CSFF Tour – Residential Aliens Day 3

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…
Yeah, been there, done that.
If you are looking for new and fresh science fiction and other speculative creative work, you need to check out Residential Aliens – which is why we’re featuring it for the tour in August.

One thing I like about ResAliens is the fact that they look for fiction that accepts the spiritual as something acceptable to write about. Some may say that the “science” part of science fiction should preclude spirituality from being in the fiction. Doesn’t science disprove religion?

Mike Duran blogs frequently about the state of fiction, Christian fiction in particular, and speculative fiction. In his post “Why Science Fiction Embraces Religion… and Science Doesn’t,” he quotes another article that has this statement (regarding various sci-fi stories):

It’s never “Does this force actually exist?” It’s, “What do we call it?” Or “How do we treat it?” Or “How do we interact with it?” One of the many things that fascinates me about these stories is that the thing, whatever it is—a being, a force—always exists. Some choose to acknowledge it via gratitude, giving it a place of honor, organizing their lives around it and allowing it to feed them spiritually. Others simply use it as a thing, a tool, taking from it what they will when they will then calling it a day. But neither reaction negates the existence of the thing.

This seems to me to be what ResAliens is after – allowing authors a platform to use entertaining sci-fi stories to explore ideas that relate to spirituality.

I didn’t get a chance to exhaustively peruse the whole site, but I did find one story that stood out in quality of writing and depth of ideas. “Of All Things, Seen And Unseen” is by the CSFF Tour’s own Fred Warren. I picked this story to read because of this connection, but my praise is earned through his quality of work only.
 
The story is based on a universe/concept from Robert and Karina Fabian, where there is an order called the “Rescue Sisters” that aids spacefaring travelers in distress. Fred’s story is his own other than being set in their universe.
 

Sister Claudia has always wanted to be a Rescue Sister. She is young and talented at what she does. However, a routine assist goes awry when she goes against orders, and she ends up losing part of her right arm. Her new disability limits her from the front line, and she struggles to find her place among the Sisters of Our Lady of the Rescue.
 
It is a straightfoward premise, but it is well-written and drew me into this setting. He paces the short story perfectly, putting us in Claudia’s dilemna, giving the background needed, and propelling the plot forward. To set up an appropriate conflict and resolution in a short story while having rounded characters and an intersting setting is a significant challenge, and Fred meets all of these points. More importantly, he paints a beautiful theme with Claudia’s adventure, and it is inspiring as well as entertaining.
 
I am intrigued enough with Residential Aliens that I will be watching for more from them, and will perhaps trying my own hand for a story there. I hope any fans of science fiction will check it out. My fellow tourmates have more on this, and Becky’s blog keeps track of all of these.
 
Happy spacefaring!

CSFF Tour – Residential Aliens Day 3

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…
Yeah, been there, done that.
If you are looking for new and fresh science fiction and other speculative creative work, you need to check out Residential Aliens – which is why we’re featuring it for the tour in August.

One thing I like about ResAliens is the fact that they look for fiction that accepts the spiritual as something acceptable to write about. Some may say that the “science” part of science fiction should preclude spirituality from being in the fiction. Doesn’t science disprove religion?

Mike Duran blogs frequently about the state of fiction, Christian fiction in particular, and speculative fiction. In his post “Why Science Fiction Embraces Religion… and Science Doesn’t,” he quotes another article that has this statement (regarding various sci-fi stories):

It’s never “Does this force actually exist?” It’s, “What do we call it?” Or “How do we treat it?” Or “How do we interact with it?” One of the many things that fascinates me about these stories is that the thing, whatever it is—a being, a force—always exists. Some choose to acknowledge it via gratitude, giving it a place of honor, organizing their lives around it and allowing it to feed them spiritually. Others simply use it as a thing, a tool, taking from it what they will when they will then calling it a day. But neither reaction negates the existence of the thing.

This seems to me to be what ResAliens is after – allowing authors a platform to use entertaining sci-fi stories to explore ideas that relate to spirituality.

