Jennifer and I just returned from the NYS Southern Tier Youth Baptist Association’s annual winter conference at Watson Homestead outside of Painted Post, NY. I’m busy working on a full write up which I hope to post later today or tomorrow. Meanwhile, if you attended the event, you can head on over to The Warband and join in the discussion about the marvelous, God-filled weekend we had. The more the merrier, so please add your thought, stories and testimonies!
Today also marks the monthly return to the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour, something which I have really come to enjoy and look forward to. This month we are highlighting the writings of a fabulous author from Wales named Chris Walley. With just a brief review of Walley’s bio, you’ll immediately understand that we’re dealing with a pro here–not just in his writing–but in his handle on the subject matter.
In The Lamb Among The Stars Series–a true mixture of theology and fantastical futuristic science fiction–Walley has woven together two seemingly diametrically opposing elements into one seamless composition. I say that because, for the most part, as westerners, we tend to think of the end of the world as dangerously immanent (even more so in 2nd and 3rd world nations). From preachers declaring the impending rapture to movies illustrating the end of mankind, we seem conditioned for either the return of Christ if your a Christian, or the destruction of civilization if your a modern secularist. Normally we don’t think of our inhabitation of Earth lasting another 200 years, let alone another 2,000. Honestly, I sometimes wonder how we’re going to make it through the next hundred!
But then Walley does something I find quite extraordinary. He reminds the reader of the divine sovereignty of God. Oh yeah, I said to myself, God is gracious and merciful. And I’m suddenly convicted about my own lack of faith, realizing that if I was one of the original twelve disciples and you asked me when I thought Jesus was going to return a second time, I would have told you, “Next week.” Maybe “Next month.” But the fact is, it’s been 2,000 years, hasn’t it? Likewise, Walley paints a picture of the same long-suffering grace in which God intervenes in humanity’s dismal plight and brings about a great Intervention, as he calls it, thus mixing a provocative theological notion with a popular forecasting of the distant future.
Admittedly, I was a bit skeptical at first. With so much knowledge at our fingertips in our information age today, I think it’s a real challenge, first of all, to not only write futuristic sci-fi, but believable futuristic sci-fi. Eesepcially when it takes place 11,000 years in the future. You heard me: Eleven-thousand years.
You can check out plenty of his stories’ plot summaries and reviews on the links I posted above and on his blog. Walley sets this theological stance in the context of a marvelous storyline, one in which I’m thoroughly engrossed at the moment, and has taken the prized status of “Book I’m Carrying Around Everywhere Until I’m Done With It.” Merral and Vero have become characters I’m genuinely concerned about and I look forward to every turn of the page.
Like some of my other favorite authors, the pacing at first was a bit slow. That always bothers me. But then I wonder if that’s the reason for the gripping quality it has on me as a reader once things pick up? The ability for a writer to have you age with the characters, to travel with them and not skip huge sections of time and space (no pun intended), is one of the beautiful things about books.
I also had a hard time getting used to Walley’s phrasing. He tends to write long, multi-comma, multi-adverb sentences that are, at times, hard to follow and make you have to stop and re-read the sentence. But then again, read George MacDonald and have fun wrapping your brain around his paragraph long sentences! The fact is, I think our “reading culture,” like our “listening culture,” has been manipulated to the literature version of a 3-minute pop song, as opposed to the 30-minute movements by the greats. So really, I can’t point a finger at Walley–just my own diet of short pros.
So enough with the commentary from me. I’d like to pose a question today, allowing you to elaborate on it through comments to this post. After the great Intervention that Walley writes of, mankind returns to almost a pre-Fall morality in which evil and sin are not only forbidden, but a genuine bygone of a forgotten era. Of course, to make a great story (and a great theological study), evil makes a return visit. (I’ve really enjoyed seeing the the futuristic side of how I envisioned and wrote Rise of The Dibor!) And this return has an effect on two different aspects of humanity: Spiritual and Natural.
Today, I want to focus on the supernatural and mental elements. If you’ve read Walley, then your answers will be much more telling (and you’re still welcome to comment). But if you haven’t, I’d like to ask this:
If sin returned to a faultless, futuristic society, what implications would it have on the psyche of humanity? What do you think would be the first mental, emotional and moral elements to degenerate and how would they affect man’s moral behavior interpersonally and with God?
Got to it! I welcome your thoughts and hope we even get some feedback from Mr. Walley himself!
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Check out what my other fine blogging friends are saying about Chris Walley!:
Brandon Barr, Jim Black, Justin Boyer, Grace Bridges, Jackie Castle, Carol Bruce Collett , Valerie Comer, CSFF Blog Tour, Gene Curtis , D. G. D. Davidson, Chris Deanne, Janey DeMeo, Jeff Draper , April Erwin, Marcus Goodyear, Rebecca Grabill , Jill Hart, Katie Hart, Michael Heald, Timothy Hicks , Christopher Hopper, Heather R. Hunt, Jason Joyner, Kait, Carol Keen, Mike Lynch, Margaret, Rachel Marks, Shannon McNear, Melissa Meeks, Rebecca LuElla Miller, Mirtika or Mir’s Here, Pamela Morrisson, Eve Nielsen, John W. Otte, John Ottinger , Deena Peterson, Rachelle, Steve Rice, Ashley Rutherford, Chawna Schroeder, James Somers, Rachelle Sperling, Donna Swanson, Steve Trower, Speculative Faith, Robert Treskillard, Jason Waguespac, Laura Williams