Monday, July 31, 2006

Still Here

From the date of my last posting I see it's been a while since my last posting. A very long time. In my defence, it is summer, and historically my productivity is way down during the warmer months.

Soon, I'll throw up another review of, "A Small but Remarkable Life" and I'll let you know about my upcoming trip to San Diego where the Writer's of the Future workshop is being held. Needless to say, I'm pretty excited.

Hopefully, for the two or three who actually visit this site, I'll gice you something to read over your morning coffee this fall.


Saturday, July 01, 2006

I May Not Know Art, But I Know What I Like Department

Letters from the Flesh by Marcos Donnelly

Though raised in the Catholic faith, I don’t consider myself overly religious. I believe in God in my own way, but I also believe in science, and like any self-respecting teenager, had waged my own battles with the Church’s Dogma.

So it was with trepidation that I began Letters from the Flesh, by Marcos Donnelly, a novel that pits creationism against evolution.

The preface did not bode well, with the author, assuming the role of ‘the author’, apologizing for the viewpoints of his fictional characters. By the second chapter it becomes apparent that this apology is a clever way of warning the reader: Extremism Ahead! Continue At Your Own Risk!

The warning is useless for after the first page the reader is left with little choice; they are compelled.

Letters from the Flesh is told in two formats. The first by way of letters written during the reign of the Roman Emperor Caligula. Paul of Tarsus is actually an alien, a high frequency waveform inhabiting the body a human. At first Paul is blind, with little recollection of who he is or how he arrived in the human. With the help and love of Judah and his wife Esther, Paul learns of the Way, the teachings of Jesus Christ. Paul is open-minded, but not afraid to question. To act as the Christian counterpoint is Luke, a Greek healer, and later, Blastus, a Roman soldier.

The second telling of Letters from the Flesh is through emails between Lillian, a hard-core scientist and her cousin Mike, a high school biology teacher.

Christian Fundamentalist students had confronted Mike during his class on evolution. Lillian is quite happy to give advice and share her views on the entire topic of creationism, Christianity and the tactics of zealot fundamentalists. Hence the warning in the preface.

Letters from the Flesh is in fact two stories, each interesting as facts are revealed and their respective plots take their twists. Though I found Lillian and Mike’s story more interesting, I couldn’t force myself to ‘skip’ through Paul’s adventure.

Then we come to the end. It made absolute sense. It was undoubtedly were the author had intended to go. It was satisfying in its own way. But for me it was like a candy bar, though it might curb your hunger, an hour later you’re still hungry and looking for more substance.

Letters from the Flesh, by Marcos Donnelly, published by Robert J. Sawyer Books/Red Deer Press is available in trade paperback and sells for $19.95 CDN/$16.95 US.