Infinite God II - Review
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Fabian, Karina & Rob, editors.
(2010) Infinite Space, Infinite God II.
Kingsport, TN: Paladin Timeless Books, an imprint of
Twilight Times Books. Author recommended age: teens.
Litland.com recommended age: 15+ with Parental caution
for the final story, Dyads.
Twelve science fiction stories featuring great adventure
with a twist of faith. Infinite Space, Infinite God II
spans the gamut of science fiction, from near-future
dystopias to time travel to space opera, puzzles of
logic to laugh-out-loud humor and against-the-clock
suspense. A great read for any science fiction fan; a
must-read for those seeking something new in their
Respect for self and others: This
includes integrity (adherence to a code of
conduct or value system), honesty vs. manipulation or
lying, compassion, caring for others (characters not
focused on getting their way no matter what) self
respect--main character does not let others
denigrate him or her; use of self control and
self-discipline ; taking charge of own behaviour;
fairness to others (such as taking turns and
avoiding the blame game). Reader should ask themselves
“How does the protagonist depict their peers?” “Would
you want others to treat you this way? Should everyone
act this way?” This includes true friendships
that do not involve regular lying, deceit or
manipulation; considering consequences of actions
prior to acting; owning up to responsibility once
an action has been taken.
Robert/Cassius’ self-talk demonstrates the struggle
keeping his prophetic-like knowledge of the future
tragedy from his new-found friends; his innate need to
fuel this friendship with honesty creates the tension.
Contrast to Sr. Rita’s far from perfect attitude that
emanates from her own need to grow out of self-doubt and
grow in to self-love, knowing comparing herself to
others in envy just fuels the feeling of awkwardness.
There is also selflessness in Antivenin, risking life
and limb (and overcoming phobias) to rescue others
rather than presume they are dead. Meanwhile, Sr. Julian
in story 3 rationally evaluates religions without
judgement or disparaging them, and demonstrates
respectful discourse with others of very different
beliefs. This list goes on; respect for self and others
is demonstrated throughout.
Portrayal of Authority
figures: The positive portrayal of parents, teachers, police officers and other “good” authority figures common in a child’s life is a positive influence upon the child’s own moral development. This includes
actively-parenting mother and father figures. Minimization of parental involvement in the character’s activities or the portrayal of authority figures as
inferior present poor role models. Also to be avoided are main characters that
deceive parents and teachers to accomplish goals, and overuse
sarcasm towards authority figures. Ask yourself “Are parents seen as positive or negative influence in the character's life?”
The Catholic authority
hierarchy properly portrayed in each story, whether of
the Vatican and diocesan structure, or religious orders.
Family hierarchy and traditional parenting leading to a
loving family life portrayed well in Ghosts of
Kourion...Cassius envies Petronius for having the things
that matter most in life: wife, child and contentment.
In Cloned to Kill, Lorraine (the clone) has difficulty
with the self-control programmed into her but overcomes
it with belief and inner strength, then respecting the
priest and turning from her maniacal creator. No stories
portray authorities as bumbling fools or in a negative
light; all imply a purpose and need to obedience.
Patriotism: Loyalty to family, team or group, school, community and world; caring for and being considerate of these
groups. Pride to be part of that group or nationality.
see in Ghosts of Kourion that, although his wife and
daughter died 3 years back, they remain with
Robert/Cassius as his family. He remains committed and
turns down offer to take another bride. Contrast this
with the family of religious order Our Lady of Rescue
for Sr. Rita, whose higher calling results in solid
teamwork and loyalty to being a Rescue Sister as if they
were space-aged Marines. Or Sr. Julian who, in
undermining the logic of the aliens, demonstrates their
religion to view all living creatures as part of the
extended family to be cared for. Aliens too have pride
in their “nationality”
Justice and Balance: A just distribution between good and evil (with
good outweighing evil in the presence of the storyline);
demonstration of right and wrong; making decisions to enact the above values rather than simply choosing from two bad possibilities; Ask yourself “Is the emphasis on the positive elements or negative?”
