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It is February, 1975. Apollo 19, the last of the manned lunar missions, has successfully landed. Exhilarated and confident, Commander Gary Lucas and Lunar Module pilot Charlie Shepherd set out to explore a vast, mysterious depression at the lunar south pole.
There, in the icy darkness–where temperatures reach 334 degrees below zero–the astronauts search for the fragments of crystalline bedrock the scientists back home had hoped for. But when tragedy strikes, the men are driven deeper into the lethal realm, where they find much more than they bargained for, including a strange machine that seemingly transports Lucas back to a pre-flood Earth, and startling evidence that could transform mankind’s perspective on all creation and its Creator– if only the men could miraculously make their way back home to earth to reveal it.
Posted August 20, 2003
ICE, the second Christian fiction novel by Shane Johnson, has a somewhat more real-world approach than its predecessor, The Last Guardian. ICE is set in an alternate past. Its protagonists, NASA astronauts Gary Lucas and Charles Shepherd, have strange encounters during their Apollo 19 mission to the dark side of the moon in 1975. The last scheduled US manned mission to the moon, Apollo 19 begins in about as routine a manner as any mission to the moon can be, but soon Lucas and Shepherd discover something that reaffirms the faith of one astronaut, and inspires faith in the other. Johnson uses his extensive knowledge of NASA and the US space program to anchor this occasionally otherworldly story with a strong sense of verisimilitude. Although Johnson's Apollo 19 mission is fictional, he uses realistic technology, all of which existed or was under development at the time the Apollo program ended. The Apollo mission feels technically accurate without being overwhelming with technojargon, and the astronauts' attitudes during the routine moments of the mission are credible. Lucas and Shepherd seem like two ordinary astronauts, which is to say they're extraordinary men, as they venture to the moon and begin to explore its surface. The tragedy surrounding the astronauts, which you'll have to read about, is treated in a believable way, and the reactions of Lucas and Shepherd's families are believable. I read ICE on two separate occasions: once in late 2002, and once shortly after the tragedy surrounding the space shuttle Columbia. Memories of real-world tragedies in the space program, including Apollo 1, Apollo 13, and the shuttles Challenger and Columbia, make the events surrounding Apollo 19 all the more credible. ICE highlights one of the tales of the Old Testament in a unique way. Without spoiling the details, it applies a Twilight Zone-like slant to the tale, while remaining faithful to scripture. Johnson's prose is visually oriented. It is easy to imagine experiencing what the characters experience, whether as a participant or as a moviegoer. ICE would make an exciting and thought-provoking motion picture. My favorite scene in ICE takes place during chapters 9 and 10, as Lucas and Shepherd make an unexpected discovery while exploring the lunar surface in a long-range rover nicknamed Mirabelle. Religion and faith are components of the human condition that are rarely spotlighted in fiction, regardless of medium. Johnson's distinct way of exploring spirituality in otherworldly contexts, as demonstrated in both The Last Guardian and ICE, should appeal not only to religious-minded readers of the Christian fiction genre, but also to open-minded people of other spiritual belief systems -- or no belief system -- who have an interest in the space program, alternate history, science fiction, or fantasy.
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Posted November 2, 2005
A brilliant, fascinating and sometimes confusing book that proposes something so improbable as to seem almost laughable, yet leaves you mulling the idea long after putting the book down. Among the highest tributes I can pay to an author is to say you have caused me to look at something in a totally new light, and given me a good, entertaining read in the process. A reader who is often frustrated with too little technical information, I found the balance of technical detail near perfect. It left me hungry for more, but shouldn¿t cause other readers to bog down. A couple of apparent logic problems are grappled with by the main character as he strives to comprehend technology outside his experience and training. They aren¿t just swept over with the hope that readers won¿t catch them. That had me ¿ with the characters ¿ searching for answers. I was pulled into this story from the very beginning, fascinated throughout, and entirely unprepared for the windup ¿ yet deeply satisfied with it. This is altogether a winner.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 27, 2005
I just finished a new-to-me Christian SF novel, ICE by Shane Johnson (Waterbrook Press 2002). Johnson is a great writer, spinning a tale that makes you want to keep reading until the end, then he surprises you with an ending that's both satisfactory and theologically provocative. Even unbelievers will appreciate the inferences. ICE is an alternative history of NASA in the mid 1970s that postulates a 1975 Apollo 19 moon landing. Johnson, who served as the design consultant for the HBO miniseries; FROM EARTH TO THE MOON, has a good grasp of NASA and the Apollo program, which greatly aids the believablity of this story. I highly recommend this novel.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 10, 2002
When I picked up this book I had no idea that Shane Johnson was a Christian author. I have been reading SF for 40 years, and have seen most everything at one time or another, and have pretty much given up on seeing any SF that respects or even acknowledges my faith.ICE is a realistic, honest story, that once you pick it up you cannot put it down, once I started reading this I stayed with it until I was done, all 416 pages of it. The descriptions of the space program brought back every memory of the Moon landings and the early 70s space program, you could hear the voices. later in the story there are events described that you have read about in the Bible, so well written you could be watching a live video feed of the event. some will read this review and say 'well just another religious nut preaching at me' nope.. this does'nt preach, it tells a story that without the central element of Gods truth in it would be just another story, interesting but incomplete. There are some books I get I read once and pass it on, there are some which I get a copy and keep and read again and again. This one's a keeper.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 5, 2002
Shane Johnson (author of 'The Last Guardian') has written a fast-paced scientifically-based thriller that starts right in the middle of the action and continues to build in intensity throughout. Johnson paints a vivid and fathomable portrait of a fictional lunar landing, without overusing the same synonyms, adjectives and expressions that most authors resort to. The book is tightly edited (with NO grammatical errors), contains only the essential background information readers need and doesn't get bogged down in useless history from the characters lives; every detail is vital to advancing the narrative and helping immerse the reader in the fantastic imagery Johnson has crafted. Most impressively, Johnson manages to infuse the plot with solid theological truth without preaching and helps readers to see God's providence (contrasted with man's depravity) from a fresh perspective that will appeal to persons who might normally balk at the idea of 'Christian fiction'.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.