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Praise for Infinite Space, Infinite God I
"What a great book! ...stories that are well crafted, compelling, and ...
Praise for Infinite Space, Infinite God I
"What a great book! ...stories that are well crafted, compelling, and fun!"
Br. Guy Consolmagno SJ, astronomer at the Vatican Observatory and author of God's Mechanics.
"... an absorbing collection of stories that will explore the boundaries of our universe and just a bit beyond."
Posted October 31, 2011
Posted November 29, 2010
Infinite Space, Infinite God II is a collection of twelve stories that reject the "conventional wisdom" that Christianity is inherently irrational and anti-science, that a spacefaring mankind will shed its religion, like a butterfly discarding its chrysalis, and that any intelligent life we discover will not be religious in any meaningful sense.
Ultimately, though, these are stories about people-ordinary people of faith thrust into extraordinary situations. Their faith guides their actions, and it makes a difference in their world. It's a practical faith that guides them to serve others, sacrifice their own ambitions, and endure suffering with patience and hope.
This anthology is also unique in that it showcases the Christian faith from a Catholic point-of-view. This means that you will encounter a Church whose structure and practice remain intact and consistent into the future, adapting to change while tenaciously preserving and applying the lessons of its heritage. Human frailty and divine intervention meet in the act of prayer, and wonderful things happen.
I enjoyed this book very much. Rob and Karina Fabian have assembled a nice variety of imaginative tales, serious and lighthearted, introspective and action-packed, from near-space to the other side of the galaxy. Some could happen tomorrow, others are set thousands of years in the future. There's something for everybody here.
"The Ghosts of Kourion," by Andrew M. Seddon - A lovely, bittersweet story about a time-traveling researcher who discovers the difference between changing history and becoming part of it. I liked the way Seddon dispensed with all the usual tropes and paradoxes of time travel to focus on the human story at its core.
"Antivenin," by Karina Fabian - I'm a big fan of Ms. Fabian's Rescue Sisters stories, about a community of nuns performing search and rescue along the hazardous frontiers of interplanetary space. This time, we meet Sister Rita, an anomaly even within her order-a "dirtsider," raised on Earth, struggling to fit in, whose experience becomes vital when a simple space rescue is complicated by a very terrestrial threat. If you think the words "nun," "action," and "suspense" don't belong in the same sentence, you'll be pleasantly surprised.
"An Exercise in Logic," by Barton Paul Levenson - Sister Mary Julian must match wits and parse theology with stubborn aliens to prevent a planet-busting disaster. Levenson shows us that logic isn't necessarily the final answer to every dilemma, and gives us a strong, savvy heroine in Sister Mary Julian. He also pens my favorite line in this anthology: "You can't pray to your god in here! This is the Ecumenical Temple!"
"Tenniel," by Colleen Drippe - A moving, complex story set in a hostile world, a human colony that has collapsed into tribal barbarism. To prevent genocide, a Catholic bishop must engage in single combat with a vicious warlord, but how can committing sin serve God's purpose? Ms. Drippe doesn't provide any easy answers, but does provide a gripping tale with strong characters that showcases the challenge of evangelism on the frontier, where physical and spiritual threats go hand-in-hand, and martyrdom is the rule, not the exception.
I think Infinite Space, Infinite God II stacks up quite well against any collection of short spec-fic you're likely to find on the shelve
Posted November 20, 2010
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Nuns in outer space? Churches in virtual reality? Priests as robots? Sometimes the most unlikely pairings lead to the most interesting literary achievements. In INFINITE SPACE, INFINITE GOD II, the creativity of science fiction is merged with the morality of Catholicism. The result is a collection of 12 short stories edited by the husband and wife team of Rob and Karina Fabian. While fun and imaginative, the anthology forces the reader to confront some serious issues. Would a human clone have a soul? Would aliens be considered a part of God's creation? Would religious vocations continue to exist beyond Earth's gravitational pull? These thought-provoking issues are explored in a way that satisfies both the techno-geek and the religious philosopher.
The stand-out piece, THE GHOSTS OF KOURION by Andrew Seddon is placed in the lead-off spot for good reason. It is a fascinating look at the open-ended possibilities of time travel. After tragically losing his wife and daughter, Professor Robert Cragg leaves the confines of the year 2655 to journey to the ancient Greek city of Kourion circa 365 A.D. His goal is to witness firsthand the destruction of the fabled city on the day it was ransacked by a legendary earthquake. Christianity is in its infancy and the pagan gods of Zeus and Apollo are succumbing to the writings of Paul and the rulings of Constantine. Knowing he cannot change the past, Robert nevertheless fosters an urge to save a young girl and her family from the impending disaster. However, the Self-Consistency Principle holds sway. Robert expounds on it by saying, "I can't travel to the past unless I've already been there, and when I get there I'll do what I've already done."
The moral implications of time travel are staggering. Why doesn't Robert revisit a time when his wife and daughter are alive? Because he'd merely be observing what had already happened. He'd be watching a rerun of his past life, not living his current one. Why doesn't he warn the citizens of Kourion before the earthquake? No one would believe him. The alarm had never been raised, so he could not raise it. His powerlessness is acute.
Seddon explores Robert's emotional conundrum in a telling passage. "Knowing that I could not avert the disaster should have helped me observe with clearer objectivity and act more naturally. It should have helped prevent mental and emotional damage. It should have helped avert self-condemnation. My job was to observe history, to do what I had done, and not to despair over how events had turned out. How could I have foreseen that this poor, simple girl with the mule would affect me so?"
With human cloning moving ever closer to reality, it's moral implications are becoming a pertinent issue. In Derwin Mak's CLONED TO KILL, the question is raised - is a human clone a piece of property or a human being worthy of an immortal soul? The flip-flopping of rhetoric is addressed by clone creator Dennis Rowicki. "The baptism of clones shows the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church. For years, the Church opposed the cloning of humans. For years, you said only God has the right to create human beings through natural procreation. Yet you eagerly baptize the clones created by the process you condemn." Mak depicts the Church as standing firm on human rights regardless if the person is naturally or synthetically born. As expressed by the clone, Lorraine, "Only inside this church [I am human]. I am non-human o