Wednesday, November 5, 2008

LEAPS OF FAITH, edited by Karina and Rob Fabian

Once upon a time short stories were quite popular, making Edgar Allen Poe, Chekov and O. Henry names that everyone recognizes. Unfortunately, anthologies of short stories no longer enjoy that popularity. This saddens me when there is a wealth of good short stories available, such as the fourteen pieces in Leaps of Faith.

Why do I like short stories? First of all, I can read a complete story in one sitting and still get some sleep in the evening. When I am in the middle of a good novel I have a very difficult time putting it down, therefore often going without sleep for a day or two. Not good. I was able to get through two or three of the stories, even four sometimes, at a sitting as I read Leaps of Faith. I had the urge to go further, but I was able to still go about sleeping and do some of my chores. I find it easier to absorb the theme and ideas in these tales than I do the longer tomes, often spending a little time at the end of each just thinking it over. True, the characters and plot aren't as developed or detailed as they are in novels, but a good short story wordsmith crafts his sentences carefully so as to give more bang for the buck. In my favorite kind of short stories, there is a plot twist that I don't expect at the end, a surprise that makes it worth reading.

In Leaps of Faith, I find several satisfying stories with that extra bang. These are exclusively science fiction, sometimes rather heavy on the science, but even so this very unscientific mind of mine was able to get into the meat of the tales and enjoy them. The real joy is in that leap of faith included in each entry, leaps that often mean the reader needs to stretch his or her own box a bit. God does not fit in a box, of course, and I love stories that make me ponder who God really is and all the "what ifs" that are posed in speculative fiction. What if there were aliens who came to accept Jesus as Savior? What if we really could travel through time? If we had certain technology, should we use it just because we can, even if it would mean playing God or going contrary to God's natural laws?

It's hard to write a short review when there are so many stories to consider. Perhaps my favorite is "Leaps of Faith" by Karina and Rob Fabian, the title story as it were. Each story involves some sort of leap of faith, but this one is literal. This is about the rescue nuns in the future, an order that works in space bringing aid to stranded travelers. More importantly, it deals with a young member who has wanted to rescue others ever since she was a child, but she has a great fear to overcome before she is able to help anyone else. The answer is one we can all take to heart, even without space travel.

"The Smile" by Greg Beatty is another one I really like. This one reminds me of some verses in Romans chapter one (v. 19, 20): "since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."

The tone and mood of each piece varies, from the very serious and somber to the silly. "Moses Disposes" fits the latter description. One of the stories, "The Relics of Venice" by Leslie Brown, is a real romance, but there are other stories with romance as well. Just not your average tale of two earthlings sometimes. Tales to make yoy rethink your viewpoints about "religion" and what God might really think.

Leaps of Faith does not fit into a neat little cubbyhole, but then neither does God. And if you think of God in a box, you really need to expand your horizons a bit. I recommend Leaps of Faith as a handy way to do just that. I hope you will give it a try. You'll be glad you took that little leap yourself.

A 2002 EPPIE finalist for Best Electronic Anthology, Leaps of Faith promises the best in Christian sci-fi.

Purchase Leaps of Faith at The Writer's Cafe Press.

Visit the Leaps of Faith Website.

Check out these other member blogs this week for more info.


Laura Davis said...

I knew the review would be great! Thanks Cathi!

TWCP Authors said...

Very nice Cathi' I really enjoy how you personalize your reviews and give us more insight about why you enjoy a particular book.


Karina Fabian said...

Thanks, Cathi,

I'm so glad you enjoyed the book. "Relics of Venice" always leaves me teary-eyed at the end, it's such a beautiful romance.

You're not the first to have said that they enjoy anthologies because it lets them sleep at night! Sadly, many traditional publishers avoid anthologies because they usually don't sell well. I'm so thankful to Cynthia at The Writers' Cafe Press for taking a chance on us.

Karina Fabian

LABrown said...

Thanks Cathi for your nice comments about my story (and you too, Karina). I'm a non-denominational Christian and frankly not that religious but I really enjoyed the stories of my companions in this anthology, purely from the 'telling of a good story' point of view.
Leslie Brown (Relics of Venice)