By Jean M. Heimann
I have to admit that while I enjoy watching science fiction films, I am not an avid reader of science fiction books, but I definitely enjoyed reading Discovery by Karina Fabian. In fact, I loved it! It is authentically Catholic – complete with saint quotes and filled with Catholic themes. Some of these themes include: mercy and redemption, evangelization, respect for human life, and surrender to God’s will.
Discovery is a gripping, suspense-filled science fiction tale that takes you on a journey into the unknown and the unexpected. It is an irresistible page turner! It grabs you by both arms and doesn't let go until the last page. Discovery is an exhilarating, fun-filled read that contains all the makings of a great book. It has a titillating plot, complex characters, humor, mystery, and romance.
The plot of Discovery is intriguing. The Rescue Sisters, Sister Ann St. Joseph de Cupertino (Ann), Sister Thomas Aquinas Krueger (Tommie), and Sister Rita Aguilar (Rita) are part of a classified mission to explore an alien ship that has crash landed on an asteroid three billion miles from earth. The entire crew is expecting to have contact for the first time with creatures from beyond the solar system to unlock the mystery of life in the universe. However, they have their own secrets; hidden fears, desires, serious sins…and a mission to kill. Researchers discover something unique about the third arm of the ship: something wonderful, terrifying, and at the same time, holy. This secret discovery challenges Rita and Ann to confront their own pasts in order to secure the safety of the mission and the very souls of the crew.
Augustus laughed and put a friendly arm around James' shoulder, leading him down to the ship's offices. He said nothing more until they got to the conference room. He held the door open for James, and when they had stepped through, announced, "Gentlemen, I'd like you to meet Dr. James Smith. He thinks I want him to find Atlantis."
Two men sat at the table. The younger dressed in jeans and a gray collared shirt with the Luna Technological University logo over the pocket; his mousy brown hair and pale brown eyes combined with a tense, nervous posture reminded James of many worried grad students he had known. The older, a fifty-something man dressed in a similar shirt but with tweed pants, nodded James' way. His relaxed full-throated chuckle was for Cole's benefit.
Augustus continued, "James, this is Dr. William Thoren, Dean of Astrophysics at LunaTech, and this is Chris Davidson." "My protégé," Thoren added when Augustus paused.
The entrepreneur's eyes flicked in annoyance. He hated having his dramatic moments spoiled. Nonetheless, he continued on as if the dean had not spoken. "Chris has been working on a rather uninspiring project for his doctorate that has had a surprising result. But wait!"
With that impish grin, he reached into his pockets and pulled out four small devices, which he set at four points of the room. When he pressed the remote in his hand, they heard a brief hum, then a shimmery fog formed a dome over them. No one outside the dome would be able to hear them and would only see vague shapes.
Scientists from the moon? Security fields? Well, if Augustus wants my attention, he's got it. James took a seat at the table, and cocked a brow at Augustus. "So you've found the Lost City of Atlantis in space?"
"Close, my friend. Close. Chris?"
Chris gave a brief glance at his supervisor, and Thoren nodded in a benign, "carry on." He pulled out a handheld computer, set it on the small table, and pressed some buttons. A holographic map of the solar system from the Sun to the asteroid belt appeared, beautifully detailed and large enough that James had to sit back a bit.
"Sir, are you familiar with the Kuiper Belt?" Chris asked.
James shrugged. What's going on? "Ky-per Belt? That's not like the asteroid belt?"
"This is the asteroid belt." Chris set his finger on the thin line of rocks just past Mars' orbit. He slowly pulled his finger toward himself. As he did, planets rushed past James' field of vision: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto. A moment of black space, then the image stopped at a smattering of dots of various sizes.
"This is the Kuiper Belt. K-U-I-P-E-R, even though it’s pronounced ‘Kyper.’ It's really just the rubble left over from the formation of the solar system. Most of it isn't even rock, but ice. Comets come from here. We don't hear much about it because the distances even from the Outer Planets mean it's not really cost effective to live or work there. And since the commercialization of space, most people don't even care…"
"Excuse me, Chris, but why am I getting an astronomy lesson?"
The entrepreneur grinned. "Give him a minute." He jerked his head encouragingly at the grad student, who gave him a shy smile in return.
From the corner of his eye, James saw Thoren glower; then, the expression was smoothed away.
Chris didn't notice. "Okay, the last time anyone has bothered to explore the Kuiper Belt was with the Seeker Probe of 2215. The American President, Linda Montero-Fadil, pretty much pushed it through on personality and stubbornness, but they called it Fadil's Folly…” Thoren cleared his throat.
"Anyway!" Chris started, then floundered a moment, his train of thought derailed. He took a breath, touched an area of the map with two fingers and pulled it apart, expanding that area. He did it again and again, then rotated it and circled an object with a dark center. The rest of the map fell away.
"This is 2217RB86. Seeker did a flyby of it and its neighboring objects. That's what you call, um, objects in the Kuiper Belt. Or Ky-boes. That's what we call them at the university. So, this Ky-bo caught my attention because it's got some very unusual readings, especially around this dark dot... I won't bore you with the details. The point is, Dr. Thoren was able to get us some time on Old COOT — that's a telescope on L5 Station - and um…" He stopped to glance around, as if making sure the security field was still in place. Then he pressed another button and pulled up a different, sharper image of the Ky-bo.
