Wednesday 23 November 2022

Leaps of Faith - Edited by Karina & Robert Fabian

Leaps of Faith
Edited by Karina Fabian and Robert Fabian
Twilight Time Books 
ISBN 9781934284100

This book was on my wish list for a long time. It was originally published as an eBook in 2000, then reprinted as a print book in 2008 by The Writers’ Café Press. By the time I went to track it down both were out of print. And hard to find. But it was well worth tracking down.

Religious-themed science fiction is not a new genre, from classics like A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller Jr., to nearly anything from Gene Wolfe. One of the best known collections was edited by Fr. Andrew M. Greeley called Sacred Visions. Yet this new volume of 14 short stories in the genre of Christian or Catholic Science Fiction is a treat for the fan of the genre. The authors tackle themes of morality, science, and the role of religion in humanity's future in new and engaging ways.

This was the first anthology edited by the Fabian’s, the other two are:

All three are excellent collections, and I cannot but hope the two release other anthologies in the future. The description of this collection is:

“Leaps of Faith is an anthology of inspirational science fiction. The 15 short stories cover the entire spectrum of the genre, from time travel to space exploration; hard sci-fi to alien encounters. For the first time in print, Leaps of Faith was originally published as an e-book that was a 2004 EPPIE award finalist. The talented group of authors come from backgrounds as varied as the stories: a rocket scientist, a Lt. Col.(USAF), professors of English and Physics, a minister, and a 5-time EPPIE winner. The stories in Leaps of Faith strive to show the positive relationship between science and religion and were compiled by the talented Karina and Robert Fabian.”

The contributors in order of appearance are:

Alex Lobdell
Frank C. Gunderloy, Jr.
Peter Bell
Vincent Malzahn
Michael S. Poteet

The stories are:

High Hopes for the Dead
The Smile
Comprehending it Not
Moses Disposes
The Faith Equation
Tampering with God’s Time
Quantum Express
God’s Gift
The Relics of Venice
The Convert
Leap of Faith
Sometimes We Lie
Lost Rythar

Prior to the stores are the following sections:

From the Publisher’s Desktop
Forward – Dr. Simon Morden
Introduction – Karina and Robert Fabian

The beginning of the introduction to the second edition states:

“When Rob and I put this book together back in 2000, it was, in part, an expression of our frustration at the lack of quality Christian science fiction, or just science fiction that acknowledged Christian faith and values. As readers, we didn’t want lectures, whether evangelization disguised as plot or the portrayal of a perfect world that has embraced God. Faith is more complicated—and more interesting—than that.

Apparently, we were not alone. Writers of all areas of speculative fiction—sci-fi, fantasy and horror—have also felt disgruntled about the limited number of publishers willing to take a chance on such genres bearing a Christian message, or willing to reflect a universe created by and inhabited by the God of the Bible. Like us, they went out and did something about it.

It’s only been eight years—six since Leaps of Faith was published as an e-book by FrancisIsidore press—but in that time, the genre/ subgenre/ ideal of Christian speculative fiction has blossomed.

Small press publishers, like The Writers’ Café Press, Idylls Press, and Marcher Lord Press (launching in October) specialize in Christian speculative fiction. These publishers see an unfulfilled need and are striving to fill it. Likewise, we’re seeing a growth in magazines, particularly e-zines that are specializing in Christian spec fic.”

At the writing of this review it is now 22 years since the first publication of this volume, and 14 since the print edition was released. I consider it a great loss that this volume is no longer available as I know many readers who would enjoy it. In part because the stories are excellent. And in part because some of the authors have much larger followings now and these early stories can be lost in time. These stories are full of faith, they are engaging and they are fun. I have read stories by a few of the contributors previously. And a few were my first encounter with the author. Three stories that stood out in particular for me were:

The Faith Equation - Peter Bell
The Relics of Venice - Leslie Brown
Sometimes We Lie -Barton Levenson

The first deals with Faith when it is not faith but science fact. The second with a skeptic, a priest, and a devoted young man, including a very surprising twist at the end. And the third with the most alien of creatures and cultures and their encounter with the gospel. 

But even with those stand out stories I can state there is not a bad story in the collection. And it is a volume I will likely return to in a few months and give another read. And I am now on the hunt for books or other stories from a couple of the authors I had not encountered previously. 

This collection will be a treat to any fan of Science Fiction, fans of Christian or Catholic Science Fiction, or just someone interested in the questions of spirituality and our future as we move forward through the millennium. This is an excellent anthology. If you can track down a copy, I encourage you to do so for it is an excellent read!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan!

Dex Hollister Series:

The Old Man and the Void
Dex's Way

Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator Series :
Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator
I Left My Brains in San Francisco
Shambling in a Winter Wonderland

DragonEye PI Series:
DragonEye PI Novels:
?.0 Magic, Mensa and Mayhem (Revised edition)
?.0 Live and Let Fly (Revised edition)

DragonEye PI Short Stories:

DragonEye PI Original First Editions:
Live and Let Fly

Space Traipse Series:
Space Traipse: Hold My Beer, Season 1
Space Traipse: Hold My Beer, Season 2
Space Traipse: Hold My Beer, Season 3
Space Traipse Stories

Mind Over Series:
Mind Over Mind
Mind Over Psyche
Mind Over All
Hearts Over Mind

Edited by: Karina Fabian:
Infinite Space, Infinite God I
Leaps of Faith
Infinite Space, Infinite God II

Contributed to:
Firestorm of Dragons
The Zombie Cookbook
The Book of Tentacles
Twisted Fayrie Tales
FRIGHTLINER: And Other Tales of the Undead
Mother Goose is Dead
Word by Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary
Image and Likeness Literary Reflections on the Theology of the Body
Corrupts Absolutely? Dark Metahuman Fiction
Weird Noir
The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal Novels
Manifesto UF
Avenir Eclectia
Planetary Anthology: Jupiter
Planetary Anthology: Pluto
Planetary Anthology: Luna
Planetary Anthology: Uranus
FlagShip Science Fiction and Fantasy v2i5
My Little Book of Headdesks
To Be Men: Stories Celebrating Masculinity

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