That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made [NOOK Book]

Overview

"That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made" won the 2010 Nebula Award for Best Novelette, awarded by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, and and is nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novelette, awarded at the World Science Fiction Convention.

Harry Malan is the president of a Mormon congregation on a station located at the center of the Sun, where humans can interact with "swales" -- giant star-dwelling plasma beings. When Harry finds out about a problem with one of the Mormon swales, he decides ...
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That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made

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Overview

"That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made" won the 2010 Nebula Award for Best Novelette, awarded by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, and and is nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novelette, awarded at the World Science Fiction Convention.

Harry Malan is the president of a Mormon congregation on a station located at the center of the Sun, where humans can interact with "swales" -- giant star-dwelling plasma beings. When Harry finds out about a problem with one of the Mormon swales, he decides he must help, even if it means confronting Leviathan, the largest of the swales.
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Editorial Reviews

Lois Tilton
But matters improved quickly, as the characters proved to be reasonable and well-rounded human beings, despite their conflicting viewpoints, who even managed to work together. And the sincere faith of Harry Malan managed to make me sympathize with his religious mission, which is a very hard sale indeed.
Aaron Hughes
My story recommendation for the week is "That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made" by Eric James Stone, from the September 2010 issue of Analog. "That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made" takes a strong SFnal premise and uses it as the framework for an interesting moral dilemma.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940012258656
  • Publisher: Eric James Stone
  • Publication date: 3/25/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 660,161
  • File size: 258 KB

Meet the Author

A Hugo and Nebula Award nominee and a winner in the Writers of the Future Contest, Eric James Stone has had stories published in Year's Best SF 15, Analog, Nature, and Kevin J. Anderson's Blood Lite anthologies of humorous horror, among other venues.

One of Eric's earliest memories is of seeing an Apollo moon-shot launch on television. That might explain his fascination with space travel. His father's collection of old science fiction ensured that Eric grew up on a full diet of Asimov, Heinlein and Clarke.

While getting political science degree at Brigham Young University, Eric took some creative writing classes. He wrote several short stories, and even submitted one for publication, but it was rejected and he gave up on creative writing for over ten years.

During those years Eric graduated from Baylor Law School, worked on a congressional campaign, and took a job in Washington, DC, with one of those special interest groups politicians always complain that other politicians are influenced by. He quit the political scene in 1999 to work as a web developer in Utah.

In 2002 he started writing fiction again, and in 2003 he attended Orson Scott Card's Literary Boot Camp. In 2007 Eric got laid off from his day job just in time to go to the Odyssey Writing Workshop. He has since found a new web development job.

In 2009 Eric became an assistant editor for Intergalactic Medicine Show.

Eric lives in Eagle Mountain, Utah. His website can be found at www.ericjamesstone.com.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 50 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(13)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 50 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 9, 2011

    Interpreting God

    I have to disagree with the review that said this was Mormon indoctrination. I'm an atheist and found the religious elements in the novella a reasonable interpolation of the future. Mormonism is a mission-based faith, and it would make sense for that to continue into the future. So I don't take issue with the central character being a Mormon and using that as his worldview.

    The central conflict is between a god-like creature (or even god) being confronted with alien behavior that is ascribed to the Christian god. I am sure it is the author's intent to present this as evidence of the power of the Christian god, but this is certainly not the only interpretation. The actual claim of Leviathan as god is left ambiguous. They live upon his mercy, a mercy based on "proving" he's as good or even a better god. Take the missionary out, and this could easily be an alien psychological tale. But, adding religion really doesn't change the underlying tension or the denouement.

    Putting that aside, as a story this is really good one in terms of the central premise. As I said, it really is the conflict between human psychology and dealing with incredibly powerful alien psychology. It's handled well. And the fact that mercy (of a sort) is the proving ground of godliness here is intriguing.

    There are really only one thing (or two things) that I think failed miserably here--the title and the closing quotation from scripture. They are actually the same thing (the title is a quote from the scripture), and this relates directly to the criticism of this being a Mormon indoctrination piece. The title from the quoted scripture is needlessly definitive and undercuts the ambiguity of the end of the story. It seems like the author realized that someone could read this and come away thinking that perhaps Leviathan really WAS god, so he wanted to make it clear that, "No, this thing isn't god, it was created by God."

    To my mind that really killed the tension of the story and its strongest element, which was leaving us wondering "What is god?" Still, it is easy enough to discard these two things to find the gold underneath, and there is a lot to like.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    No wonder it's nominated for a Hugo!

    Wow. This is what SF is all about. "That Leviathan Whom Thou Has Made" not only takes the world and extrapolates an believable future from it, it also explores heavy thematic issues. I'm not Mormon, and had a moment at the beginning of discomfort because the main character is a deeply religious Mormon. I wasn't sure I'd be able to relate. But the crisis of faith Harry suffers as a result of the science-fictional elements was really vivid.

    Beautifully told.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 12, 2011

    A Modern SF Classic

    A modern SF classic. Imaginative and original story with a moral rudder that defies prejudice. Big ideas, an inspiring alien world, and a self-deprecating hero all make for a very satisfying read. An award nominee soon to be an award winner, in my estimation.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 27, 2012

    Delightful

    What a delightful story! Mr. Stones' tale of human-alien interaction involving the differences of culture and Mormon church teachings was well thought out and entertaining. The "science" behind the story was imaginative and believable, and the lead character's interactions with humans and swales (aliens) held my interest throughout. I will read more of this author's works.

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  • Posted August 19, 2011

    Worthy of the Hugo nomination it got

    I only read up to ""One of my swale church members believes in a God who has commanded against sexual activity outside of marriage. It just isn't right for larger swales to force smaller ones to have sex. I appeal to you as the first and greatest of the swales: Command your people against coerced sexual activity." Seconds of silence ticked away. "Come to me," she said. "You and your swale church member." The call disconnected." :(, but the story seemed engaging.

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  • Posted June 28, 2011

    Great witty short story

    Eric James Stone is a good writer but he is a master short story writer.

    Every short story I've read of his has been great, he seems to have a knack for timing and content in short stories. Leviathan is no different. It is a fun science fiction story that explores the challenges of teaching human religion to aliens.

    The particular religion in the story is "Mormonism" but that doesn't really affect the story much as the principles discussed are common among all Christian denominations, (God, Adultery, Sacrifice, Mercy, etc.). The result is a well written funny science fiction story that will make you think.

    Highly recommend this story and Eric's other works.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2011

    Interesting, but Heavy Handed

    Whether it was about Mormon beliefs or any other, I grew weary of the constant religious doctrine being hit into my head like a hammer. If the religion aspect was not so strong, this would have been a 5 star story.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 9, 2011

    AVOID, Unless you are a mormon - very little here but indoctrination.

    I picked up this novella (22 pages) for a few pennies and was transported into the book of mormon, but in the future. No interesting plot, horrible plebeian dialog - I would avoid this, unless you are a Mormon and want to support your brother

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2011

    Good as short story, 22 pages is not a book.

    Very short. I enjoyed it, but not near long enough to justify the cost.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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