Stories such as Ghosts of
Kourion presume right and wrong, so the character
defaults to acting out of good conscience. Reinforced
with insights such as “only a monster would allow people
to go blindly to their doom”, these stories strongly
contradict the culture facing families today in which
more and more society legislates rights that inhibit the
well being of its citizens. The stories provide a much
needed reminder of what it means to be human, including
the existence of moral absolutes and that people hold
Other stories also illuminate evil when it hides under a
false front, such as the cult-like snake handler, taking
advantage of people’s faith, in Antivenin. Or Sr.
Julian’s ethic of always choosing to save lives,
compared to the aliens who do not use that as a basis
for decisions. Throughout the book, good vs. evil is
extremely clear. Characters choose for the good and are
ready to “own up” to possible bad choices.
Aesthetic aspects Of
life ExperienceLook for a storyline portrayal of
beauty, health, and selfless love vs. hedonistic behaviours (sexuality, selfishness, obsessiveness, materialism),
profanity, gore and violence. Are nature and environment respected or exploited? Look for
dark elements; watch out for humor that is negative, denigrates others excessively, uses metaphors to
denigrate the sacred.
The value of a collection
of stories is the wide variety of settings. From Ghosts
of Kourion, with culturally-rich self-talk describing
the ancient Roman empire, to Antivenin with its subtle
nuances distinguishing those who learned to walk on
earth vs. those who have always lived in outer space, it
is easy for the reader to feel part of the story.
Realistically portraying the transition of Rome from a
culture of paganism to one of Christianity, the
awkwardness of complex space gear for Sr. Rita, the
emotional torment of a droid or a clone; all stories are
deep in description placing us into the middle of each
scene. We also feel the emotions of characters, such as
in Ghosts of Kourin with the objective scientist Robert
cascading emotionally as he (as Cassius) grows attached
to his Roman friends. After a heavy, thought provoking
story such as Cathedral we are taken through one of
light humour, such as a human clone making fun of the
national hockey team in Cloned to Kill. Thus the variety
is excellent and propels the reader throughout the book.
Other things to
Consider:Other aspects of this book of interest or importance. For example, does it portray Wiccan practices and accurate use of tools of which some parents might object, does it contain
hidden meanings in metaphors that may prove offensive to some families; does it address
personal issues such as puberty or pregnancy.
We are what we read.
Stories shape our knowledge of the world, our
understanding of one another, and challenge us to
critically think through our own existence. ISIGII is an
intellectually stimulating collection of sci-fi,
although it broaches subjects that may not be
appropriate for younger advanced readers. As expected
from a mix of authors and backgrounds, some stories have
a few cuss words. Otherworld explores hedonism in the
virtual world and answers the question “so what” with a
solid explanation that sin is sin, whether in the real
or virtual world. An important lesson for teens and
adults to learn today. Meanwhile, a main theme in the
story Tin Servants is the sexual abuse of very
human-like female droids as sex slaves. Issues in all
stories are brought to conclusion with a strong moral
conclusion, confirming right vs. wrong and good vs.
The exception would be
the final story, Dyads, for which no underlying virtue
or character trait made itself known upon review. It is
based upon a religious assumption that God reveals
himself differently to different species, as needed for
them to understand Him. “the Jesuit explanation of how
the Eternal Dance and his (Christian) Trinity were one
and the same, only we use the image of Husband and Wife
instead of Father and Son.” God and Mary are married,
and the Eternal dance replaces the Holy Spirit. This is
a concern as teens already are in a
psychological/cognitive state of vulnerability,
impressionability. Conditioned by our real society
towards fulfilling all hedonistic desires and under
pressure to accept any beliefs and ideals under the
guise of a false sense of tolerance, the mindset of the
young adult reader today can be easily swayed into
following diluted faith, faulty logic, and new age
beliefs. In a culture that is in a great state of
confusion, we instead need stories that add clarity
through metaphor and analogy, and bring confusion
together to a strong moral conclusion. The first 11
stories in this anthology do this quite well. Parents
are advised to take Dyads under consideration.
Stories included (with
their primary virtue or character trait expressed):
The Ghosts of Kourion –
compassion and conscientiousness
Antivenin –loyalty &
An Exercise in Logic –
respect for others
Cathedral -- Truth
Otherworld – Right vs.
The Battle of the
Tenniel -- Contrition
Tin Servants -- Patience
Basilica -- Good vs.
Cloned to Kill --
Frankie Phones Home --
So what do YOU think? Read our thoughts on the book and join in the discussion:
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