Karina L. Fabian Robert Fabian firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Dear Member of the Press: Thank you for taking an interest in Infinite Space, Infinite God, thought-provoking science fiction with a Catholic twist! This package contains a wealth of information from author bios and story synopses to interviews and newsstory ideas. If you need further information, photos, or whatever, please contact Karina at the e-mail address above. May your future be full of the comforts of faith and the blessings of technology! Karina and Robert Fabian Editors Title: Infinite Space, Infinite God Author: Karina and Robert Fabian, editors Category: Science Fiction ISBN: ISBN 1-933353-62-7 Format: Trade paperback Publication Date: August 15, 2007 Pages: 288 Price: $18.95 US Trim: 6 x 9 Available from: Twilight Times Books, www.twilighttimesbooks.com First Print Run: 2500 For More Info: http://isigsf.com 2007 EPPIE Award Winner for Best Science Fiction Come explore the worlds of “Infinite Space, Infinite God.” Meet genetically engineered chimeras and aliens who wonder what a human religion holds for them. Share the doubts, trials and triumphs of humans who find their journeys in time and space are also journeys in faith. Experience spine-tingling adventure. Marvel at technological miracles—and miracles that transcend technology—and meet the writers who made a leap of faith and dared to incorporate familiar religion with fantastic universes. Entertaining and thought-provoking, Infinite Space, Infinite God represents the best in SF tradition. Faith-filled fiction for readers that think. Reviewer comments: “...an excellent collection of science fiction short stories. These authors’ imaginations are astounding, pulling me into each and every story from the first paragraph, and then masterfully entwining their writings with Catholicism. The characters come alive in vivid detail making each story’s uniqueness stand on their own merit. Highly recommended, not only to devoted sci-fi readers, but to those who have never read the genre before.” Reviewed by PJ for Scottieluvr’s "Chewing the Bone" reviews. Karina Fabian is an award-winning writer whose works have appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines. She has sold her fiction to DKA, Eternal Night, Samsara, Hereditas, and Asimov’s. Rob Fabian is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force who is actively involved in the use of space, whose articles have been published in Journal of Space Policy. Order Infinite Space, Infinite God directly from Baker & Taylor, Ingram, or the publisher, Twilight Times Books, PO Box 3340, Kingsport, TN 37664; or via the Internet at http://twilighttimesbooks.com. Also on www.amazon.com and www.fictionwise.com. 10 Story Ideas 1. Is an author in your area? San Jose, CA; Manor, TX; Minot, ND; Bade City, Taiwan; Belvue, KS; Pungoteague, VA; Anaheim, CA; Gateshead, UK; Gettysburg, PA; Santa Clara, CA; LaVerne, CA; Stillwater, OK For Privacy, we list cities only; contact Karina for specific authors and contact info. 2. Exploring the future of Faith and Science 3. Christian speculative fiction (including science fiction, fantasy and horror)--a growing trend in books (Karina can provide other contacts on this subject) 4. Catholicism and Science--not an oxymoron 5. Science fiction--exploring the issues of tomorrow today 6. Need a colorful angle on a specific issue? ISIG covers genetic engineering, including human/animal DNA splicing; political persecution of religious institutions; mind-altering technology; bodyguards for priests; the future of religious orders; religious practices in space; as well as the general questions of moral standards, forgiveness and loving God and one's neighbor. 7. Can non-Catholics write "Catholic sci-fi"? (Yes, they can!) 8. Writing Faith in Fiction (Karina Fabian, Colleen Drippe, Rose Dimond and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff have given seminars on the subject) 9. Can science fiction teach morality? 10. The Fabians make a leap of faith by compiling a science fiction anthology that not only includes faith, but makes the practice of Catholicism its theme. Promotion blurbs for Infinite Space, Infinite God By Karina and Robert Fabian 50-word Is that religion in my science fiction or science fiction in my religion? The writers of the Catholic SF anthology Infinite Space, Infinite God have so seamlessly combined the two. The fifteen stories of the Catholic Church meeting challenges from genetic engineering to time travel both entertain and make you think. 150-word Is that religion in my science fiction or science fiction in my religion? The writers of the Catholic SF anthology Infinite Space, Infinite God (available at www.twilighttimesbooks.com) have so seamlessly combined the two that it's hard to tell. Infinite Space, Infinite God features fifteen stories about the future Catholic Church: its struggles evangelize aliens and lost human colonies and to determine the soul-status of genetically modified humans, genetically-designed chimeras, and clones made from the Martian sand; the adventures of religious orders devoted to protecting interstellar travelers or inner-city priests; and how technical advances allow monks to live in solitude on the Moon and help one criminal learn the true meaning of Confession. But it’s more than just a great read. With introductions exploring the issues at hand and current Church thinking, Infinite Space, Infinite God is bound to spark discussion and make people think--just as good science fiction should. 