Thursday, January 19, 2017

Reader's Review: "Countless As The Stars" by Steve Trower

Synopsis from Amazon:

What if the events of the Bible happened not in the distant past, but some time in the future?
What if instant communication, computers and space travel were commonplace?
What if instead of shepherds in the Middle East, the Patriarchs were space travelers, colonists eking out an existence on a barren world many light years from home?
How would God’s story have been played out in such a world?
In Countless as the Stars, that story begins, taking themes and events from the book of Genesis and re-tells them in a fictional galaxy, giving them a sci-fi twist… 


My Review: 

As a Christian, growing up I read a lot of the classic "good girl" novels growing up, the stuff that passed for Christian fiction--and I grew rather disenchanted with it, because it all seemed to follow the same kind of sanctimonious, milk-toasty, pastel-hued theme that I honestly didn't find at all alluring, much less relevant. Even the Christian fiction intended for adults seemed to follow the same generic theme, the same tired formula. That relevance is what frustrated me the most; why does Christian fiction always "have" to be about romance, or pale-faced orphans overpowering cruel adults with their meekness? Even in trying to develop my own series of "updated Bible stories", the one thing I wanted to preserve was the cultural and spiritual relevance. Because if it's not actually relevant, how then can it be useful?

In the four years since I started putting reviews on my blog, I have had the good fortune to discover several Christian authors whose Bible-centered works I thoroughly enjoyed, because they balanced the principles and God-honoring message with some excellent genre-fiction storytelling.

I am pleased to share with you another excellent specimen! Countless As The Stars tells the story of Abraham--but "updated" and "re-set" far into the ever-popular "terraformed galaxy" of the future. The names are changed, some of the circumstances are adjusted slightly to fit the new setting, but those who are familiar with the original story will recognize just about everyone. For those who don't know the story that inspired this book? It's just a fun, quick, fascinating sci-fi adventure, similar in style to classic sci-fi authors like Isaac Asimov (A favorite of mine). Once I had read far enough to get oriented with the characters and the setting, I quickly fell right into the story and I couldn't stop reading! I thoroughly enjoyed the way it didn't feel like a "Bible re-enactment", but a story, plain and simple, of a young man thrust into an impossible situation, his wife, his pilot, and a whole ship full of people with very little idea of the destiny intended for them. The interactions and quips made the characters spring to life, and the vivid settings set my imagination spinning!

I would whole-heartedly give Countless As The Stars a *****5 STAR***** rating, and add to that an Upstream Writer Certified DEFINITELY RECOMMENDED.  If you're at all interested in re-tellings of Bible stories or fairy tales, and you're looking for something quick and inspirational as well as entertaining and imaginative, certainly check this one out! Here's hoping that this is only the beginning of a whole series!

Further Reading: (Fiction by Christian Authors/Christian-based Fiction)

-For None of Woman Born--S. D. Curran (sci-fi thriller)
The Alexander Legacy--Sophronia Belle Lyon (steampunk)
       -A Dodge, A Twist, and A Tobacconist
       -The Pinocchio Factor
-Thimblerig's Ark--Nate Fleming (the story of Noah told with anthropomorphic animals)
-Out of Darkness Rising--Gillian Bronte Adams (fantasy)
The Therian Way--Kimberly Rogers (urban fantasy)
       -Leopard's Heart
       -Wolf's Path
-Sanctuary--Pauline Creeden (horror)
-Abiding Flame--Pauline Creeden (supernatural sci-fi)
Becoming Nikki--Ashley Elliott (general fiction) 

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