Tag Archives: science fiction

Book Review: Out of The Silent Planet

29 Jul

I listened to the audiobook of Out of The Silent Planet, book 1 in C. S. LewisSpace Trilogy about a month ago. Science fiction written by a renowned Christian apologist sounds a bit strange, but as always Lewis manages to reveal truth in the most unlikely places. 😉 It certainly made me think. Written between WWI and WWII, its science seems a bit old fashioned, but the mechanics of space travel are really not the focus of the book. Malacandria (or Mars) is a very foreign place for the reluctant space traveler, Dr. Ransom. His terror in finding himself among the strange terrain and beings is soon overcome by his interest in the linguistics of the planet’s inhabitants. Through his study of their language, he learns things that make him question his pre-conceived notions of God and faith. Scholars have many takes on this novel and its themes. I came away with two — our ability to know God is limited by what we have decided is truth and people tend to view themselves as superior in regards to others based on their perceived intellect and experiences. If you keep in mind the time period in which this novel was written, you can see Lewis’ concerns for the future. If you also read it with the viewpoint of what has transpired since WWII and our most recent history, it will challenge you to go deeper in understanding mankind and God himself.

There are two more books in the series, and I will eventually get to them. The delay will mostly be due to other reading commitments/preferences than desire to see how Lewis plays out the rest of Dr. Ransom’s adventures.


Audience: adults.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Out of the Silent Planet is the first novel of the Cosmic Trilogy, considered to be C.S. Lewis’ chief contribution to the science fiction genre. The trilogy concerns Dr. Ransom, a linguist, who, like Christ, was offered a ransom for mankind. The first two novels are planetary romances with elements of medieval mythology. Each planet is seen as having a tutelary spirit; those of the other planets are both good and accessible, while that of Earth is fallen, twisted, and not known directly by most humans. The story is powerfully imagined, and the effects of lesser gravity on Martian planet and animal life is vividly rendered.

Top 10 Tuesday — Summer TBR

15 Jun

It is definitely summer here in the sunny South. High temps are in the 90s, and I am melting on my morning walks! But that’s what I signed up for! We endure in the air conditioning and under the umbrella next to the pool. And a good book to take you away is always welcome.

Today’s Top 10 Tuesday list includes some of the books I am reading this summer. My TBR list is short, but I will be reading more than is on my current list — I am keeping my options flexible this summer. For more fun summer reading, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Books on My Summer TBR

The August surprise selection for By The Book is Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan. We are excited to read this dual timeline novel set in one of our favorite cities.

When Savannah history professor Everly Winthrop is asked to guest-curate a new museum collection focusing on artifacts recovered from the steamship Pulaski, she’s shocked. The ship sank after a boiler explosion in 1838, and the wreckage was just discovered, 180 years later. Everly can’t resist the opportunity to try to solve some of the mysteries and myths surrounding the devastating night of its sinking.

Everly’s research leads her to the astounding history of a family of eleven who boarded the Pulaskitogether, and the extraordinary stories of two women from this family: a known survivor, Augusta Longstreet, and her niece, Lilly Forsyth, who was never found, along with her child. These aristocratic women were part of Savannah’s society, but when the ship exploded, each was faced with difficult and heartbreaking decisions. This is a moving and powerful exploration of what women will do to endure in the face of tragedy, the role fate plays, and the myriad ways we survive the surviving.

A small group of my friends formed IWBC (Interesting Women Book Club — for the books were are reading and of course us 😉 . The Only Woman in The Room by Marie Benedict fits that bill. I am going to lobby hard to read it, but if I get outvoted, I am still going to read this intriguing book.

Her beauty almost certainly saved her from the rising Nazi party and led to marriage with an Austrian arms dealer. Underestimated in everything else, she overheard the Third Reich’s plans while at her husband’s side and understood more than anyone would guess. She devised a plan to flee in disguise from their castle, and the whirlwind escape landed her in Hollywood. She became Hedy Lamarr, screen star.

But she kept a secret more shocking than her heritage or her marriage: she was a scientist. And she had an idea that might help the country fight the Nazis and revolutionize modern communication . . . if anyone would listen to her.

A powerful book based on the incredible true story of the glamour icon and scientist, The Only Woman in the Room is a masterpiece that celebrates the many women in science that history has overlooked.

My daughter is reading C. S. LewisSpace Trilogy. She gave book 1, Out of The Silent Planet to my husband, and I downloaded it from Audible (it was included in my subscription). I am hoping our 4th of July celebration will include the 1st Family Book Club. Wish me luck! I had a hard enough time getting my kids to read certain books when they were kids. Now that they are adults . . . .