I didn’t get a chance to exhaustively peruse the whole site, but I did find one story that stood out in quality of writing and depth of ideas. “Of All Things, Seen And Unseen” is by the CSFF Tour’s own Fred Warren. I picked this story to read because of this connection, but my praise is earned through his quality of work only.
 
The story is based on a universe/concept from Robert and Karina Fabian, where there is an order called the “Rescue Sisters” that aids spacefaring travelers in distress. Fred’s story is his own other than being set in their universe.
 

Sister Claudia has always wanted to be a Rescue Sister. She is young and talented at what she does. However, a routine assist goes awry when she goes against orders, and she ends up losing part of her right arm. Her new disability limits her from the front line, and she struggles to find her place among the Sisters of Our Lady of the Rescue.
 
It is a straightfoward premise, but it is well-written and drew me into this setting. He paces the short story perfectly, putting us in Claudia’s dilemna, giving the background needed, and propelling the plot forward. To set up an appropriate conflict and resolution in a short story while having rounded characters and an intersting setting is a significant challenge, and Fred meets all of these points. More importantly, he paints a beautiful theme with Claudia’s adventure, and it is inspiring as well as entertaining.
 
I am intrigued enough with Residential Aliens that I will be watching for more from them, and will perhaps trying my own hand for a story there. I hope any fans of science fiction will check it out. My fellow tourmates have more on this, and Becky’s blog keeps track of all of these.
 
Happy spacefaring!

CSFF Tour – Residential Aliens Day 2

Welcome back, science fiction fans!

The CSFF Tour is featuring Residential Aliens, the sci-fi zine that features online and print/e-reader science fiction/speculative fiction with a spiritual bent.

The site has an impressive amount of authors who have contributed. It isn’t such a niche product that there’s only five people who have written for it. I recognized a few names from our very own tour, which was way cool.

One thing you should check out is the contest to win a free copy of Dead or Alive – An Aston West Collection by T. M. Hunter. Mr. Hunter has written a few novels and several short stories featuring Aston West, a good old fashioned kind of space pirate – the kind that gets into trouble and scrapes to get out of a mess. Fan of Han Solo and Mal Reynolds? Aston fits the bill. I read his short story “Some Assembly Required” featured on the front of the ResAliens page this month. It was entertaining and drew me into Aston’s world without boring me with backstory. It was a thoughtful story contemplating the thought of free will and individual freedom, without being preachy. The ending felt a little rushed – maybe he had a word count he had to hit – but it was a worthwhile read.
In honor of the CSFF Tour, ResAliens is offering a free download of a recent issue for e-reader format. Check this link to try it out for your e-reader of choice.

Finally for today, if you like to write sci-fi or other speculative fiction, ResAliens takes submissions. They pay a small stipend, but it is a publishing credit nonetheless. Checking out the submission page today, out of 32 submissions, only 8 were accepted. They are discriminating.

Tomorrow I want to discuss a story I read on ResAliens that was particularly well done, as an example of the quality that smaller outfits like ResAliens can highlight.

As always, if you’re looking for more, go to Becky Miller’s website where she keeps track of all the posts for the tour. Don’t be blazing by in light speed – stick around and enjoy!

CSFF Tour – Residential Aliens Day 2

Welcome back, science fiction fans!

The CSFF Tour is featuring Residential Aliens, the sci-fi zine that features online and print/e-reader science fiction/speculative fiction with a spiritual bent.

The site has an impressive amount of authors who have contributed. It isn’t such a niche product that there’s only five people who have written for it. I recognized a few names from our very own tour, which was way cool.