250-word Is that religion in my science fiction or science fiction in my religion? The writers of the Catholic SF anthology Infinite Space, Infinite God (www.twilighttimesbooks.com) have so seamlessly combined the two that it's hard to tell. Infinite Space, Infinite God is an anthology of fifteen stories about how the future Catholic Church uses--or fails to use--its faith, wisdom and imagination to grow with the changes of the future. Within its pages, you’ll see the Church struggle to evangelize to aliens and lost human colonies and to determine the soul-status of genetically modified humans, genetically-designed chimeras, and clones made from the Martian sand. You’ll read the adventures of religious orders devoted to protecting interstellar travelers and inner-city priests, and experience how technical advances allow monks to live in solitude on the Moon and help one criminal learn the true meaning of Confession. Karina and Robert Fabian, editors the Christian SF anthology Leaps of Faith, which was finalist for several e-book awards for best anthology, have applied the same high standards of writing, doctrine and science to Infinite Space, Infinite God. Its authors span the spectrum of faith and writing experiences, from published writers like Colleen Drippe and Maya Bohnhoff to promising new talent like Alex Lobdell, former editor of Montana Catholic. This book contains not only fantastic stories from new angles but introductions exploring the issues and the Church’s current thinking that aim to spark discussion among Catholic and non-Catholics alike. Entertaining and thought-provoking, Infinite Space, Infinite God represents the best in SF tradition. Story Synopsis for Infinite Space, Infinite God Edited by Karina and Rob Fabian The Harvest, Lori Z. Scott: Barry Martinez, a doctor-turned-priest, has the distasteful duty of harvesting the organs from a dead HuNome, a genetically engineered chimera used for work on the moon and for replacement parts for humans on Earth. HuMones, made by combining human and animal DNA, are considered less than human; even the Church has remained undecided on just how human these workers are. Can Fr. Martinez see past the strange cat-like eyes into the souls beyond? And if he does, will he champion their freedom as Moses once championed God’s Chosen? Hopkins’ Well, Adrienne Ray: Private Oscar Talbot is an ordinary soldier with an ordinary mission: to scout the defenses of the town of Hopkins’ Well in prelude to attack. Sure the mission means using transporter technology to get to Mars, but the tax break is great and what’s the big deal? When the mission goes wrong, Talbot discovers that his government doesn’t want to subdue the colony, but destroy it; that the sands of Mars are haunted by the last battalion sent on the mission, and that he, himself, is no longer human but made from the sands of Mars itself. Brother John, Colleen Drippe’: Humans have spread across the galaxy, yet internal strife had caused it to lose track of many of its colonies, which subsequently lost much of humankind’s most basic knowledge, including knowledge of the True Creator. However, the intergalactic government, secure in its role as savoir of the race, would just as soon see the archaic Christina faith die. As Brother John and his fellow priests land on Rythar to evangelize, they risk their lives for their faith and for those to whom they would bring faith. Interstellar Calling, Karina L. Fabian: A different take on evangelism. When aliens abduct Francis Marie, an average teenager, they’re not interested in scientific studies. They want this Catholic schoolgirl to return to their planet and explain this faith that has captured their hearts. Our Daily Bread, Karina and Robert Fabian: Spending six months a year in space mining asteroids is tough, but for Personnel Supervisor Ray McHenry, there are compensations. His role as a Catholic deacon means the majority of the strong Catholics in the Company have flocked to Blair Asteroid Mining Station--the only station in the Company where weekly Eucharist provides solace and strength. When Blair’s shipment of Host is lost in an accident, Ray is ready for tough times--but not nearly as tough as when the Host start mysteriously multiplying! Brother Jubal and the Womb of Silence, Tim Meyers: Brother Jubal finds tranquility and peace in the barren landscape of Oceanus Procellarum and dreads the days when he must visit the station for air and other supplies. Yet God often calls us to new avenues of service, and Brother Jubal must tremblingly open himself to a wilderness far more intimidating than the desolation of Luna. Mask of the Ferret, Ken Pick and Alan Loewen: An agent of the Order of St. Dismas is on the trail of an ancient artifact that can destroy minds psychically. Fr. Eric Heidler’s faith and training are his shield against the artifact’s attack, but in the end, it’s also his insight and ability to accept a genetically-engineered passenger for both her human and animal aspects that saves them all. Little Madeleine, Simon Morden: Is there a place for an overly strong, genetically mutated girl from a broken home in the slums? Madeleine may find her answer in the Order of St. Joan, a group of nuns with the special calling of acting as bodyguards for priestrs who live in areas too dangerous for even the most holy of men. The Hosts of the Envoy, Alex Lobdell: After nearly starving to death on his damaged spaceship, Luke Kittery thinks he’s found salvation--or at least survival--on