Out of the Silent Planet is the first novel of the Cosmic Trilogy, considered to be C.S. Lewis’ chief contribution to the science fiction genre. The trilogy concerns Dr. Ransom, a linguist, who, like Christ, was offered a ransom for mankind. The first two novels are planetary romances with elements of medieval mythology. Each planet is seen as having a tutelary spirit; those of the other planets are both good and accessible, while that of Earth is fallen, twisted, and not known directly by most humans. The story is powerfully imagined, and the effects of lesser gravity on Martian planet and animal life is vividly rendered.

Two review books are up for July — The Nature of Small Birds by Susie Finkbeiner and The Chase by Lisa Harris. I can’t wait to dig into both of those books.

In 1975, three thousand children were airlifted out of Saigon to be adopted into Western homes. When Mindy, one of those children, announces her plans to return to Vietnam to find her birth mother, her loving adopted family is suddenly thrown back to the events surrounding her unconventional arrival in their lives.

Though her father supports Mindy’s desire to meet her family of origin, he struggles privately with an unsettling fear that he’ll lose the daughter he’s poured his heart into. Mindy’s mother undergoes the emotional rollercoaster inherent in the adoption of a child from a war-torn country, discovering the joy hidden amid the difficulties. And Mindy’s sister helps her sort through relics that whisper of the effect the trauma of war has had on their family — but also speak of the beauty of overcoming.

Told through three strong voices in three compelling timelines, The Nature of Small Birds is a hopeful story that explores the meaning of family far beyond genetic code.

US Marshal Madison James may not be sure who shot her three months ago, but she does know one thing — it’s time to get back out into the field. When her partner, Jonas Quinn, receives a message that a federal warrant just came in on a man connected to a string of bank robberies, Madison jumps at the chance to get back to work. What she and Jonas find is a bank robbery in progress that’s gone wrong — and things are about to get worse.

For these bank robbers, it’s never been just about the money. It’s about taking risks and adrenaline rushes, and getting caught is not part of the game. When the suspects escape, Madison and Jonas must hunt them down and bring them to justice before someone else — someone close to them — gets hurt . . . or worse.

From Seattle to the San Juan Islands, bestselling author Lisa Harris takes you on a nonstop chase where feelings are complicated and failure isn’t an option.

What are you reading this summer?

Book Spotlight And Author Interview — Heart of The Ajs

26 May

About The Book

Book:  Heart of the Ajs

Author: T.E. Bradford

Genre:  Fantasy / Sci-Fi blend

Release Date: September 16, 2019

She has magic she cannot use…

He has a secret she must uncover.


ASFAR, first planet from the sun is a desert planet steeped in superstition and tradition. Nafisa el Faruz is the princess, defender of the sun and champion of her people. Hers is the most powerful magic—zaman, holder of time.

TRINITOS, third planet, is home to the sky gate and the wicked man who controls its use, the Ajs An’hlj. He is yunfah—a wind walker, one who can control the air itself. The only thing he covets more than control is power, and he has his sights set on Nafisa.


Click here to get your copy.


About The Author

Tracy Bradford is the author of the Divide Series, Six World Sagas, and International Bestseller: Kindled Legends – Written in the Stars.

When she’s not busy writing, she can be found taking a scenic drive with her family, snapping photos, or giving voices to her son’s stuffed animals. She reclines her feet in Upstate New York with her very own grumpy kitty, the husband God made just for her, and the son who is her forever best story.


More from Tracy

A large part of the plot for Heart of the Ajs stemmed from a conversation I had with my son. He’d asked me why he still had bad dreams, even after praying for God to take them away.

I searched for the words to explain why God doesn’t always say yes. Sometimes he says no. Or maybe. Or wait–which for me is the hardest answer of all. I thought of an example from when we’d been looking for a new house and didn’t get the one we’d been hoping for. We were so disappointed. But God had a better house in mind for us. We just didn’t know it yet. And at one point my job became very toxic, when after seven years of work I got pregnant and suddenly managers who’d promoted me several times were telling me I wasn’t cutting it. God had a better job in mind for me. I just didn’t know it yet.

I started to wonder if I could weave this truth into a story I’d been working on about a girl who didn’t feel her father or God were listening. She couldn’t see a way out, or understand how anything good could come from where she was.

Yet our precious Heavenly Father always has a plan. A perfect, incredible plan far beyond our wildest imaginings. One He is faithful to reveal with perfect timing.

Even if we may not know it yet.


Q&A With T. E. Bradford


Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?