One thing you should check out is the contest to win a free copy of Dead or Alive – An Aston West Collection by T. M. Hunter. Mr. Hunter has written a few novels and several short stories featuring Aston West, a good old fashioned kind of space pirate – the kind that gets into trouble and scrapes to get out of a mess. Fan of Han Solo and Mal Reynolds? Aston fits the bill. I read his short story “Some Assembly Required” featured on the front of the ResAliens page this month. It was entertaining and drew me into Aston’s world without boring me with backstory. It was a thoughtful story contemplating the thought of free will and individual freedom, without being preachy. The ending felt a little rushed – maybe he had a word count he had to hit – but it was a worthwhile read.
In honor of the CSFF Tour, ResAliens is offering a free download of a recent issue for e-reader format. Check this link to try it out for your e-reader of choice.

Finally for today, if you like to write sci-fi or other speculative fiction, ResAliens takes submissions. They pay a small stipend, but it is a publishing credit nonetheless. Checking out the submission page today, out of 32 submissions, only 8 were accepted. They are discriminating.

Tomorrow I want to discuss a story I read on ResAliens that was particularly well done, as an example of the quality that smaller outfits like ResAliens can highlight.

As always, if you’re looking for more, go to Becky Miller’s website where she keeps track of all the posts for the tour. Don’t be blazing by in light speed – stick around and enjoy!

CSFF Tour – The Skin Map Day 1

How do make sure you will never, EVER lose your way?

A map would be nice. Then again, a map can be lost.

What if you put the map on something you could never lose? What would that be? It would be…a skin map.

The Christian Sci-fi and Fantasy Tour is featuring an intriguing book, the latest from well-known author Stephen Lawhead, The Skin Map.

Lawhead is an author I’ve been talking about since my first involvement with the CSFF tour. He has carved out a strong niche writing fantasy and historical novels alike. He loves the mythic aspect of stories, and he has played with some of the big ones in his King Arthur epic The Pendragon Cycle and his unique take on Robin Hood in The Raven King Trilogy.

But to hear Lawhead in his own words, nothing may compare to what he has in store with the planned five volume Bright Empires series:

‘I have not read or written anything quite like it,’ says Lawhead. ‘It’s been forming in my mind for at least fifteen years. Now I am finally writing it, because I think I can finally do justice to such an intricately woven storyline.


BRIGHT EMPIRES is the most challenging work I’ve ever undertaken, and I’m alternately exhilarated and terrified by it.’

I would be challenged too, by a work of time travel and crossing into alternate dimensions involving skin maps, Burley Men, and good coffee.  

But more on that later.

Until tomorrow, see what clues you can follow in my fellow travelers below:
Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
Jeff Chapman
Christian Fiction Book Reviews
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
George Duncan
April Erwin
Tori Greene
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Becca Johnson
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Shannon McDermott
Allen McGraw
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
John W. Otte
Gavin Patchett
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Kathleen Smith
Rachel Starr Thomson
Donna Swanson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Elizabeth Williams
Dave Wilson

CSFF Tour – The Skin Map Day 1

How do make sure you will never, EVER lose your way?

A map would be nice. Then again, a map can be lost.

What if you put the map on something you could never lose? What would that be? It would be…a skin map.

The Christian Sci-fi and Fantasy Tour is featuring an intriguing book, the latest from well-known author Stephen Lawhead, The Skin Map.

Lawhead is an author I’ve been talking about since my first involvement with the CSFF tour. He has carved out a strong niche writing fantasy and historical novels alike. He loves the mythic aspect of stories, and he has played with some of the big ones in his King Arthur epic The Pendragon Cycle and his unique take on Robin Hood in The Raven King Trilogy.

But to hear Lawhead in his own words, nothing may compare to what he has in store with the planned five volume Bright Empires series:

‘I have not read or written anything quite like it,’ says Lawhead. ‘It’s been forming in my mind for at least fifteen years. Now I am finally writing it, because I think I can finally do justice to such an intricately woven storyline.


BRIGHT EMPIRES is the most challenging work I’ve ever undertaken, and I’m alternately exhilarated and terrified by it.’

I would be challenged too, by a work of time travel and crossing into alternate dimensions involving skin maps, Burley Men, and good coffee.  

But more on that later.

