Tag Archives: christian science fiction

Gateway to Gannah: Words in the Wind by Yvonne Anderson

Words in the Wind, Book 2 in the Gateway to Gannah series, by Yvonne Anderson
Published 2012 by Risen Books
Genre: Christian science fiction, suitable for teens and up, featuring a strong faith element

This book is the sequel to The Story in the Stars, Gateway to Gannah Book 1, which I reviewed earlier. About 12 years after the end of the first book, the second book opens to show us Dassa and Pik married and parents of two children, heading a settlement of a thousand “earthers” who are attempting to begin to repopulate Gannah. (Dassa is the only native of Gannah who is alive, the sole survivor of a plague, and therefore is the toqueph or ruler of Gannah.)

Dassa is returning from a mission elsewhere, and she’s in an aircraft in a storm. As things go horribly wrong, she realizes the folly of the way she has been living lately, relying on herself rather than the Yasha, the benevolent creator of the universe who longs for her prayers.

Dassa survives the crash but finds herself stripped of the telepathic communication that links her to her children and to the animals of Gannah. She’s also unable to hear. Her arm is broken, she’s caught without a coat in the beginning of an arctic winter. Can she trust the Yasha to take care of her?

Meanwhile Pik, the doctor who was once her worst enemy and who came to love her, is struggling with a host of problems in her absence. Some of the settlers are rebellious. So is his little daughter, whom he just wants to spoil. The sentient animals of Gannah seek to resume their deadly war against humans, but only Dassa can deal with them.

He wants to go and look for Dassa, but his responsibilities and technical problems prevent that. Can he too trust the Yasha to take care of Dassa and provide what he needs?

What do I think?

I enjoyed Yvonne Anderson’s richly drawn characters, her gripping story style, and especially the faith message, which I found very satisfying. The book contains story arcs that begin and end with this book, but it also contains story arcs that aren’t tied up neatly. So, I’ll be looking forward to reading the next book to find out what happened!

Read my reviews of this series:

Book 1

Book 2

Book 3

Book 4

The Story in the Stars by Yvonne Anderson, a review

The Story in the Stars, Gateway to Gannah #1, by Yvonne Anderson
Published 2011 by Risen Books (D&D Books, LLC)
Genre: Christian Sci-Fi/Fantasy, suitable for teens and adults

Dassa nears the end of the challenges required for becoming an elite warrior, a Nasi. She’s been out in the woods fasting by herself, traveling impossible distances and fending off deadly wild animals, for a couple of weeks. Now it’s time to finish the quest. She drops by her deserted home, makes preparations, and heads for the capital city and her father, the king of the planet Gannah. But what she finds when she gets there more than horrifies her.

A virulent plague has struck in her absence. Soon she is the only living human on Gannah. She gets sick too.

Dr. Pik answers her interplanetary distress call, arriving two weeks later to save her from the virus. Problem is, this is the last place he wants to be. His planet, Karkar, had been devastated by Gannah long before. He’d like to see every last Gannahan dead, including Dassa.

Debut author Yvonne Anderson pulls a great story from this conflict, full of unexpected twists and turns. Her characters show us their emotions and draw us right into the tightly plotted tale. There’s a strong underlying faith message. It’s not at all a typical sci-fi story, which might emphasize the techno gee-whiz stuff. Instead, this story revolves around its characters.

What do I like most about this book? The character of Dr. Pik. He is amazingly different from the earnest, emotional Dassa. He’s funny-looking, tall and thin with hair like straw, wearing makeup according to the custom of his people. His response to adversity? Complaining. His attitude toward others? Superiority. Heck, he can’t even smile–he doesn’t have the facial muscles. Instead, he and others from Karkar twiddle their ears to express emotion. So, how is that endearing? Read the book and find out! This book is first in a series, and I’m very interested in reading the rest.

Find out more at Yvonne Anderson’s blog.

Read my reviews of this series:

Book 1

Book 2

Book 3

Book 4

Earth Is Not Alone by John Knapp II, a Review

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Earth Is Not Alone by John Knapp II
(Emryss Chronicles)
Published 2009 by Ephemeron Press (self-published), 496 pages
Genre: Christian sci/fi, young adult (and up)

This book entwines two story threads which appear to be unrelated. But I am guessing that, in sequels, we will find out that they are in fact related.

