Book Review: "Discovery" by Karina Fabian
Discovery by Karina Fabian is a science fiction adventure story including a trio of Catholic nuns and an intriguing adventure.
The Strengths of Discovery
- Discovery and the Rescue Sisters give you a rich world several generations after space travel becomes routine, where faith and culture have adapted to it. And this is one of the few science fiction universes where Christianity is treated well; Babylon 5 is another, unique for positive portrayals of both Judaism and Christianity, including an order of monks on that space station. Discovery features new faiths that arose among Spacers and variations of faiths in the story.
- To paraphrase Ms. Fabian, if you want to ace the Bechdel test, have several nuns on board to talk to each other. Rarely do you see empowered, active female characters literally saving the day in science fiction. Being nuns is certainly adds to the diversity of characters in sci-fi.
- Discovery contains zero-G humans, zerogs. You get brief mentions of a war between them and normal humans and a little information on their genetic engineering.
- The book moves the plot and character development quickly, delivering the story in a little over 300 pages.
- Classic sci-fi movies discussed as what not to do in first contact! I wish other science fiction learned from those campy movies. You learn a lot of what it would be like to live in a space-faring society from the curses based on air loss to ship lingo adopted for daily usage. Except for artificial gravity, all the technology shown is in the near future.
- The book has an appendix of the spacer code and characters in the back of the book for those who need the reference.
I previously contributed to Karina Fabian’s Christian sci-fi anthology “Infinite Space Infinite God 2” and received a free copy of "Discovery" from Fabian to review.
The Weaknesses of Discovery
- The atheist “Codists” versus Catholic versus other Christian factional animosity is played up for the drama. And there’s a pagan versus Christian confrontation thrown in for good measure.
- Too many somewhat unstable people are kept on the mission in positions of authority, setting the stage for the next level of drama. Cay and Merl are both in this category, though their motivations (noble and not) are well explained.
- Sister Ann’s mystery is well hinted at, but her mysterious dialogue is far too long in too many places.
- Appendix C needs grammar fixes and editing, like the VASIMR acronym being correct in one sentence and incorrect in the other. The rest of the book is fine.
- This book builds on her prior short stories featuring the Rescue Sisters, an order of nuns that moves to space and work for free to rescue people in dire situations, literally saving lives.
- You don’t have to be familiar with the Rescue Sisters stories found in Infinite Space Infinite God or Infinite Space Infinite God 2 to keep up with the book, though there are references in this book to the stories.
- The book is available in both print and Amazon Kindle editions.
You don’t have to be Catholic to appreciate this science fiction novel featuring an order of nuns who do rescues in space and join an expedition to explore a discovered alien spaceship on the fringes of the solar system. Whether you want to give a young adult sci-fi with strong female characters who aren’t swooning over every strong man in the story or anyone who hungers for science fiction that isn’t bashing Christianity, Fabian provides an engaging story almost anyone can enjoy.