Infinite Space, Infinite God--Interview with Karina Fabian
Topic: Author Interview
I had the fortune of having Karina Fabian, one of the editors of Infinite Space, Infinite God stop by to answer some interview questions. This is the first of 43 stops Karina will make this month. Check out her schedule after the interview and plan on stopping by a few other places this month!!!
The synopsis of Infinite Space, Infinite God states:
Is that religion in my science fiction or science fiction in my religion? The writers of the Catholic SF anthology Infinite Space, Infinite God (available at www.twilighttimesbooks.com) have so seamlessly combined the two that it's hard to tell.
Infinite Space, Infinite God features fifteen stories about the future Catholic Church: its struggles evangelize aliens and lost human colonies and to determine the soul-status of genetically modified humans, genetically-designed chimeras, and clones made from the Martian sand; the adventures of religious orders devoted to protecting interstellar travelers or inner-city priests; and how technical advances allow monks to live in solitude on the Moon and help one criminal learn the true meaning of Confession.
But it's more than just a great read. With introductions exploring the issues at hand and current Church thinking, Infinite Space, Infinite God is bound to spark discussion and make people think--just as good science fiction should.
If you think that's interesting--and you do, don't you?? -- you'll find Karina even more so :-)
Q: I've noticed the common theme through out this selection seems to be a struggle with holding onto and strengthening one's faith. Am I reading this correctly?
Karina: Depends on what you mean by "struggle." Are the characters in these stories losing their faith? I don't think so. In fact, in several of the stories--"Far Traveler" "Cruel and Unusual Punishment," and "These Three" come to mind--the characters regain a lost faith as a result of the incredible events they live through.
Many are, however, challenged to apply their faith to stressful and tricky situations. In "Stabat Mater," Teresa feels torn between what she's always believed God has wanted from her and the desperate-seeming demands of the current Pope as the world falls to ruin in nuclear war.
Q: What is the story behind this collection? Was there a seed that set off the wish to compile such a thought-provoking collection of stories?
Karina: Infinite Space, Infinite God definitely began as a mustard seed!
We'd always enjoyed writing together, so when Rob was involved in Artemis society (manned colonization of the Moon) and I was writing a series on religious orders, we created a near-future universe where humans were living in the solar system, and religion (particularly the Catholic Church) was active there, too. The stories didn't sell.
Thus, when Kathryn Lively started FrancisIsidore Press, an e-publishing company, we offered her a story collection. After discussing sales potential, we broadened the scope to an anthology with other writers and to include any Christian faith. Leaps of Faith was born.
When FrancisIsidore went out of business, we started looking for a print home. We had a Catholic publisher who loved the idea but wanted all Catholic stories, so we decided to make another leap--only this time with Infinite Space, Infinite God, an anthology of Catholic SF. We approached the Leaps writers and put out the call for new ones and came up with some terrific and very different stuff. ISIG, for example, was more directed toward applying morals. Then to make it even more interesting (and, I'd hoped, more palatable to our publisher who did a lot of nonfiction, educational, "high literary" stuff) I added introductions that discussed the Catholic Church past, present and future.
And it got rejected. After much consideration, they decided Catholic SF was too different for their company right now. (shrug) That's the publishing world. If it hadn't been for that editor, we would never have taken on the project, so we're grateful for their encouragement.
It took about a year, but we found Twilight Times Books and we're very happy. Lida is a terrific publisher who's worked with us to nurture this book into something special.
Incidentally, Rob and I wanted stories that were thought-provoking as well as fun to read. Glad we hit the mark.
Q: Do you ever feel that science fiction in any way conflicts with religion -- or more specifically, spirituality?
Karina: Oh, sure. The "rational, intelligent heroic scientist vs. the emotion-over-common-sense religious" isn't a cliche for nothing. Or the future world that has "outgrown our primitive need for a god." A lot of SF also simply ignores faith altogether. By the same token, there's a growing market out there of Christian fiction that ignores science or portrays the scientist as the Godless villain.
We don't necessarily have a problem with either. This is fiction, after all. Even the most believable story is still pretend.
Still, how believable is a world without faith, without spirituality? Whether you believe that we are created in God's image, that we have some kind of genetic predisposition toward faith, or even that we just need to believe in something bigger than ourselves, faith is a part of the human condition.
What annoys us more is when the story is not believable and the book is more a lecture in disguise than a tale. It's also bothersome when the lack of religion is more about sloppy worldbuilding. And, of course, the reverse goes for "Christian SF" that only nods to science without any real research. Go ahead and conflict--but be credible. Life is not black-and-white--neither is good fiction.
That's one reason why Rob and I were interested in compiling these anthologies. We wanted to find believable science fiction that nonetheless depicted characters with real faith.
Q: Catholic science fiction is what your writing has been dubbed. Do you agree with this title or do you find it limited? It seems to me, what you write has a much broader audience than that title implies.