the Envoy, a multi-generational ship which had been lost in space itself for 120 years. However, in their despair, the people of Envoy have turned to a false god--the earth itself--and the leaders see Catholic Luke as a threat to their religion and their power. Only two children who were raised in isolation by the deposed Catholic priest know the true faith, and Luke must depend on them to save him from the wrath of the Hosts of the Envoy. Understanding, J Sherer: When Detective Tack was a child, he saw his father endure the pain of being excommunicated from the Catholic Church he loved--not for something he did, but for what he was--a genetically engineered human. Even worse, it was only after his death that the Church issued and edict proclaiming all humans--engineered or not--welcome. So when a serial killer starts targeting priests and women religious, he’s none too happy about being on the case. However, as the case unfolds, and he discovers that all the targets were genetically engineered in the womb, Tack must confront his feelings and come to an understanding that will allow him to solve the case and forgive the Church he loved and hated for so long. Stabat Mater, Rose Dimond: A complex story about the joys and trials of two children, now grown, who were visited by the Blessed Virgin. One, who has died a painful death from cancer, is being considered for sainthood, while the survivor’s faith is being rocked in a world turned upside down by war and the personal challenges of the untimely death of her husband and the estrangement of her violent son. Where is the assurance Mary had given her? How can Her promises come true when so much has changed? When the Pope himself comes to her to take her away on a colony ship, she must decide--follow the command of God’s earthly representative, or the directions of God’s own mother? Canticle of the Wolf, Alan Loewen: In this new take on the old legend of St. Francis, St. Francis goes to confront the Wolf only to discover he is a genetically engineered traveler from a future in which his kind are enslaved. As he unfolds his story, St. Francis sees his calling, and in the end, the tender saint’s efforts lead to a future of peace between humans and lupines. These Three, Karina and Robert Fabian: A freak accident has sent the space freighter Poubelle on a collision course with the L5 station. Tumbling wildly and without a distress beacon to alert the busy facility, it may be too late for the sisters of Our Lady of the Rescue to get a tow on it and pull it to safety. Peter, the sole survivor on Poubelle, is nonetheless badly injured, yet must make a long and painful trek across the internal chaos of the ravaged ship to auxiliary control. Fortunately, he is not alone; he has the prayers of Mary Elizabeth, a young nun of the “Rescue Sisters,” and the very personal intervention of the Blessed Gillian of L5. Faith, hope, and love--these three pull him through the physical and mental hell to a salvation both corporeal and spiritual. Far Traveler, Colleen Drippe’: Special agent Mark Kendall is sent back in time to witness the crucifixion of Jesus. A lapsed Catholic, he feels he’s been made the butt of a sick joke by his Jewish supervisor, yet when he is there, he discovers the truth of Jesus’ sacrifice: that He died not the change the world, but to change us. Cruel and Unusual Punishment, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff: Liam Connor, a member of an IRA splinter group, considers himself a freedom fighter and true Catholic, willing to make any sacrifice to further his cause--including blowing up a busload of Protestant schoolchildren. After being convicted, he is given the choice: capital punishment or participation in a highly experimental rehabilitation program. When modern technology makes him confront his sin, Liam finds that the only way to save himself from insanity is to move from justification to true remorse, and finally, this “true Catholic” learns about the nature of Confession. About the Authors Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, "Cruel and Unusual Punishment": Maya became addicted to writing when she discovered that words spawn worlds. Author of short stories that have appeared in magazines as diverse as Analog and Interzone, she has 5 novels to her name: The Meri, Taminy, Crystal Rose, and The Spirit Gate (Baen) and Magic Time: Angelfire (Harper Collins/Eos.) The idea for "Cruel" came when she was meditating on the subject of the enlightened soul and realized the greatest punishment one could experience was a true understanding of their sin. Maya is a freelance writer and editor who also writes, performs and records original and parody music with her husband Jeff for their Mystic Fig label. Her web site is www.mysticfig.com. Rose Dimond, "Stabat Mater": Rose Dimond is a writer of many talents. In addition to nonfiction, she enjoys finding unique combinations of ideas. Her story in Dancing USA is probably the first science fiction story to appear in a magazine about ballroom dancing. A veteran of Clarion, Viable Paradise, and Jim Gunn's Center for the Study of Science Fiction workshop, she nevertheless considers her best education to be from the Benedictine nuns at St. Scholastica's Academy of Covington, LA. If you like "Stabat Mater," keep an eye out for her novel, Tell the Stars, which she hopes to have published soon. Colleen Drippé, "Far Traveler" and "Brother John": Colleen Drippé has two books set in the "Lost Rythar" universe: Godcountry and Sunrise on the