Like the priests who sailed the Atlantic in the 1700s, Father Guerin is making a long and dangerous voyage to an assignment in a strange new world. Only in Fr. Guerin’s case, it’s literally a new world.
The year is 2462, and he and three others are passengers on the cargo ship Hopeful, bound for the recently colonized planet Xanadu. They and the six member crew will travel in long thin strands of warped space called slipstreams, cut off from the rest of humanity by the vast distances of interstellar space. What sort of person is willing to say goodbye to friends and family and spend half a year with less than a dozen people?
There’s Hannah, a fellow passenger, who says that she wants to start a horse ranch but the only thing she’s clear about is not wanting to be on earth. There’s Katie, the ship’s engineer, who doesn’t like anyone and seems to especially hate priests. And then there’s Freia, the assistant engineer, whose perpetual viking cheerfulness may be a mask for something deeper. What will they make of the well-educated and possibly over-confident priest who has an answer for everything?
And when space pirates attack and drive them out of the slipstream, will they die in deep space, or will they find their way back to the stitch in space which is their only hope?(You can read the preface and the first chapter free online.)
On its face, "A Stitch In Space" is an enjoyable, well-written adventure story. While worth reading for this alone, the story offers several things that make it a unique and intriguing departure from other entries in the science fiction genre. Read more...
One of things I've noticed when it comes to speculative fiction in general is that whenever a work attempts to address just what religion may look like in the future, the author seems to invariably fall into one of three categories. The first is the story that depicts a sort of Enlightenment Era paradise where mankind has freed itself from what the author believes to be the shackles of religion, These writers envision a future where mankind has exorcised the dangerous superstitions of a less-enlightened humanity and, in the process, banished a large portion of the ills that beset it. The second is the dystopian fantasy where zealots of one sect or another have, through terror or trickery, led the world into a theocracy where free-thought is supplanted by religious dogma. The third are the bizarre, paranoid fantasies inspired by Hal Lindsey and his ilk, such as the Left Behind series. These stories are the ones that envision a future where the religious, Christians in particular, become oppressed and persecuted by satanic one-world governments.
The problem with these types of stories is that not a single one of them seems to predict the direction religion may take in a sane and reasonable manner. "A Stitch In Space" offers a new narrative that avoids the paranoid fears and radical visions of the types of stories described above by simply taking into account how people actually think and the role their thoughts, religious and otherwise, play in their daily lives. Normal characters, rather than idealist heroes and extremist boogeymen, take center-stage in Lansdown's story.
These characters are probably the strongest element in "A Stitch In Space". The dialogues that serve a central role in the story and the exploration of its ideas never seem forced, and the characters never come across as simple mouthpieces for the positions they espouse. One gets the impression that actual people, rather than ideologies, are having a conversation.
"A Stitch In Space" offers its fascinating glimpse at what the relationship between future humanity and religion will be like by doing something so many authors who make similar attempts fail to do: it assumes that future humanity will still be comprised of actual humans.
A splendid story in space! This compelling science fiction work transports us to the 25th century as a priest - Father Guerin - joins three other guests and six crew members en route to the planet Xanadu. Aficianados of the 1950's space travel movies will delight in this journey full of personal drama and a terrifying encounter with space pirates. Read more...
The science is both cutting-edge and believable, but these the fascinating scientific musings do not dampen the narrative pace nor do they swamp the non-scientist into a maelstrom of astrophysics; the characters are the raison d'etre for this book. Father Guerin is a theologically astute polymath who kindly but resolutely shares his faith with his co-travelers. An unabashed and fundamentally religious work, A Stich in Space will immerse readers in Christian apologetics along with intergalactic space travel in a pleasant yet substantive yarn. Hurtling through space via "slipstreams," these passengers confront not only nature's most challenging realities but contend with the eternal questions of life and eternity.
The narrative pace here is quick and does not lapse into low gear. Yet the characters, particularly Father Guerin, manage to share spiritual insight throughout in an engaging style that might remind the reader of Dean Koontz' Brother Odd Thomas; few will be able to resist membership in the Guerin fan club!
This author has matched - and even perhaps surpassed - his first effort - "Ordinary Superheroes." Interested readers would be well-served to order both of these books off the menu and savor the delightful reading repast.
Christopher Lansdown is a novelist, computer programmer, and the father of two very energetic children.
The cover art was painted by Daniel Tycha