A boy from the civilized City of Women chooses to follow his visionary father to the harsh life of the desert.
The story begins with the Oversoul, a go...moreA boy from the civilized City of Women chooses to follow his visionary father to the harsh life of the desert.
The story begins with the Oversoul, a god-like ancient computer with a problem: it is old, and losing influence over the people of the planet Harmony. It wants to consult with the distant and mysterious Keeper of Earth. But to do that it will need human help.
The boy Nafai lives in the peaceful and civilized city of Basilica. Or, he lives outside the city in his father's house, since no man may spend the night in Basilica unless he is married to a woman of the city.
Nafai is the youngest of the four sons of his father, Volemak (also called Wetchik), and also the youngest of the four children (two boys, two girls) of his mother Rasa. The family confusion is caused by the fact that in Basilica, all marriages are temporary, and must be renewed each year. Volemak and Rasa were married, did not renew, Rasa married another man and had two daughters, and finally Volemak and Rasa married again.
Nafai's father Volemak had a dream of a great danger to the city of Basilica. It is determined that it was not a common dream, but a dream sent by the Oversoul, who is regarded as a god. The dream causes Volemak to prepare to leave Basilica with his sons, and go into the desert.
Nafai and his disabled brother Issib discover that the Oversoul is doing strange things to people. Certain words for dangerous things--- like weapons and transportation technology--- are being hidden by the Oversoul. To hear these words make people stupid and forgetful. The Oversoul does this to limit technology which might be used in a war. But one of those forbidden words, the word for war wagon, has now become common as people of Basilica become involved in a plot over war wagons from a neighboring power. Volemak argues against this and makes enemies.
Volemak narrowly escapes assassination, but manages to leave the city. Once out in the desert, he decides he needs a device called the Index, and he sends his sons to get it. Elemak, the eldest son, thinks his father is foolish, but the four brothers go anyway.
This journey brings great challenges to Nafai, who is faithful to his father and believes in his father's dreams. As one sensitive to the Oversoul, he is particularly challenged when the Oversoul commands him to do something he feels is morally unthinkable.
I have loved this book since I first read it, and I re-read it often, as I enjoy spending time with Nafai, Rasa, Luet the child waterseer, and the other characters of the book.
Content concerns: None, really. Author Card does not feel the need to put his characters' sex lives on-screen, or to use four-letter words. I should point out, however, that Orson Scott Card is a member of the LDS (Mormon) church, and the storyline of this whole series is based on events in the Book of Mormon. Nafai, for example, is Nephi of the Book of Nephi. As a Catholic I don't happen to believe the Book of Mormon is part of the scriptures. But I don't think the storyline parallel is a problem. Most of the book involves things like the god-like computer and Basilica, the city of women, things that are in no way part of LDS doctrine.
Cat and Mouse is a 1959 published sci-fi short story, 11,344 words / 38 pages in length. The main character is a canny old Alaskan trapper, Ed Brown w...moreCat and Mouse is a 1959 published sci-fi short story, 11,344 words / 38 pages in length. The main character is a canny old Alaskan trapper, Ed Brown who arrives at his remote cabin for a season of work only to discover a mysterious gate into another world.
As it turns out, there is a dangerous life form on the other side of the gate. The story hinges on the conflict between this deadly life form and Ed. Ed does not know it, but the guardian of the world on which the dangerous life form resides has opened the gate specifically because there is something on Ed's world that can put paid to the menace.
The questions that keep us on the edge of our seat for this story are these: What is it that the guardian had in mind, and was he right that it could deal with the deadly creature?
The author of the work was a native Alaskan, so he knew his setting. This short story was nominated for a Hugo award.
Content issues: I find that not only is that is this a great adventure yarn, it is also a suitable read for Christians of all ages. There is no sinful content or ideological agenda you need to worry about if your kids want to read it.
It is available for free on ManyBooks.net in many ebook formats and can be read on your Kindle, Palm Pilot or your home computer. Download now--- resistance is futile!(less)
This is the story of Hannah, a girl with temporal autism, a futur-y version of the sort of autism spectrum disorders people have now. She sees the wor...moreThis is the story of Hannah, a girl with temporal autism, a futur-y version of the sort of autism spectrum disorders people have now. She sees the world in a different way, and seems to have a different sense of time than those around her.
Her parents are faced with a decision. If they try an experimental treatment on their daughter, she will likely be able to lead a normal life, but her special abilities will be gone. If they do nothing, there is a chance she will someday be considered brilliant--- but a much greater chance that she will never be able to function as a normal person or live outside an institution.
Hannah understands what her parents are talking about, and in time decides what it is she wants, but the question is, will she find the words to let her parents know?
As a person with an autism spectrum disorder (Asperger Syndrome) I found this to be a very compelling symbolic picture of what life is like for people like me. I'm grateful to the author Nancy Fulda for writing it, and for author Mike Duran for interviewing Nancy Fulda on his blog so I was able to find out about it.(less)
"Aw, darn!" I thought when I looked up the description of this book, featured on the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy blog tour. "It's one of tho...more"Aw, darn!" I thought when I looked up the description of this book, featured on the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy blog tour. "It's one of those suspense/thriller books we have to read since there is not enough Christian sci-fi available." And that and the too-high Kindle price were almost enough to put me off from buying the book. But since I wanted something new to read and the upcoming Charlaine Harris book wasn't out yet, I bought it anyway.
And was I ever glad! Forget what you've been told. 'Beckon' is sci-fi. It's very much like classic Earth-based sci-fi in the old pulps (I've been reading some of those in free ebook form from manybooks.net). The creepy caves in the early part of the story could well have been caves on another planet.
The idea of a method to prolong human life indefinitely, and the consequences of it, are also sci-fi fare. Pawlik handles the theme well.
The Christian bits are not intrusive or preachy. There are characters that happen to be Christians and act like it. Others turn to God and prayer in reaction to some of the threats they are facing. Readers who don't share the Christian faith won't find the Christian material extensive enough to be off-putting.
Pawlik takes certain risks in his storytelling. He starts us off with one character, the Indiana Jones-like Jack Kendrick (who is a black man). He leaves Jack in great peril to take up with a new viewpoint character, Elina Gutierrez, a cop looking for her missing cousin. He then leaves her in peril, and we get a third viewpoint character, George Wilcox. After a bit of following George, the three stories come together.
The risk in this is that the reader will not follow the new characters. I've read a book or two that shifts back and forth between two characters, in which I did not care for the second character and his story and, on re-reads, I simply skip those chapters. Pawlik leaves his initial character be for a lot longer than one chapter, and yet the adventure is so compelling I kept on going through the stories of Elina and George.
Catholic concerns: As this is a fast-paced adventure story there is not a lot of time for theological issues to be raised, and so there are no doctrines put forth that, from a Catholic point of view, would be considered in error.
There is also no specific mention of Catholics, and so no chance that something might be said to which Catholics might take exception. The Latina character, Elina, has a father who is said to be a 'Christian'. In this case, we might read 'Christian' as 'possibly Catholic'.
Please don't take this 'Catholic concerns' section as a recommendation that Catholics ought read no fiction that contains other than pure Catholic doctrine. I myself read fiction by Evangelicals, LDS Christians, Lutherans, Jews, Pagans and secularists. I give this just as points of information for the curious reader. (less)