Icewolf, (NovelBooks.) She has also written children's books and many short stories, one of which was about Brother John's predecessors to Rythar and appeared in our Christian SF anthology, Leaps of Faith (available on cd at www.fabianspace.com). Karina L. Fabian, "These Three," "Interstellar Calling" and "Our Daily Bread": Karina L. Fabian is a homeschooling mother of four who writes articles and craft books to bring in extra money and fiction to placate the many characters in her head who insist on having their stories told. Her short stories have appeared in magazines like Eternal Night and in the award-winning Christian SF anthology, Leaps of Faith, which she edited with her husband, Rob. A cradle Catholic and SF geek, she's had a great time thinking about the future of the Catholic Church for this anthology. She finds collaborating with her husband, whether about children, stories, or anthologies, extremely romantic. Robert A. Fabian, "The Greatest of These" and "Our Daily Bread": Rob is a Lieutenant Colonel in the USAF whose training is in military space operations, but whose career has ranged from ICBM maintenance to speechwriting for the Chief of Staff of the US Air Force. He has written several articles on the military and commercial use of space, the most recent of which appeared in Astropolitics: The International Journal of Space Power and Policy. Rob handles the technical/detail side of the Fabian writing team. Alex Lobdell, "Hosts of the Envoy": Alex Lobdell claims to be a former Mr. Universe, professional battleship designer and confidant of Pulitzer prize-winning authors. Or so he wishes. He has an active fantasy life. In reality, Alex is a Notre Dame alumnus and former editor of Montana Catholic. He teaches at Chien Kou Technical University in Chang Hua, Taiwan, where he spends a lot of quality time with his Chinese-English dictionary. He did once meet Pulitzer-prizewinner A.B. Guthrie, however. Guthrie told him he thought heaven would be a boring place; Alex hopes he's there, anyway, and has found something to interest him. His first SF story about Luke Kittery appeared in Leaps of Faith. Alan Loewen, "Canticle of the Wolf" and "Mask of the Ferret": Alan Loewen is a United Brethren pastor who lives in Gettysburg, Pensylvania with Cherie (his wife of 17 years) and their three sons. His previous work has appeared in PawPrints Fanzine, Beauty From Ashes Poetry Review, and Gateway SF. He presently moderates several online listserves to promote and encourage the writing of genre fiction and is also co- writing a science fiction novel with author Ken Pick Tim Myers, "Brother Jubal in the Womb of Silence": Tim Myers is a writer, storyteller, and songwriter living in Santa Clara, CA, where he teaches at Santa Clara University. Raised Catholic in the "old school" tradition, Tim says he not only survived the crazier aspects of that upbringing but has positively thrived on its spiritual depth. Though he abandoned his youthful plan of becoming a priest, he revels in James Joyce's concept of "a priest of the imagination" and has come to see that human beings can't be fully who they are without faith. "Not to mention that life is a lot more fun when you have it," he added. Simon Morden, "Little Madeleine": Dr. Simon Morden, PhD, lives England. Trained as a planetary geologist, he found himself completely unemployable in his chosen field and took on a series of increasingly bizarre jobs, beloved by all authors for their jacket notes. Rescued by the patter of tiny feet and becoming a full-time househusband, Simon now divides his time unequally between writing, playing with the cat, and teaching the kids at the local primary school how black holes are formed. He's written several SF, fantasy and horror stories and the book The Lost Art, and edits British Science Fiction Association's writers' magazine Focus. Keep up with his latest exploits by visiting the infamous Book of Morden at www.bookofmorden.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Ken Pick, "Mask of the Ferret": Ken Pick is a computer programmer and moderately-practicing Catholic layman from Southern California. Cursed with a hyperactive imagination, he writes (among many-many other things) in an attempt "to stay sane." He has been published in the print fanzine Yarf! and is a regular contributor to the webzine Freelance Traveller. Adrienne Ray, "Hopkins' Well": Adrienne Ray lives with her husband, Mick, and her daughter, Elizabeth, in Cashville Virginia. Her son, Mike, attends Virginia Commonwealth University. She is the Director of Religious Education at St. Peter's Church in Onley, Virginia, and works full time at an art bronze foundry. In her spare time, Adrienne writes stories that have appeared in several magazines, including Dragons, Knights, and Angels: The Magazine of Christian Fantasy and Science Fiction, Astounding Tales, Anotherealm, and Gateway. Lori Z. Scott, "The Harvest": As a former elementary teacher, Lori Scott believes the storytelling magic found science fiction/fantasy makes the genre a powerful tool to illustrate godly principles. She has contributed to several books, and is author of Busy Moms' Devotions to Go (https://www.extremedivaboutique.theextremediva.com/splashPage.hg). She'd like to thank Dr. Mark Browning at the Purdue Department of Biological Sciences for teaching her the principles of biology needed for this story. She loves her husband, Jim, and children, Michael and Meghan. J Sherer, "Understanding": J Sherer resides in Southern California where he