I’m a part-time author, and also have a full-time job. Believe it or not, I think it affects my writing positively. Not only does it push me to finish pieces, it also provides and endless source of ideas and information I can use when building characters and worlds.

Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?

Heart of the Ajs is a mashup of Sci-Fi and Fantasy in all the best ways. Set on a desert planet with a middle-eastern feel, it pits strong-willed Nafisa not only against a dangerous and deadly man, but against her own doubts. It is, above all else, a story of faith — even in the face of uncertainty.

What do your plans for future projects include?

Book Two in my YA/Fantasy series is set to release soon. It’s called Child of Destiny, and is a stand-alone, but continues the story and characters introduced in Book One – Child of Prophecy. I’m also working on a new Dystopian about a cult-like group called The Congregation, who separate themselves to avoid contact with the “infected” and one young member named Evangeline, who stumbles onto a truth that will not only change all she’s ever known, but alter the future of an entire generation.

How do you find or make time to write?

Now that IS a good question. LOL  With a full-time job, a young son, and all the demands that accompany editing and selling your work, finding the time to actually write can be challenging. Thankfully I’ve always been a night owl. I use those precious hours after everyone else is in bed to find my quiet, happy place. I often look up to the ceiling and whisper to those sleeping above, “Up there it’s their time… but down here… down here is OUR time.” Any Goonies fans out there will understand (wink, wink).

If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?

Certainly, The Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis. The idea of Aslan telling the children that he brought them to Narnia so that knowing him by one name for a little, they might know him better in their world is one that will always resonate with me. Or Contact, by Carl Sagan. Which contains one of the best messages about faith I’ve ever found. Oh, there are so many! How do you pick just one?!?


Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, May 21

Artistic Nobody, May 22 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 23

Blossoms and Blessings, May 24 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, May 25

By The Book, May 26 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, May 27

For the Love of Literature, May 28 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, May 29

Wishful Endings, May 30 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 31

deb’s Book Review, June 1

A Baker’s Perspective, June 2 (Author Interview)

Blogging With Carol, June 3


To celebrate her tour, T.E. is giving away the grand prize package of a $20 Amazon Gift Card, a signed copy of my book Child of Prophecy, a piece of raw onyx, and a genuine Jasper stone heart necklace!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


Book Review: Numb

21 Apr

The folks at the Christian Science Fiction And Fantasy Blog Tour are featuring John Otte and his sci-fi novel, Numb. A bi congrats goes to John for Numb being named a Christy Award finalist in speculative fiction! The CSSF Tour is always a great mix of reviews, so I encourage you to check out all the participants’ blogs. You will find the list at the end of this post. Meanwhile, here is the info on Numb and John.

Numb-Front-Cover-Smaller-194x300Save the girl…or his soul?

Crusader is numb. He feels neither emotion nor pain, a divine gift that allows him to be the Ministrix’s best assassin.

Whether it’s heretics from within or heathens from without, Crusader is the sword in the True Church’s hand. And if he remains obedient to his superiors, he will be able to let go of his guilt.

But then he’s ordered to kill Isolda Westin. It shouldn’t be a problem. A target is a target. When Crusader sees Isolda’s image, though, something strange happens. He experiences a moment of panic, a wave of emotions–the first he’s felt in as long as he can remember.

In that moment, he realizes he can’t fulfill his mission. He can’t kill Isolda Westin, even if it means he’ll be condemned as an enemy of the Ministrix.

Soon Crusader and Isolda are on the run. Will they be able to learn why the Ministrix wants Isolda dead? Or will they both soon face the harsh justice of the “True Church”?


John-W-Otte-200x300John Otte is a PK, a pastor’s kid. He grew up in Columbia Heights, a suburb of Minneapolis, with his parents and younger sister and brother. They were the terror of their local library because, every few weeks, they would come and check out crates full of books, increasing the workload of the poor librarians. In high school, though, John worked at the same library, so it balanced out.

After high school, John attended Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he majored in theatre. Upon his graduation in 1996, he moved on to Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated with his Masters of Divinity in 2000. He served as a Lutheran minister in Blue Earth, Minnesota, before moving to South St. Paul, Minnesota, where he currently serves as the pastor for Concordia Lutheran Church.

John married his wife in 2002 and they now have two wonderful boys who are well on their way toward being geeks. John couldn’t be prouder.

John is a life-long writer. He started with badly drawn comic books in the fifth grade. When he realized that he was a lousy artist, he moved on to badly written novels in middle school. He’s tried his hand at screenplays (don’t ask), stage plays (a little better), fanfic, teen mysteries, and religious fiction. But his first love has always been speculative fiction.

