heart of the LGG.
7) As an advocate of Christian speculative-fiction, are you happy with the publishing industry?
The situation has much improved since my childhood. All the big Christian publishing houses have a couple of spec-fic authors, and bigger Christian bookstores even stock their titles. But there’s an even bigger selection on the Web, through small publishers like Splashdown Books, and Marcher Lord Press.
Also, here’s a list of Christian and Christian friendly spec-fic e-zines one can find on the Web . . .
Any Speculative fiction:
Digital Dragon Magazine
The Cross and the Cosmos
Fear and Trembling
A Flame in the Dark
Fantasy and science fiction:
Einstein's Pocket Watch
Hard science fiction:
Ray Gun Revival
So there’s a lot more out there for genre fans to enjoy now-a-days than in recent history, and even since I founded The Lost Genre Guild. Given the power of the genre to portray worldviews, and seeing how we’re to spread the gospel, that’s a very good thing!