serves as a marketing account manager. His previous works have appeared in Dragons, Knights, and Angels Magazine and The West Wind. He is currently working to develop an online storytelling venue that would bring the feel of classic newspaper serials to the Internet. This science fiction adventure will wrap time travel into an exciting, history-changing thrill ride. Become a part of the adventure by visiting www.timeslingers.com. When he isn’t writing or working, J keeps active with bodyboarding, swimming, playing basketball, reading, and completing his Master of Business Administration at Azusa Pacific University. Twilight Times Books A Few Facts Twilight Times Books is a royalty paying small press print publisher. Due to an exceptional front list of books, all with four star reviews, the print division of Twilight Times Books now has over 50 titles in print. Our books are distributed internationally through B.C.H. and Florida Academic Press. Download versions of our books are available in PDF, HTML or Palm formats. LIT, RB or Hiebook formats are available as a special order. 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Quillen firstname.lastname@example.org Snapshots of Reviews of Infinite Space, Infinite God Edited by Karina and Rob Fabian Twilight Times Books Ann Lewis, author of Star Wars New Essential Guide To Alien Species: www.annmargaretlewis.com What's great about this book is that it's good science fiction first. It calls us to look at our world, to question it, to ponder our choices as a society. That's what good science fiction does. That it is centered around people who are religious or that it addresses the future of religious belief does not diminish this goal at all, but, in fact, makes the whole piece more poignant. From Grace Bridges, author of Faith Awakened These stories cover an immense breadth and depth of subject matter, locations on Earth, on the moon, and in far-off star systems. While I’m not a Catholic, many of the issues addressed are relevant for all Christians, and the things I found strange do provide some fascinating insights into Catholic thought and theology. In short, this anthology blows classic speculative fiction out of the water time and time again with amazing twists on the eternal question: “What if…” while giving you just enough time, in each longish short story, to ponder a little along these lines for yourself. Each time I picked up this book to read a story, I came away enriched somehow by the multitude of new possibilities opening up around every corner. “What if” really is a much bigger question than I ever thought. The dark side of each new realm of possibility also plays a big part. Don’t expect a bunch of happy endings – rather, expect realistic results in a world that is every bit as tough as our present day, if not even tougher, as man penetrates the void of space. But hope also shines through in the midst of desperate circumstances. I believe good science fiction should, among other things, always stretch your brain – and that’s just what this collection has done for me…fifteen times over. Watch out world – the Fabians are coming! And it looks like they're bringing their friends... Gabriel Mckee for "SFGospel": Infinite Space, Infinite God, edited by Karina and Robert Fabian is billed as an anthology of Catholic SF, but it’s much more than that. The 15 stories cover broad thematic ground, and though the Catholic Church plays a role in all of them, each story offers a vastly different perspective. This volume isn’t just of interest to Catholics—it’s good SF that engages in exactly the kind of speculation that keeps the genre vibrant. The editors’ introductions to the stories are intelligent and informative, giving some excellent background data on the specific aspects of the church that the stories explore. It’s a great anthology, and it’s fitting that it won the 2007 EPPIE for best science fiction. January 2008 ©E.Lilley / SFRevu home / Subscribe (Free) http://www.sfrevu.com/php/Review-id.php?id=6733 Infinite Space, Infinite God by Karina L. Fabian & Robert A. Fabian (Editors) Review by Colleen Cahill Twilight Times Books Paperback: ISBN/ITEM#: 9781933353623 Date: 15 August 2007 List Price $18.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info Religion has not been a stranger to science fiction. From Arthur C. Clarke's The Nine Billion Names of God to Gene Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun, the nature of God and humanities' relationship to the Almighty has been explored in this genre. But there is always room for more, especially for an anthology like Infinite Space, Infinite God, which focuses on Catholic science fiction. The twenty-two stories in this work bring together some very interesting fiction from several talented authors, ones you might not be familiar with but whose work you certainly will enjoy. There are those who would consider stories with an element of Catholicism, never mind religion, to be very limiting. This anthology proves that idea very wrong, as there as so many avenues to explore. The book is set out in themes, such as "The Catholic Church and Evangelism" or "The Catholic Church and Our Souls", giving a hint to the stories, but only a hint. While "The Harvest", by Lori Z. Scott, is not the first science fiction story I have read that deals with human-created life, it does provide a new and thought provoking examination. Adrienne Ray's ghostly "Hopkin's Well" deals with the effects of teleportation, as soliders sent to wipe out a small Catholic