His debut novel, Failstate, was published by Marcher Lord Press in April of 2012, and was a finalist for the Christy Awards in 2013. He has gone on to publish two more novels with Marcher Lord Press. John looks forward to telling even more strange tales that point people back to God and His incredible grace.


My Impressions:

If you like tech-heavy, futuristic sci-fi and want a story that is also faith-heavy, check out John Otte’s novel, Numb. Well-imagined societies and well-developed characters help to create a story that will keep you turning the pages. The faith message is strong and will make you think about your own stance on religion and freedom. Numb would be an excellent choice for a youth discussion as well.

Crusader believes he has been created with no emotions and no feelings of pain so that he can administer the justice of the Ministrix, the theocratic society that demands strict adherence to its dogma. But lately, he has had fleeting feelings and that, along with guilt, is upsetting his black and white world. When given an assignment to assassinate an enemy of the state, Crusader finds that he has questions, doubts and yes feelings that keep him from fulfilling his assignment. Isolda Westin, a member of a remnant of true believers has to decide whether to fear Crusader or trust him to preserve her life. Racing from planet to planet to asteroid and back, the pair face everything from betrayal by friends and help from enemies as they seek answers to long held secrets.

I had a bit of trouble getting into John Otte’s novel. I connected with the characters immediately, especially the assassin, Crusader. But I needed a little more information about the two main societies that ruled. I discovered much along the way, but would have preferred more detail at the first. As I said, I felt a connection to the characters, and it was that that kept me turning the pages. I really cared what was happening to them. The technological aspects of Numb were fun and inventive, but being mostly tech-challenged, I read them at face value without trying to figure out the hows of the science. That really worked for me; I would love to hear what the tech-junkies thought. Most of the plot lines are wrapped up at the end, but enough loose threads are left to make me think we might see Crusader and Isolda again. Romance, adventure, gadgets, and interplanetary/galactic travel all provide something for everyone.

I found the theology behind Numb very intriguing. You have two ruling societies, one that has embraced secular tolerance and one that has developed a theocracy based solely on God’s wrath and judgment without grace and love. Adherents of true faith were persecuted by both. I saw a lot of things that reminded me of our present day. That is why I think Numb would be good for a youth or college aged discussion. You have got some great sci-fi combined with what it means to be truly free. I also felt that Crusader was much like the Apostle Paul before his encounter with Jesus on the Damascus road. Completely devoted to his church and his role within it, Crusader, like Paul, found out just who God really is.

Make sure to check out what the other participants on the tour have to say. Their links are at the end of this post.


(I received and ebook in conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase Numb, click on the image below.


Tour Participants:

Julie Bihn
Jennifer Bogart
Keanan Brand
Pauline Creeden
Vicky DealSharingAunt
Carol Gehringer
Victor Gentile
Rebekah Gyger
Nikole Hahn
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Emileigh Latham
Rebekah Loper
Jennette Mbewe
Amber McCallister
Shannon McDermott
Shannon McNear
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Faye Oygard
Writer Rani
Nathan Reimer
Jojo Sutis
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Shane Werlinger
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White

Book Review: Resurrect

27 Nov

Book 1 in the Resurrect Trilogy.

Preventing his burning fighter from crashing into a neighborhood, Navy Commander Josh Logan ejects … too late.

Critically injured, he’s offered a new life and mission exploit highly classified military technology to stop a global cataclysm. The price? He’ll be dead to everyone he knows.

He wakes in a city hospital with a genetically enhanced body and no identity. With the help of his brilliant, Neuro ICU nurse, and guided by nothing but a voice, he must infiltrate the military-industrial complex to develop the world’s most powerful weapon … to protect humanity?


A Navy fighter pilot with hundreds of aircraft carrier landings, Commander David E Stevens holds degrees from Cornell and the University of Michigan with graduate work in astrophysics. He test piloted new fighters and received an aviation patent. With a Top Secret clearance, Dave served as Strike Operations Officer for the Persian Gulf during Desert Storm and led classified defense programs. He’s traveled to over two dozen countries.

Find out more about David E. at http://www.resurrecttrilogy.com/.

My Impressions:

Resurrect is part adventure, part science fiction that uses David Stevens’ military experience to capture an authentic feel. An interesting premise, a man is somehow saved from death and brought back to life with a new and enhanced body to combat a crisis facing the Earth. Josh Logan had no relationship with God, yet God has chosen him to accomplish mighty things, if Josh chooses to participate.

Resurrect is full of action and rich in scientific and military detail. But I just could not get into this book. I don’t think it is the fault of the book — the writing and characterization are well done. I just think I am not the target audience for it. So while it was not my cup of tea, if you like adrenelin-laced action combined with technology, pick up Resurrect.

