Friday, September 30, 2016

Can Sci-Fi Help Raise Thinkers?

I'm delighted to welcome author Karina Fabian to my blog today. She writes science fiction for thinking readers, but she also writes to encourage readers to think. She's touring the internet this month with her new novel, Discovery


About Discovery - The truth is out there. The Truth is in you - Sisters Ann, Tommie and Rita are part of a classified mission to explore an alien ship that has crash landed on an asteroid three billion miles from earth. Humanity's first contact with beings from beyond the solar system is bound to unlock the mystery of life in the universe, but the crew have their own secrets; hidden fears, desires, horrible sins - and a mission to kill. Researchers discover something unique about the third arm of the ship: something wonderful, terrifying and...holy. This 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.

Find out more: http://karinafabian.com/DiscoveryRun 
Buy it at:  https://www.amazon.com/Discovery-Karina-Fabian-ebook/dp/B01LJX7INS/  

About the author - By day, Karina is a mild-mannered reviewer of business software and services for TopTenReviews.com. After hours, she’s a psychic intent on saving the world; a snarky dragon who thinks he saves the world all-too regularly, a zombie exterminator who just wants her world clear of undead vermin, and Catholic religious sisters whose callings have taken them off our world. Needless to say, her imagination is vast, her stories legion, and her brain crowded. When she’s not converting her wild tales to stories, she’s enjoying time with her husband, Rob, their four kids, and their two dogs.

Find her at:


Raising Thinkers Using Sci-Fi

By Karina Fabian


Rob and I have a sci-fi/fantasy nerd family.  Given the choice between Secretariat and Star Trek, we're going to choose Spock's pointed ears every time.  If we are going to read about heartfelt angst, we'd better have healthy dollop of spaceships or wizardry mixed in.  When it comes to card games, we'll take Munchkin Zombies over Seven-Card Stud. 

Science Fiction gets a bum rap.  Many people dismiss it as pure escapism with flashy special effects, confine it to Nerdism (though nerds are cool now), or consider it Godless literature.  However, Rob and I see it differently.

Sure, it can provide mindless escapism--nothing wrong with that in moderation--but it also provides a lot of educational opportunities in a fun and safe setting. Plus, in our increasingly technological world, it really is a compass to our future--good and bad.

By putting issues into a fantastic setting--another world, another future--you can look at issues in a more objective light.  Star Trek was, of course, famous for this, but there are many others: our concept of "Big Brother" comes from George Orwell's 1984, one of the first SF novels (written in 1949.)  The TV series Alien Nation took a frank look at racism and cultural prejudice, using the alien race as the foil.  Remember the movie I, Robot?  It was based on the book by Isaac Asimov, who created the three laws of robotics, and explores the question "Can we legislate morality?"

Science fiction gives us a chance to explore technology.  Many of today's inventions--from the solar sail to the cell phone--were given practical applications in science fiction decades or even centuries before they were created.  The challenge now for writers--and for readers--is to consider the future in light of so much scientific breakthrough.  Readers of science fiction, we believe, have a better acceptance of scientific advances. Even more, those that are taught to really think about what they read or watch can apply that same skill to real life.

What about its "Godless" approach?  True, the genre was born in the "Age of Enlightenment" and is written by many agnostics and atheists, but there are a lot of faithful authors who write it.  And of course, the genre of speculative fiction with Christian teachings is growing.  Rob's and my anthologies, Infinite Space, Infinite God I and II (http://karinafabian.com/infinite-space-infinite-god/) feature Catholic characters and themes in tales of time and space travel, aliens and virtual realities. My stand-alone novel, Discovery, (http://karinafabian.com/discoveryrun/) stars Catholic religious sisters who are assisting the exploration of an alien ship.   There are several new publishers on the scene that specialize in religious science fiction and fantasy and many secular publishers are accepting these stories.  Regardless, science fiction isn't just about exploding spaceships; it's about making moral choices, and there's always room to bring God into that, even if the author didn't do it himself.

In our house (especially thanks to my brilliant husband), we talk, analyze and apply.  We criticize the wrong use of science in a movie, we coach the hero in better using their tools, we gripe when they miss the obvious.  We discuss the issues--and because they are removed from our daily reality, we can pick them apart without feeling threatened or guilty if they go against society's norms (especially the politically correct ones that might not be so correct after all.)  These develop the skills of thought that we and our kids apply to reality, and because they practiced doing this in a fantasy setting, they have greater confidence in applying it in reality.


Inevitably at least one of our children’s teachers will tell us, "Your child can think.  Do you know how rare that is?"  It doesn't have to be rare.  It's about learning to examine what's presented before you--and science fiction is a fun venue for that.

I do so agree, Karina. Thank you for putting it so well. Even Godless science fiction can encourage readers to ponder what they really know or believe. And if we don't pause for thought, what does that say about the value we place on the minds we've been given?

Find out more. Follow the Tour (and watch for giveaways!)
(and see below for an excerpt too!)