settlement on Mars discover they might not have gotten the whole story on several issues. In Ken Pick and C. Alan Loewen's "The Mask of the Ferret", humans and aliens on a space ship are being picked off one by one in a story that combines elements of a Father Brown murder mystery along with its science fiction. It would be strange not to have aliens as the focus of some of the stories, and Karina L. Fabian's "Interstellar Calling" deals with a teenage girl who questions life and God when she learns her parents are divorcing. She discovers she might not be as clueless as she thought when aliens come to her with their questions. There are stories where religion is the center of the piece, as in "Brother Jubal in the Womb of Silence", by Tim Myers, which shows the life of a hermit monk on the Moon, an interesting idea when such an existence would require lots of outside support. Rose Dimond's "Stabat Mater" gives us the surprisingly normal life of a woman who, as a child, was visited by the Virgin Mary, but as Armageddon comes, finds herself driving the Pope in a van across a bombed out America. The future is not always bright and sunny in these stories: "Little Madeline", by Simon Morden, tells of a 15-year-old-girl struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. Only when Madeline runs into a Joan, a martial nun, does there seem to be a glimmer of hope. One of the warmest stories is closer to fantasy, as "Canticle of the Wolf", by C. Alan Loewen, revolves around a legend of Francis of Assisi and a man-eating wolf that threatens a village. The twist at the end adds to the magical feel of this wonderful story. The best thing about all the stories in this anthology is that while religion is in all of them, the works are never preachy and the writers focusing more on fashioning a good tale then trying to convert anyone. I heartily recommend Infinite Space, Infinite God to any science fiction fan: you will find this an absorbing collection of stories that will explore the boundaries of our universe and just a bit beyond. Jan 2008 INFINITE SPACE, INFINITE GOD, edited by Karina and Robert Fabian. Twilight Times Books. 288 pp. $18.95. Reviewed by JEAN M. HEIMANN, a freelance writer from Wichita, Kansas. OVER THE YEARS, many of the great Christian science-fiction writers have been Catholics, such as Walter M. Miller, J.R.R. Tolkien, R.A. Lafferty and, more recently, Gene Wolfe and Tim Powers. Few, however, have written about the Catholic Church itself and the future role of the Church. The stories included in Infinite Space, Infinite God not only project Catholics living and working in the future, but depict the Church as very much alive, highly influential and a vital part of its members’ lives. Infinite Space, Infinite God is an anthology of 15 Catholic science-fiction short stories, which won an EPIC (Electronically Published Internet Connection) Award in 2007. Edited and compiled by Catholic science-fiction writers Karina and Robert Fabian, Infinite Space, Infinite God depicts Catholics and the Catholic Church of the future, with some of its members living in a world of clones and genetically altered humanoids. Other characters are involved in time travel, interplanetary and deep-space exploration. Various science-fiction themes challenge the characters’ practice of Catholic morals and beliefs and pose interesting questions for the reader, the kind that keep catechists dreaming and theologians debating. As with any anthology, the quality of the writing varies from story to story. It also reflects the writer’s experience. Although these variations exist in Infinite Space, Infinite God, I enjoyed all these stories and found each of them to be well-crafted, unique and entertaining. The characters in all of the stories are very imaginative and come alive in vivid detail. Different themes and writing styles added variety and heightened my interest, as I anticipated what challenge each new story would bring. Among my favorites were “These Three” (Karina and Robert Fabian), “Understanding” (J. Sherer) and “A Cruel and Unusual Punishment” (Maya Kathryn Bohnhoff). “These Three” introduces us to the Order of Our Lady of the Rescue, a group of religious women dedicated to rescuing others in space. It is the captivating and suspense-filled story of Peter, a goal-oriented and idealistic young man with limited skills who wants to become a spacer. During his flight, he becomes seriously injured and scrambles to stop his spaceship from colliding with a space station. In the process, Peter not only faces the challenge of a physical injury, but also struggles with an interior conflict that must be overcome if he is to save himself and others from a potential disaster. This is where his Catholic faith enters in as he receives encouragement and spiritual advice from an unexpected source. Will he heed the advice of the mysterious stranger? Will he trust in God or in his own resources? “Understanding” combines mystery and intrigue with science fiction in the tale of two men living in a genetically altered world–-one, Errius, a serial killer who believes he is acting in a just manner by cleansing the Catholic Church of its “misfits” when he murders four Catholic priests, and the other, Tack, a detective assigned to his case, who has lost his faith in the Church. Both men base their actions on misperceptions and consequently suffer in many ways. How they deal with these life-and-death spiritual trials determines their fate. What is Errius’s hidden motive in murdering these