(I received a copy of Resurrect from LitFuse in return for an honest review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To read other reviewers’ thoughts, click HERE.


Welcome to the campaign launch for David E. Stevens new Resurrect Trilogy. Resurrect is an apocalyptic thriller based on real world threats from cutting-edge science. A Colorado Gold finalist for Best Action Thriller of the Year, it’s been optioned for a major motion picture by Producer Fred Miller (When Angels Sing starring Harry Connick Jr.).

To celebrate David has teamed up with his publisher, Kregel Publications, for a Kindle Fire Giveaway and Facebook Author Chat Party {12/4}.

One “thrilling” winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire
  • Resurrect by David E. Stevens

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 3rd. Winner will be announced at the “Resurrect” Author Chat Facebook Party on 12/4. Connect with David, get a sneak peek of the next book in the Resurrect Trilogy, try your hand at the trivia contest, and win some great prizes – gift certificates, books and a Book Club Prize Pack to be won (10 copies for your book club or small group)!

So grab your copy of Resurrect and join David on the evening of the December 4th for a chance to connect with David and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book – don’t let that stop you from coming!)


Book Review: Eric’s War: The Cougar And The Lamb

13 Feb

The year is 2075. God has sprinkled his powers on Man, turning the ordinary into extraordinary and the extraordinary into…heroes.

Eric D’Tra’val and Michelle Johnson are two such extraordinary people with incredible mental abilities called psionics. Eric has the ability to move objects using his mind and Michelle hears the thoughts of others.

Eric’s conscious is pricked during a near-death experience forcing him to question his life. As angels work to help him, devils strive to confuse.

Michelle is warned in a dream from God that Eric will be tested and fail, plunging him to evil. Fearing for his soul she works to keep the dream from coming true.

Zahab, one of Satan’s elite, hatches an elaborate scheme to force a confrontation between Eric and his nemesis, McAllistar. His goal is for Eric to kill or be killed. Either way, Zahab wins and Eric will be his. In time, his plotting bears fruit. A final showdown erupts between Eric and McAllistar with the added bonus of Michelle’s life in the balance.

(From the author’s website) —  Kenneth Bliss was born in Michigan and graduated from UM-Flint with degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science. His drive to write for the Lord began in earnest in 2009.  Eric’s War was a finalist in the Westbow Press writing contest of 2010.

Ok, that’s the official blurb from the back cover.  Now, the rest of the story…

I’m a small-town boy born in 1966.  I live in Lansing now and work for a multi-billion dollar company.  I may live in “the big city” (well, it’s not that big, but still bigger than my small town of Ortonville), but I still call that small town I grew up in…home.

I wrote what is now Eric’s War back in 1994-1996.  It was definately a mainstream Sci-fi novel rife with obscenities and other unpleasant situations.  I came to the Lord in 1997 and knew the manuscript would not please Him in the least, so it sat, and sat, collecting dust, and sat some more.

In 2007, the bug to write came back and I decided to convert my manuscript into something that God would appreciate.  I gave some of the characters a Christian background and changed what the entire reason for the main character’s being.  Also, I decided to take the original manuscript and divide it up into three parts.  The beginning became the climax of The Cougar and the Lamb and I wrote more story to explain the lead up to this new climax.

The rest of the manuscript will become the second and third books to the planned trilogy.  I do not know exactly when they will come out, but you will see them in print.

My Impressions:

Eric’s War is a Christian science fiction novel.  Yes, that’s right, the Christian market actually has a variety of genres, not just bonnet and buggy books!  In Eric’s War, Kenneth Bliss brings us the world of the future — a world filled with high tech gadgets, artificial intelligence and superheroes or psions.  Sometime during the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st, men and women began developing mind-bending abilities. Some can alter their physical bodies, others can defy gravity and still others can read minds.  Of course, most of these abilities are used to further the psions’ own goals.  But there are a few dedicated to the greater good; enter Eric.

Eric’s War has another level, though.  There is non-stop action with plenty of special effects (easily imagined even by this non-techie).  There is also a spiritual fight going on.  As in the real world, what we can see is being influenced by what can’t be seen.  God and evil are alive and well in this future world.  And as today, God is definitely in control.

As stated, Eric’s War provides action from beginning to end.  I would have liked a bit more character development — I had trouble connecting with the characters on a personal level.  And a glossary of the psi terms would have been great as well.

If you are a science fiction enthusiast and are looking for a deeper message than usually provided by secular science fiction, take a look at Eric’s War.

(I received a copy of Eric’s War from the author in return for an honest review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)