Date
Location
Fun in Store
Give-Away
18-Sep
Interview
Discovery eBook
18-Sep
Interview
Discovery eBook
18-Sep
Catholic Geek Podcast
Interview & Other Fun

19-Sep
About the Book
ISIG II
20-Sep
Rocking the Bechdel Test

21-Sep
About the Book

21-Sep
Five Rules for Faith in Fiction

21-Sep
Meet Characters Sean & James
Discovery eBook
22-Sep
About the Book
Discovery eBook
22-Sep
Interview, Review
ISIG II
22-Sep
Why I Love Writing Science Fiction
Discovery eBook
23-Sep
Christian Themes in Stranger Things
ISIG II
23-Sep
Character Interview

24-Sep
Review

25-Sep
Cut Scene - Rita & James

26-Sep
Interview, Review
Discovery eBook
26-Sep
About the Book
Discovery eBook
27-Sep
Prelaunch Story - Merl

27-Sep
Review

28-Sep
About the Book
ISIG II
29-Sep
Why Nuns in Space

29-Sep
Interview

30-Sep
Raising Thinkers Using Sci-Fi

1-Oct
Prelaunch Story - Chris

1-Oct
Prizes, Contests, Livecasting

2-Oct
Religion, Technology and SF

3-Oct
Interview
ISIG II
5-Oct
Interview

6-Oct
Review

10-Oct
How I Started Writing Catholic SFF

12-Oct
Review

13-Oct
Excerpts from Reviews

Want to read an excerpt?



For all her nightmares of earlier, the next shift on Discovery seemed to be going according to routine. Rita applied the cut-away compound in a smooth circle on the door of their next room. She had the toe of one boot anchored in the suction handle outside it; another handle was attached to the center. Over the headset, she heard the chatter of the teams as they went about their own assignments. Ian and Reg were in the engineering arm, hoping to find the engines themselves but so far reporting control room after control room. Chris and Sean had just finished exploring a supply room and were working on their second door. Thoren had cut a deal to get on the exploration team and was working with Merl in the control room to try to match some of the symbols and perhaps get some idea of what the instruments were for. In Engineering, Gordon and his teammate were doing the same. She and James had decided to start along the second level of the central sphere. So far, they'd found what looked like a meeting room and a broom closet.

We got the exciting section, Rita thought.

James watched her from where he floated, anchored by one of the many handholds in the hall. "You're really good at that," he said over their private line.

"Lots of practice. It helps that I'm not worrying about the injured people on the other side."

A small snort, then silence. She imagined him shaking his head, but couldn't turn to look. "What?"

"You. In space. Saving lives, working with explosives."

"It's not an explosive, really. More like an acidic compound. See? There are two stripes separated by a chemical barrier. I actually 'ignite' it by dissolving the barrier.”

"Do you hear yourself?"

Is that disbelief or admiration? Actually, I don't want to know. "James, thanks for agreeing to make the pods off-limits for now."

"It's not a problem. Like I said, a find like this will take decades — lifetimes! — of study with teams of experts. We're here to survey."

"Ah, yes. To seek and record the broom closets." The circle complete, she put the application gun away and pulled out a second tube with a needle. She programmed the activator voltage into its controls, then pressed the needle into the compound. She reported the action to Ann on the ET.

"You can learn a lot from a broom closet. Seriously, I'm having the time of my life. Do you know what kind of archeology I usually work? Sift through buckets of dirt looking for evidence of anything that might stop
some building from being constructed. The only time I've gotten to explore an intact site — well, relatively intact — was when Cole took me to Egypt as his pet archaeologist. And, I suppose, when he had me searching a sunken ship for evidence of his great-grandparents."

The current raced along the barrier, creating a spitting, smoking trail as the two chemicals interacted. Slowly, the compound ate into the door, leaving a darkened circle.

James continued. "Never mind that this is an alien race. Do you have any idea how thrilling just finding an intact site is? We're seeing it, just as they left it who knows how long ago? Broom closets or not, I'm excited to see what's behind each door, and to see it first, with my own eyes."

"Well, here's your next chance. Edwina Taggert, this is Rita. We're about to open our door."

"Copy, Rita. Be very careful. It's not a closet this time."

Rita didn't bother to ask how Ann knew that; she'd just say "hunch," anyway in deference to Thoren listening to the mission channel. Ann did, however, whisper a Hail Mary. Rita knew she did that for every open door, a small ritual of the Rescue Sisters to pray for the souls in need behind it, but now she prayed for the explorers instead.

"Sean to everybody! Guess what! I think we just found the medical bay!"

"Still feeling excited about that broom closet?" she asked James with a tease in her voice.

"Oh, just open the door!"

The circle had stopped smoking. Bracing both feet against the wall, she took hold of the handle on the freed disk. She tugged, and the door moved, but it seemed to take longer than the others. "Rita to ET. I think you're right, Ann. The door seems thicker than the others."

"Copy, Rita."

"See? Maybe not a broom closet this time," James said.

The disk slid free, and Rita and James wrestled it to the hallway floor. He held it in place while she secured it.
As soon as she gave the clear, James all but bounded to the open door, although his drag line caught him before he could pull Rita by their safety line. She hurried to join him as he described the long, deep chamber.

"Obviously a storage room. We have lines and lines of small containers, twenty or thirty deep, in some kind of storage cabinets — transparent doors, obviously. ET, are you seeing this?"

"I have Rita's feed on the main screen, James," Ann said, her voice breathy with excitement. "And I'm relaying it to the biolab."

"Okay." Rita could tell from James' voice he didn't see the connection, but Ann's words had made her heart skip. She played her own hunch. "ET, I'm going to extended spectrum."

The room dimmed, then filled with symbols and designs. Unlike most of the ones they'd seen so far, however, these ones were readily identifiable as animals and plants, albeit as odd as the aliens themselves. Even better, each row had its own illustrations, clearly labels.

Is this why I saw rainbows? Rita wondered.

Kelley's and Zabrina's squeals of delight overrode hers.

"Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive," Ann whispered.

"What?" James asked, then he must have switched his visuals, because he, too, whistled. "I don't believe it."


"Rita to everyone. We found the ark!"

1 comment:

Karina Fabian said...

Thanks for hosting me today!