priests? Will he be discovered and caught? Will either of these men repent and return to their faith? “A Cruel and Unusual Punishment” is my favorite short story in the anthology. It is an intriguing crime story which challenges each of us in our faith. Liam Connor is an Irish- Catholic terrorist and convicted murderer. He rationalizes all his violent actions and lacks remorse, but now is presented with the option of death or a secret “psychological treatment” that turns fellow inmates into madmen. Which will he choose? Infinite Space, Infinite God is a wonderful selection of very imaginative and colorful stories that capture the reader’s interest and attention, while also presenting a thought- provoking look at the Catholic faith in the future. These stories provide a refreshing look at Catholicism from a positive and uplifting point of view. I highly recommend this anthology not only to science-fiction fans, but also to those who are new to this genre. You can order INFINITE SPACE, INFINITE GOD from St. Francis Bookshop. Sample Interview: Karina and Rob Fabian Infinite Space, Infinite God Interview in SF Gospel, December 2006: Many SF stories about religion use Catholicism specifically to make their points, describing spacefaring priests and nuns or futuristic governments modeled on the church. Why have so many SF authors, regardless of their own faiths, seen Catholicism as the exemplary faith? Before we answer, we want to point out that we can only speak from an American/European/Australian POV. Neither Rob not I know much about the literature of Asia or the Orient. There are lots of reasons Catholicism plays on the imagination of authors, regardless of their faith. Catholicism is a familiar yet rich religion, both visually and historically. There's so much an author can play with. If you say, "Catholic," people immediately have an image: grand churches, men with white collars and women in habits, icons... People think of structure, hierarchy, and specific moral expectations. They think of controversy and crusade. Yet they also think of something that perseveres. Imagine what that means for an author! Here are cultural templates they can play with, structures they can adapt, and icons that are--snap!--captured in the visceral understanding of the reader. It's intellectual shorthand: write "Reverend Paul," and the reader gets a multitude of images; write "Father Paul," and readers get a more focused image. Yet because of the history and diversity of the Catholic Church, you can take that shorthand and build it into something so much more. I was pleasantly surprised to see the wide variety of viewpoints and approaches to Catholicism presented in Infinite Space, Infinite God. The stories don't shy away from talking about some controversial and touchy subjects. The Church isn't a monolithic, unchanging thing, but an active and vibrant community. What sort of effect do you see the kind of open discussion of these stories having on the future of the Church? We're definitely hoping folks will discuss the issues in these stories. In fact, it's a dream of ours to have Infinite Space, Infinite God become course material for theology or philosophy-and-technology courses. None of us, however, would presume to suggest that our stories will affect the decisions and doctrine of the Catholic Church. You'd be surprised at how much the Church is already thinking and studying the questions we've raised--and at a higher theological level than any of us aspired to. The best we could ask is that it opens minds to ask "What if?" After all, that's what great SF does. We hope that as people of any faith read these stories, they'll realize--or be reassured--that there is still a place for faith and for the organized expression of faith. We also want folks to see that the Church is, as you put it, not a monolithic, unchanging thing. It never has been and never will be. Nonetheless, it does stand for some unchanging virtues--respect for life, love of neighbor, and above all, the eternal loving relationship between God and humans. If there is a single theme that runs through all of these stories, it is that the past can help us understand the future. The wisdom of medieval Catholic thinkers, which has often been rejected by Protestants and ignored by scientists and modern philosophers, may be the key to understanding the problems we will face in the future. How do you think the scientists and explorers of the future will be able to use the Catholic Church's rich intellectual history? Well, first, they'll have to listen to it. But let's just assume that that's going to happen with increasing frequency. My friend and fellow writer Ann Lewis (http://annmargaretlewis.com/) noted that one of the strengths of the Catholic faith is that we value reason. "If we can reason, we can discover--and discover from a mature point of view." The Catholic Church has always taught that reason (logic) and faith need to stand together. Now, we're certain someone reading this will object, "And what about Galileo?" The Galileo case is much more complex than simply denying heliocentric theory because it "didn't agree with Scripture." Karina has read several accounts and interpretations, each different according to the person's personal point of view: The Church was too attached to Aristotelian theory; Galileo went too far by directly challenging the authority of the Pope in writing; Galileo insisted he could interpret Scripture better than the Pope; Galileo was not able to prove heliocentric theory (this