Tuesday, September 4, 2007
To travel where no one else has gone before might be the appeal to regular readers of science-fiction. I'm not one of those. I prefer to focus on all the drama that resides right here on earth. So, when I decided to purchase a copy of Infinite Space, Infinite God, the 2007 EPPIE award-winning Catholic science-fiction anthology edited by Karina and Robert Fabian, it had more to do with my curiosity over how they would mesh the Catholic Church into science fiction than with my burning desire to read it. And I have to admit, I approached the task of reading it with a hint of trepidation. What if I got to Page 3 and couldn't go any further? Could a book of this nature appeal to a reader whose only experience with science-fiction is the television shows Star Trek and Star Trek the Next Generation?
The answer is a resounding, YES!
Never before have I regretted the end of a story as much as I did after I finished each of the fifteen stories included in Infinite Space, Infinite God. Each story drew me in with the depth of its characters, uniqueness of its plot, and its powerful endings. I never knew what to expect in the next story, but I knew I wouldn't be disappointed.
Infinite Space, Infinite God opens up with The Harvest by Lori Z. Scott. A smart choice since it is one of the most thought-provoking stories. Dr. Barry Martinez joins the Moon Project Base, living amongst a mix of humans and HuNomes--genetically altered people stemming from the Human Genome project. While HuNome #17 longs to be free of her oppressors, the Catholic Church debates whether the HuNomes have souls--making the harvesting of their organs and birthing of new HuNomes unethical. Dr. Martinez's exposure to the HuNomes he does his best to avoid leave him with some questions too. It is those questions that put him in danger and the answers which allow him to find his true calling.
Our Daily Bread by Robert and Karina Fabian finds Deacon Ray McHenry struggling to decide if he will continue his work at the Blair Mining Station or return to earth and his wife, Connie. When the supply of Eucharistic hosts is lost, Deacon Ray must do everything in is power to help his congregation accept the loss of the most important symbol of the Last Supper. Attempts to secure a new supply are unsuccessful, but suddenly new hosts keep appearing. Is it a miracle? Is it the work of a good Samaritan? And will Deacon Ray ever be able to leave the Blair Mining Station after the curiosity over the duplicating hosts increases the size of the congregation?
Ken Pick and Alan Loewen collaborate on an intriguing tale filled with mystery and suspense. Mask of the Ferret brings together a variety of humans and lifeforms on the Free Trader Coventry--a freight runner bound for Alorya. Its passengers include Father Eric Heidler, a human woman and her daughter, a Selkie, and a construct named Jill Noir. Unbeknownest to the Captain and her crew, someone has snuck an ancient artifact on board Coventry and he/she/it is being tracked by an agent of the Order of St. Dismas, who is posing as a passenger. As the artifact slowly destroys the minds of the Coventry's crew and passengers, it is up to Father Eric to find a way to help all of them, including the one passenger who has put them all at risk.
In August, when I interviewed at The Book Connection, Karina during the Infinite Space, Infinite God Virtual Book Tour, I asked her why such diverse stories worked in this anthology. She sited the talented writers, their different approaches to science-fiction, and their varied science-fiction styles.
While I have to agree, I would also say that another reason Infinite Space, Infinite God is winning awards and garnering fabulous reviews, is that all the stories are about more than the Catholic Church and outer space. When broken down to their barest bones, these stories are all about people--their relationships with one another, how their beliefs affect their personal and professional relationships, and the impact that faith has on believers and non-believers alike.
I highly recommend Infinite Space, Infinite God to all my readers. You don't have to be a Catholic or a lover of science-fiction to enjoy these stories; you just have to be a living, breathing person who struggles and appreciates their place in the world.
Title: Infinite Space, Infinite God
Edited by: Karina and Robert Fabian
Published by Twilight Times Books