Karina: You're not alone. Every review we've received emphasized that Infinite Space, Infinite God is a great read for people of any faith. It's also a finalist for the 2007 EPPIE awards for best science fiction, with a competition that included secular works and mostly novels. However, "Catholic science fiction" does tell you what to expect from it, so we're comfortable with the label.
Q: Do you plan on doing a follow-up collection along these same lines? What works do you have in the near future?
Karina: We have our earlier anthology of Christian SF shopping for a print publisher right now. Leaps of Faith was e-published by FrancisIsidore Press and was an EPPIE and Dream Realms finalist. As far as an ISIG II, we'll have to see what the sales on ISIG look like. We'd love to do another. (So far, the e-book sales are looking pretty good.)
In the meantime, I am working on a new Catholic SF novel. Discovery comes from the "Rescue Sisters" universe featured in our ISIG stories "These Three" and "Our Daily Bread," and concerns Sr. Rita, a relatively new member of Our Lady of the Rescue who is unsure about her Calling to be a nun. When her team is hired to oversee the safety of a mission to excavate the first-ever discovered alien ship, she's confronted with all the temptations of secular life, including her former love interest. Can the discovery of an alien artifact help her discover the truth of her calling?
I'm also working to find a publisher for my secular fantasy trilogy The Miscria, finish the last book in that trilogy, write a novel in my Dragon Eye, PI (www.freewebs.com/dragoneyepi<http://www.freewebs.com/dragoneyepi>) universe and perhaps start a time travel/paranormal romance during NaNoWriMo. (www.nanowrimo.com<http://www.nanowrimo.com/>) Plus, I've been having a lot of fun playing around with websites.
Rob, of course, is busy with the Air Force. He's attending Joint and Combined Warfighting School, and (we hope) getting ready to take a squadron command this autumn. Nonetheless, he's my tech advisor for Discovery. (I love how his mind works!)
Q: If you could state in one sentence what message your writing conveys to the world, what would that message be?
Karina: For ISIG: The Catholic faith will continue to play an important role in the future.
For my writing in general: Life is full of challenges, but with faith, love and a generous dab of humor, they can be overcome.
Q: Is there anything else you'd like to share??
I'm pleased to announce my first issue of Faith-Filled Fiction, a newsletter about understanding and writing religions in our stories, is out. If you'd like to subscribe, please e-mail me.In addition to writing tips and resources, I plan to have informational articles written by the followers of the religions themselves. This newsletter is focused on learning rather than evangelizing, so many religions will be explored. I'm also looking for websites, resources, blogs and books to list, so if you have anything you'd like promoted (even if you're not a subscriber) let me know. Please put FFF in your subject line.
Thank you for joining us today, Karina. May this be a wonderful and successful year!!!*
Infinite Space, Infinite God can be ordered directly from Baker & Taylor, Ingram, or the publisher, Twilight Times Books, PO Box 3340, Kingsport, TN 37664; or via the Internet at http://twilighttimesbooks.com.
Below is a copy of this month's tour schedule for Karina--please stoip by and say hello!!!
1: www.doylebooks.com (summary)
www.kaleidosouls.info, Day 1 (summary)
2: www.kaleidosouls.info, Day 2 (interview)
http://writetype.blogspot.com (guest blogger)
3: www.thewritingjungle.blogspot.com (interview)
4: www.freewebs.com/mary-andrews (interview)
5: http://writeurthoughts.blogspot.com (interview)
6: www.catholicfiction.net (interview)
7: http://timewithtannia.tripod.com/ (interview)
9: http://thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com/ (interview)
10: http://cmwforum.blogspot.com (review)
11: www.todaythedragonwins.blogspot.com (interview)
12: www.thedarkphantom.wordpress.com (interview)
7:00-9:00 PM: www.writerschatroom.com (Live Chat)
13: www.lostgenreguild.com (review)
14: http://www.blogcatalog.com/blogs/dragons-of-the-pyramid-book-reviews.html (review)
15: http://beverlyjean.livejournal.com (interview)
16: http://cfvici.blogspot.com/ (review)
17: http://www.annmargaretlewis.com/ (interview)
18: 12 Noon: Live Chat: http://jolinsdell.tripod.com
19: karen Syed (interview and summary)
20: www.marilynmeredith.blogspot.com (interview)
21: www.snoringscholar.blogspot.com (review)
22: http://solshine7.blogspot.com (review and interview)
http://scifijournalist.blogspot.com (review and interview)
23: www.jamiesonwolf.blogspot.com (interview)
24: www.authoralley.blogspot.com (interview)
25: www.thebookpedler.wordpress.com (interview)
26: www.livejournal.com/~paulinebjones (interview)
27: http://penelopemarzec.blogspot.com (guest blogger)
28: http://www.myspace.com/happywriter (guest blogger)
29: 12 Noon: Live Chat "Infinite Space, Infinite God and the Infinite Possibilities of Book Marketing" http://www.virginiajennings.zoomshare.com/5.html
30: www.noveljourney.blogspot.com (interview)
31: http://afrankreview.blogspot.com/ (review)
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