happened in the 1800s with more exact equipment, but how could the Inquisitors of the time know that?); the Church was afraid of anything that contradicted its authority, even in the area of science... The list goes on, but the point is that it was not just--if ever--a case of science contradicting Scripture. Note that Copernicus, who proposed the heliocentric theory well before Galileo, was a monk and was not punished for his views. So back to the intellectual history of the Church. Much of the Church's intellectual history is wrapped into scientific thought today, although many scientists and laymen don't realize it. St. Albert the Great and St. Thomas Aquinas pioneered the scientific method. Mendel, a monk, conducted one of the first systematic studies of genetics. The Vatican supports scientific research across the globe today via the Pontifical Academy. So the influence is there. Where we hope the influence grows, however, is in the faith filled application of the science. One of my favorite stories in the Infinite Space, Infinite God is Tim Myers' "Brother Jubal in the Womb of Silence," which describes the life of an anchorite who lives in isolation on the moon, just as early Christian monks lived contemplative lives in the deserts on the fringe of civilization. And your own story "These Three" focuses on a religious order that runs search and rescue missions in space, providing "air, equipment, and the love of God." Given the degree to which monasticism has declined in recent decades, do you see space exploration as providing a potential renaissance for religious orders? Tim's story is gorgeous. Karina loves Brother Jubal so much, she actually had Tim create some of Brother Jubal's religious writings to quote in the SF novel she's working on right now. It, too, features sisters from Our Lady of the Rescue--the order in "These Three"--as they handle the safety of a crew exploring the first-discovered alien ship in the Kuiper belt. There's definitely a precedent and a place for religious orders in exploration. Historically, where explorers have gone, priests and the religious have followed. In part to "convert the heathen," but also to serve the faithful. Even more in space than here on Earth, they will need to have a functional role other than spiritual--Brother Jubal Church- sponsored hermitage notwithstanding. That's why we came up with the idea of space search and rescue as a service for our order. It's a necessary service that will no doubt command a high price, so if the sisters do it for "air, equipment and the love of God," they undercut the competition and forge a place for the religious in space. (Sadly, there's no Queen Isabella to fund a monastery on Mars.) Will it cause a renaissance for religious orders? No, but we suspect we're on the way to one as it is. A study done of religious orders (Shaping the Coming Age of Religious Life) showed that religious orders go through periods of decline and growth as the Church's dominant image changes. Monastic/cloistered orders, for example, were the dominant orders from 500-1200 AD; then came mendicant orders (1200-1500 AD); apostolic orders (1500-1800 AD), and now teaching congregations. With Vatican II ushering in (or perhaps simply recognizing) a new dominant image for the Church, orders are again in a stage of flux, with new communities emerging as some of the older ones decline. At a glance, we'd say we're entering an image of social justice and service to our neighbors, but only time will tell, just as time will tell how religious orders will find their place among extra-terrestrial humankind. Once we have viable communities in space, religious orders will follow. In one form or another, they are part of the Catholic tradition. Wherever we have Catholics, we will see them as well--both in hermitage and out serving their communities. In many of the stories in this anthology the Catholic Church is persecuted, imperiled, or forgotten. In Adrienne Ray's "Hopkins' Well," Catholics are exiled on Mars; in Simon Morden's "Little Madeleine," the Church forms an order of nuns to function as bodyguards to protect priests from street gangs. These stories have optimistic conclusions, but they definitely see the potential for dark times ahead. Do you think the Catholic Church will have to face these kinds of difficulties in the future? A "Hopkins' Well" situation where Catholics are persecuted to the point of near- extinction? No. But one of science fiction's strengths is its ability to change baseline assumptions and exaggerate situations so that we can examine the consequences and repercussions of current trends. "Little Madeleine" is a good example. Bodyguards for religious? Sister Leonella, who was shot in Somalia in September 2006, traveled with a bodyguard. (He was also shot.) They believe she was shot by Muslims angry at Pope Benedict's speech. However, in Karina's home town, two priests were shot by a disturbed teenager in their own home. Violence is everywhere. The Joans of "Little Madeleine" are an exaggeration of a trend, yet the overall story is about the larger problems of a world which has caused their order to form--and about the elements of that world that exist today. That's one of the things we've really enjoyed about putting together these stories, and what makes Infinite Space, Infinite God more than just "SF for Catholics." These stories, while using the Catholic Church as their focus, nonetheless speak to all of us, regardless of faith.
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