In my previous examination of Philip Jose Farmer’s Riverworld, I spoke much about Farmer and very little about his setting. I’m afraid I find Farmer’s work tedious, but the Riverworld setting incredibly fascinating. In particular, I’m fascinated by Farmer’s depiction of Riverworld as an archetypal paradise and mankind’s inability to accept this paradise as the Heaven it is meant to be. Heaven ought to be a place where all of your needs are met and you can be at perfect peace with yourself. On Farmer’s Riverworld, no one is ever at peace.
Philip Jose Farmer’s Riverworld series postulates the mass awakening of the entire deceased population of the Earth on a paradise planet where a single, massive river separates two shores bounded by impassable mountains. All of those who have died, from all throughout history, inexplicably find themselves once more “in the flesh” and placed within a garden where they do not require shelter and do not need to work for food or drink. Luxuries are provided for them. They are in perfect health and without any kind of physical or mental deformity. Mankind has entered paradise.
Robert A. Heinlein consistently tackled social themes through the framework of his speculative fiction in such a way as to force to reader to confront his own opinions on the subject at hand. Though Heinlein’s work is generally considered to be “hard” sci-fi instead of space opera, the author seldom delved into the fundamentals of the science or problem solving behind the technology of his stories. Instead, Heinlein tended to focus on the evolution of society, the individual’s role within society, and the responsibility of individuals towards their society. His protagonists are nearly always adventurers, philosophers, or engineers of some sort instead of natural or mathematical scientists of the kind favored by Asimov.
It’s hard to talk about Spirit Blade without sounding like either a raving fanboy or a nitpicky hater. I purchased the first edition of this story to listen to it in the car on family vacation. I was immediately hooked. The audio design was wholly immersive, the music was resonant and complex, the lyrics were clearly extremely personal. I wound up buying copies for all of my friends and family (Christmas was conveniently near). Not satisfied with his original product, Paeter Frandsen (the creator at Spirit Blade Productions) remastered and released the Special Edition two years later, putting to good use the experience he gained in producing the sequel – Spirit Blade: Dark Ritual – and Pilgrim’s Progress: Similitude of a Dream.
I’m in the Reaction Chamber with author Nathan James Norman, author of the sci-fi/fantasy novel “Untold” and contributor to “The Least of These”. Norman speaks with me about his novel, the associated full-cast audio drama through Paeter Frandsen’s Spirit Blade Underground Alliance, and a bit about who he is and where he comes from. We get into the power of story to educate and change lives. We approach literature, fantasy, and sci-fi from a Christian perspective, and touch on themes of salvation and orthodoxy, the promise of trouble in this world, and the nature of God. Plus a glimpse at the internal mythology of the Untold universe.
Winston reviews "Zero Hour" by Stoney M. Setzer, and collection of spiritual suspense stories by ResAliens in paper and electronic formats.
This weekend sees the release of the new Benefit book from Critical Press Media: “Water is Life”.
Author Deborah Caligiuri joins me on the show to provide inspiration for gifts, and talk about the very personal experiences that formed the inspiration for her story in the anthology.
John Wilkerson has been Podcasting for Water all year long, and Critical Press Media is pleased to come alongside him in this endeavor!
Spam isn’t the only thing to fear from your email. Author, blogger, and podcaster Derek Gilbert joins me in the reaction chamber to discuss his novel The God Conspiracy.
Gilbert is a former radio personality who, accompanied by wife Sharon, examines the political and cultural landscape through the lens of scripture. Derek and Sharon Gilbert post regular articles on their individual blog sites: Weapon of Mass Distraction, and Welcome to the Mind of a Writer. They also host a forum, news articles, and the P.I.D. Radio podcast from a joint website: PID Radio.
Big things in the wind for the show and the web site. Not just here, either. Get a great deal on Spirit Blade while you can over at The Spirit Blade Underground. In celebration of the season and the coming changes, I’m giving away comic book grab bags to all those who write and ask. Just email your name and address for a Christmas gift from me to you. I said on the show it was going to the end of the year, but I’ve got a set number of these marked out, so the offer is good while supplies last. Gifting practices are the topic today, along with randomness from my wife, Petra. So grab a cup of cocoa and have fun with us!