Here’s one story thread:  in a future year, an electromagnetic pulse attack from an unknown source knocks out all computer-chipped electronics, which encompasses virtually all things electrical. America descends into a dark age. In the “Susquehannah Territory,” 25 miles by 18 miles in Pennsylvania, citizens form a government and erect a wall around the territory to keep the refugees from the big cities from overwhelming them. Barter is the mode of life.  Kerosene lamps are back in use. There are no telephones. Any electricity comes from generators, and is sparingly used.  We wonder: who did it? why? and is it permanent?

Here’s the other: It is one year after the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) disaster. Triana, the future valedictorian of a high school in Susquehannah Territory, is accused of cheating along with Michael, a friend.

Both of them have turned in folklore papers dealing with the same family–on another planet. Were they in cahoots? No, they say.

As the teacher’s investigation proceeds, we begin to guess that Triana came from this other planet. This is Emryss, the setting of the two tales.

Much of the book is taken up by the telling of the two tales. These provide background information on what appears to be Triana’s family on Emryss, and a reason for her presence on Earth. These tales — actually one long tale — are full of action and hard to put down, as is much of the book. It’s definitely Christian. Jesus Christ is present on other worlds where he is called the God-son.

What do I think?

This book is unorthodox in its presentation. The information on the EMP disaster is conveyed using letters and news articles (an old device, actually). Then the book switches to narrative mode when picking up the cheating accusation story. In the narrative mode, the author does a fine job, using plenty of dialog and action and developing his characters. The two tales are particularly enjoyable.

However, there is a bit of disconnect between what the two tales are said to be–a history written down by someone for later generations–and what they sound like.  They sound like a regular novel narrative. I think they should sound more like a folktale, to be more believable.

That said, the narrative style is definitely conducive to creating a story that is hard to put down, which this is.  Some of it definitely reminds me of Indiana Jones movies.

The characters spend quite a bit of time on detective work using numbers (numbers of weeks, numbers of years) found in the tales.  There’s also some technical info on the electro-magnetic pulse, and a discussion of how the Lord would send his Son to save people on other planets. Once on Earth for all? Or simultaneously on all the inhabited planets?  So the book has more of a sci-fi feel to it.

Unlike nearly all other self-published novels I have read, this one has no typos, confusing wording, or grammar glitches. Knapp is clearly a professional.

Want to speculate about other worlds and how God would save them? Want to read good science fiction with a solid Christian basis? Then this book is for you. –Phyllis Wheeler

Arana’s Visitor by Julie Rollins, a Review

Arana’s Visitor by Julie Rollins, a review
Book 1 of the Vadelah Chronicles
Self-published in 2005, 288 pages

Worldview: Christian. This book will appeal mostly to Christians.

David Decker, a college student, and his roommate Todd are driving on a country road one night when they see a red-hot plane make an emergency landing.  On a hunch, they rescue the pilot, an alien, hide him from authorities at a roadblock, and take him home.

At first they don’t trust him. But they decide to shelter him from bad guys in the government who know of the crash and are looking for the alien. This is Gyra, a very intelligent being who looks a lot like a bird and has both wings and arms.
Once the bad guys figure out who is sheltering Gyra, David and Todd take Gyra and leave town.They teach Gyra English and disguise him as a man in a chicken costume advertising a local restaurant, a scenario with comic moments. At the same time, David, a Christian, witnesses to Gyra and shows him his Bible. Gyra is
captivated.

David and Todd help Gyra get the metals he needs to repair his ship. In Gyra’s hair-raising escape, David on the spur of the moment decides to come along, because Gyra is injured.  And so in a switcheroo, David becomes the alien on Gyra’s planet Arana learning Gyra’s language. Gyra is out of the picture, in a coma from his injuries, and so Gyra’s people suspect David of having hurt Gyra.

David learns that his home planet is the first place that the Lord made life, but not the last.  These gentle bird-aliens have sophisticated space travel but fear Earth and have marked it off-limits because of the evil that comes from there.  Naturally they suspect David of being evil too. But they are looking for fulfillment of a prophecy involving someone bringing news from Earth.

This book is very well told and well edited. The pacing is good. Rollins is able to grab your emotions and tell a tale of good and evil on a galactic scale. I really enjoyed reading it. You will too.–Phyllis Wheeler

Rollins has written more books in this series, so she is currently making this first one available for free download on her Web site, www.JulieRollins.com.