"We found this."
"Oh, my." James leaned forward, his nose only inches from the image. The dark circle had resolved into six crescent arms jutting from a sphere. One arm was partially dug into the rock.
"He didn't find Atlantis," Augustus smirked.
No, he didn't.
Chris Davidson had discovered an alien starship.
Discovery is currently available on Kindle but will be available in paperback on October 1.
FREE BOOK!! Author Karina Fabian is giving away a copy of Infinite Space, Infinite God II. Leave a comment before October 1 to be entered!
Today I have the honor and pleasure of interviewing the gifted author of Discovery, Karina Fabian.
Where did you get the idea to write about “nuns in space”?
It started on a date. Rob (my husband) and I are very good at communicating, so instead of going out to eat to talk, we decided to write stories on our date. At that time, he was involved in Artemis Society, which was trying to start a commercial presence on the moon, and I was writing a series on different religious orders for Wyoming Catholic. The two combined and the Rescue Sisters were born. We’ve written a few short stories in the universe, adventures of the different nuns as well as some of the lay people. Fred Warren, a fellow Science Fiction writer, has also written a story or two in it.
My favorite character in Discovery has to be Sister Ann, who is quite unique in her thinking and speech. What does it mean to “speak Annese”?
Sister Ann was a ton of fun to write because her head is very full, and she does not think in straight lines. She has perfect recall of everything she’s ever read, from writings of the saints to tech manuals to theoretical physics and even some classical literature. Even more, it’s all tied together in a crazy mental geometry that makes complete sense…if you can take time to figure it out. Which is what “speaking Annese” really means: figuring out the common ties between what she’s said and then applying it to the situation at hand.
I was in a special place when I did most of her scenes, and truth to tell, it’s not easy to get back into her brain. I spent a lot of time googling quotes around specific topics, and of course, I was studying about the drive systems and spacework anyway. I had to make up some quotes, which meant adding to the history of the universe, which is always fun. And I had to be sure she didn’t speak in a straight line, but still said something useful and at least vaguely understandable.
It surprised me in the story that Sean, the documentarist, picked up on her way of speaking so quickly. At least, he understood she was making sense, even if he didn’t get it, and was patient to see where her thoughts led. He turned out to be an unexpected ally in more ways than one.
Which character in Discovery do you relate to and why?
If I think too hard, I can relate to something in each of them, even Ann. There are times I think I must be speaking Annese, though I don’t quote saints. However, I think Chris David reminds me the most of myself. He’s smart and talented and does great work, but doesn’t believe it. He takes criticism to heart, and doesn’t feel like any success is really his. It’s always because someone else made his “faltering efforts” something useful. It’s one thing to share the glory but another to feel your work has not worth of its own. I’ve struggled with these feelings my whole life – still do, sometimes. Fortunately, like Chris, I have a wonderful lifemate who helps me see my worth.
Discovery has a huge cast of characters, yet each is very much his or her own person. What is the best way to make a character seem like real individuals?
You treat them like real people. Real people have a unique combination of background, quirks and preferences that makes them unique. Also, give them real problems. If they are not challenged by multiple things, big and small, they are not real.
You’ll notice I don’t have a lot of physical description. I don’t think visually – even in my own life, I get people mixed up when I only know their physical attributes rather than their personalities. I think that’s why I’m so awful at keeping track of movie starts and singers, too. I know the character, but not the actor. So I start with the personality: what do they believe, how do they react, what do they like and hate? Sometimes, a physical attribute comes in, like I knew Sister Ann was blonde with blue eyes. I didn’t plan it; she just popped in my head like that. Later, I put in just enough physical detail to distinguish them, but even then, it has to have a purpose. For example, it wasn’t until I explored Ann’s family history that I realized her eyes are slightly larger than normal and her fingers long.
Is it true you actually lost the entire manuscript once?
Yep! After a three-year struggle, the book was finally coming together, and I finally had a version I felt comfortable sharing. However, something went wrong with my laptop screen, so I decided to get it fixed before the warranty ran out. I had been backing everything up to my external hard-drive (or so I thought) and I told the repair people to just fix the screen and not mess with the rest, which was working fine. I thought nothing of it.
When it came back, not only had they not fixed my screen, but they wiped the hard drive. That’s when I discovered that my external drive was not backing things up, but just giving me a mirror image of my laptop’s directory. We never figured out why. I lost everything – including the manuscript. All I had were some CDs with old copies of the awful first attempts.
I cried for about a month. Then I got Carbonite to back things up to the cloud in real time, and I started over again. This story would not let me go. That’s one thing I love about it.
Thank you, Karina, for the interview and for writing this amazing book.
Karina Fabian is an award-winning fantasy, science fiction, and horror author, whose books make people laugh, cry, and think. Check out her latest at http://fabianspace.com
Find Karina at:
Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+KarinaFabian
REMINDER: FREE BOOK!! Author Karina Fabian is giving away a copy of Infinite Space, Infinite God II. Leave a comment before October 1 to be entered!