Until tomorrow, see what clues you can follow in my fellow travelers below:
Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
Jeff Chapman
Christian Fiction Book Reviews
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
George Duncan
April Erwin
Tori Greene
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Becca Johnson
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Shannon McDermott
Allen McGraw
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
John W. Otte
Gavin Patchett
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Kathleen Smith
Rachel Starr Thomson
Donna Swanson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Elizabeth Williams
Dave Wilson

CSFF Tour – Offworld

Something is wrong with the world.

“In 2032, the first manned mission to Mars is returning to Earth after a 2 1/2 year journey. Commander Christopher Burke leads his 3 other crew members back from an eventful and successful landing on the Red Planet.

After a strange anomaly occurs and communication with Earth is lost, the crew survives a harrowing crash-landing at Kennedy Space Center. The dazed and bruised astronauts exit their spacecraft, wondering why the emergency response teams didn’t pull them out of the capsule. The answer?

Everyone on Earth has disappeared.

No one is left, and the occurance seems to have happened at the same time of the anomaly and communication cut-off. The only clue: a beacon of light eminating from Houston.

The crew embarks on a new journey, much more harrowing-to find out what happened to the human race.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Offworld, go HERE.

Robin Parrish is the author of Offworld, the latest novel for the Christian Sci-fi/Fantasy Blog Tour. Check back tomorrow for my review. In the meantime, check out these tour participants.

Brandon Barr
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Gina Burgess
Canadianladybug
Melissa Carswell
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Linda Gilmore
Beth Goddard
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika
Eve Nielsen (posting later in the week)
Nissa
John W. Otte
Lyn Perry
Steve Rice
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Speculative Faith
Stephanie
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Elizabeth Williams

CSFF Tour – Offworld

Something is wrong with the world.

“In 2032, the first manned mission to Mars is returning to Earth after a 2 1/2 year journey. Commander Christopher Burke leads his 3 other crew members back from an eventful and successful landing on the Red Planet.

After a strange anomaly occurs and communication with Earth is lost, the crew survives a harrowing crash-landing at Kennedy Space Center. The dazed and bruised astronauts exit their spacecraft, wondering why the emergency response teams didn’t pull them out of the capsule. The answer?

Everyone on Earth has disappeared.

No one is left, and the occurance seems to have happened at the same time of the anomaly and communication cut-off. The only clue: a beacon of light eminating from Houston.

The crew embarks on a new journey, much more harrowing-to find out what happened to the human race.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Offworld, go HERE.

Robin Parrish is the author of Offworld, the latest novel for the Christian Sci-fi/Fantasy Blog Tour. Check back tomorrow for my review. In the meantime, check out these tour participants.

Brandon Barr
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Gina Burgess
Canadianladybug
Melissa Carswell
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Linda Gilmore
Beth Goddard
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika
Eve Nielsen (posting later in the week)
Nissa
John W. Otte
Lyn Perry
Steve Rice
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Speculative Faith
Stephanie
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Elizabeth Williams

The Gift of the Marcher Lord

Yesterday I tried to end with the best possible cliff-hanger: GREED. As our blog tour continues to discuss the new independent publisher for Christian speculative fiction, Marcher Lord Press, there is more in it for you than just a good read.

How about prizes?

There are numerous prizes collected for the launch date of October 1st. The grand prize is a trip for two to ComicCON San Diego 2009. If that isn’t worth going to the prize list and signing up, I don’t know what is.

(Shameless Self-Promotion Disclaimer: If you list me as your referred, I get another entry into the contest. Just so you know…)

There are oodles of other prizes available, so it is quite worth your while to check it out.

But what are the initial offerings from MLP, other than a really generous guy in Jeff Gerke, making a splash?

I’m glad you asked! There are three books in the launch for Marcher Lord Press. And I mentioned Oct. 1st before. If you make an order on that day, there are bonus FREE goodies awaiting you. (It just gets better and better)

The first offering is Hero, Second Class. This book turns fantasy convention on its head. All the great points are skewed: Heroes, Villians, Kings, Magic, and So On.

