Wednesday, April 23, 2008

April Christian Science Fiction/Fantasy Blog Tour: The Begotten

When you spend the day swinging a pickax, digging a pit, throwing large chunks of concrete, and hauling 240-pound* segments of rail--by yourself--the last thing you want to do is post to your blog. Fortunately, that's why God created blog tours.

This month's Christian sf tour goes out to The Begotten, book 1 of The Gifted, by Lisa T. Bergren, whose official website is here. Once again, I regret not having read the book for the tour, and I feel it especially deeply this time: the book is set in Medieval Italy and involves the surfacing of some previously unknown writings by a biblical author as well as the appearance of people with superpowers. Appears to be getting excellent reviews. I especially regret having not read it as some reviews indicate it takes a decidedly anti-Catholic stance (and for the record, that's an impression, not a certainty).

Let's take a look-see around the tour:

From Fiction Fanatics Only!:

I have not studied in depth this period of history as it relates to Christianity and Catholicism, but the author obviously builds upon mindsets and power struggles existing during this time period. She sets the stage plainly for a good-and-evil battle of immense proportions. The most poignant point she makes is that “the Church” may not be on God’s side after all, but on the side of darkness. Scary stuff, but so goes the way of religion in history--it’s not all piety and charity.

I found this novel engrossing and very well-conceptualized. The danger was palpable and the reader is put through a wide range of emotions. The author delivered her story through expert character formation, plot, dialogue and conflict to create a thoroughly enjoyable tale. I highly recommend it and have already ordered the next book in the series, The Betrayed. [more...]

From Old Testament Space Opera:

Where that fits on the CSFF blog tour may not be apparent from that, but throw in the lost letters of St Paul, which contain prophecies of the Gifted - people with spiritual gifts on steroids - and you get the link.

Yes, this is part historical fiction, part religious thriller, part alternate history, and part medieval superhero story. All things to all people, you might say.

One thing strikes me as odd here, particularly about the Christian publishing universe. In a Christian novel, it seems, you're not allowed to swear, but rewriting the Bible as we know it is OK. The CBA must be a very odd place. I'd quite like to visit someday, but I don't think I could live there. [more...]

Wait, you're not allowed to swear? Dammit, there goes that publishing possibility.

From The Least Read Blog on the Web:

Once I had finished reading it, I felt a bit dissatisfied, not for any artistic reasons but for theological reasons. If you haven't read the book, might want to leave now. Spoilers and whatnot.


And finally, we have the way the Gifted behave doesn't strike me as real. It almost feels like a group of non-denominational Americans somehow got transported back into 14th century Italy. Bergen did an admirable job of bringing the era alive (although I did have to look up what "handfasting" was); it just seemed odd that a group of 14th century Roman Catholics would abandon almost all the trappings of their worship. [more...]

Ah ha. Now again, I haven't read the book, but this makes me suspect that what we're dealing with is a Protestant fantasy land in which pre-Protestant Catholics by supernatural whatever become enlightened and abandon Catholicism for something that looks suspiciously like the kind of religion a modern American Evangelical would be comfortable with. You know who that reminds me of? Marcus Borg, that's who. Marcus Borg is a warm and fuzzy hippie who re-imagines Jesus as a warm and fuzzy American hippie so Marcus Borg can be comfortable with him. Evangelicals, if you pull this same kind of stunt, you're just as guilty as hell as he is. You don't really want to be like Marcus Borg, do you? If you don't, then don't anachronistically depict American Evangelicals in Medieval Italy. (Man, I wish I'd read this book.)

Your blog tour:

Brandon Barr
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Jackie Castle
Karri Compton
CSFF Blog Tour
Gene Curtis
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Beth Goddard
Marcus Goodyear
Todd Michael Greene
Michael Heald
Christopher Hopper
Joleen Howell
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Mike Lynch
Terri Main
Melissa Meeks
Pamela Morrisson
John W. Otte
Steve Rice
Ashley Rutherford
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Rachelle Sperling
Stuart Stockton
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Robert Treskillard
Laura Williams
Timothy Wise
Karina Fabian

(I'm gonna be sore in the morning.)

*Weight exaggerated.
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