If you like fantasy but are a little weary of the standard plot points that flow in the story like a checklist, then this witty skewing will bring a refreshing perspective as Cyrus, the wannabe Hero, embarks through the Hero Guild on his Grand Quest.


The next book is The Personifid Invasion. This is a stand-alone sequel to a previously released novel, The Personifid Project. In the future, bodies are able to be cloned in order to allow people to live forever by having their consciousness transfered into new bodies.

Death may no longer be an issue, but what about the soul? Are these altered creations more succeptible to outside influence, such as interterrestrials? A brother and sister race to find another sibling, trying to navigate the dangers between them.


Finally, the last introductory book is Summa Elvetica. This fantasy book is set in a world of human and non-human races: orcs, trolls, and elves as examples. The Church sends a priest to determine if these non-human races have souls, and as such, deserve a focus for evagelization.

Of course, how could such a story take place without romance and war? What will the cleric discover, and what will the ecclesiastia decide?

As you can see, MLP has a few intriguing options covering science fiction, fantasy, and a fantasy spoof. Even if these books are not to your liking, you ought to register to win a chance at the bounty of prizes, and you may well find a later title catching your interest.

I plan on an order on October 1st, and I will watch Marcher Lord Press with anticipation. If you are a fan of Christian speculative fiction, you would do well to support MLP to show that there is a demand for quality spec fic wiith a Christian world view.

If you have any interaction w/MLP, I would be interested in your comments next week!

The Gift of the Marcher Lord

Yesterday I tried to end with the best possible cliff-hanger: GREED. As our blog tour continues to discuss the new independent publisher for Christian speculative fiction, Marcher Lord Press, there is more in it for you than just a good read.

How about prizes?

There are numerous prizes collected for the launch date of October 1st. The grand prize is a trip for two to ComicCON San Diego 2009. If that isn’t worth going to the prize list and signing up, I don’t know what is.

(Shameless Self-Promotion Disclaimer: If you list me as your referred, I get another entry into the contest. Just so you know…)

There are oodles of other prizes available, so it is quite worth your while to check it out.

But what are the initial offerings from MLP, other than a really generous guy in Jeff Gerke, making a splash?

I’m glad you asked! There are three books in the launch for Marcher Lord Press. And I mentioned Oct. 1st before. If you make an order on that day, there are bonus FREE goodies awaiting you. (It just gets better and better)

The first offering is Hero, Second Class. This book turns fantasy convention on its head. All the great points are skewed: Heroes, Villians, Kings, Magic, and So On.

If you like fantasy but are a little weary of the standard plot points that flow in the story like a checklist, then this witty skewing will bring a refreshing perspective as Cyrus, the wannabe Hero, embarks through the Hero Guild on his Grand Quest.


The next book is The Personifid Invasion. This is a stand-alone sequel to a previously released novel, The Personifid Project. In the future, bodies are able to be cloned in order to allow people to live forever by having their consciousness transfered into new bodies.

Death may no longer be an issue, but what about the soul? Are these altered creations more succeptible to outside influence, such as interterrestrials? A brother and sister race to find another sibling, trying to navigate the dangers between them.


Finally, the last introductory book is Summa Elvetica. This fantasy book is set in a world of human and non-human races: orcs, trolls, and elves as examples. The Church sends a priest to determine if these non-human races have souls, and as such, deserve a focus for evagelization.

Of course, how could such a story take place without romance and war? What will the cleric discover, and what will the ecclesiastia decide?

As you can see, MLP has a few intriguing options covering science fiction, fantasy, and a fantasy spoof. Even if these books are not to your liking, you ought to register to win a chance at the bounty of prizes, and you may well find a later title catching your interest.

I plan on an order on October 1st, and I will watch Marcher Lord Press with anticipation. If you are a fan of Christian speculative fiction, you would do well to support MLP to show that there is a demand for quality spec fic wiith a Christian world view.

If you have any interaction w/MLP, I would be interested in your comments next week!