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1. BOOK OF THE DAY: The June 2012 List!

BOOK OF THE DAY-June

Plan in advance for father’s day! The month of June is dedicated to books for dads and boys…don’t worry, a few dads & daughter books thrown in too! Good list for reluctant readers as well as summer vacation. Enjoy!

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2. BOOK OF THE DAY: The May 2012 List

BOOK OF THE DAY-May

In celebration of Mother’s day, moms, women and daughters, recommendations span ages and areas of interest. Great for summer vacation reading too!

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3. Book of the day: April

BOOK OF THE DAY-April

The full April list is here. Get a sneak peak at the 2nd half of the month and stock up for summer vacation too!

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4. Infinite Space, Infinite God II: Frankie Phones Home

  12 Days of Sci-Fi, Day 11:

 Having stories centered either in outer space or on earth, we now have both. Frankie in space returning to earth…

 Frankie Phones Home by Karina Fabian

 Responsibility

  Editor’s comment: “God’s calling or no, she should have honored her parents by telling them personally what was going on…”

Rather than a story, this is more of an amusing intermission. Carrying on from the story first presented in ISIG volume I, we are to imagine its main character, Frankie, finally returning home. Imagine, after a two year absence in outer space, what it would be like to call mom and try to explain it all to her…well, I’ll let you read for yourself in Infinite Space, Infinite God II http://ow.ly/4F48e .

 (Karina Fabian writes a wide variety of fiction involving characters with faith. Her first anthology, Infinite Space, Infinite God I, won the EPPIE award for best sci-fi. Her humorous fantasy involving a dragon and nun detective team, Magic, Mensa and Mayhem, won the 2010 INDIE for best fantasy. She’s also written a small devotional with her father, Deacon Steve Lumbert, Why God Matters. Visit her website at http://www.fabianspace.com .)

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5. Infinite Space, Infinite God II: Dyads

  12 days of sci-fi: The end!

 Our final story is a bit of a mind-bender from the view of physical existence as well as spiritual beliefs…

 Dyads by Ken Pick and Alan Loewen

 

 Editor’s note: “The Church has not yet spoken definitively on whether or not the Christian faith applies to aliens… The current thinking is that God will manifest Himself to intelligent species in a specific manner that makes sense to them. In the case of the Thalendri–fox-like sentients who mate for life–God has revealed his sacred Trinity as Husband, Wife, and Eternal Dance. They also make it very clear that what is holy and right for Thalendri is not necessarily holy and right for humans…”

 It is a time of post Vatican VI; post Islamic wars which desecrated all physical signs of the original Christian church including the Vatican. A post-apocalyptic religion story that portrays those of a sincere faith contrasted to self-possessed fanatics. Bucky Bible refers to himself as Christian but clearly acts contrary to the foundations of his faith; extreme Muslims who cause the Islamic wars, exterminating even their Muslim brethren; and fuzzy aliens who take revenge in the name of their fuzzy religion. Each chapter begins with an excerpt from Fr. Heidler’s travelogue, the insights of which set the tone. Read the various litanies of saints closely too, to see which are real and which are of a time not yet seen!

 As indicated in the editor’s notes, this story purports that God manifests himself to aliens in a way that they understand. However, the attempt to demonstrate the alien religion is unacceptable for humans is based upon physical differences of the two species, and not theological error of the alien religion. This leaves the reader open to considering God’s relationship with his creation in a manner that differs from God’s revelation to us through scripture and tradition. As such, some readers may be offended.  Given the general belief today that people do not develop solid judgment and decision making abilities until after age 20, this story might have been better placed in an adult anthology rather than one aimed towards teens. Therefore, parents are advised to consider this within their own family values.

 (Alan Loewen lives near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, with his wife, three children, a Sheltie, a homicidal parrot and way too many cats. A pastor for two small country churches and a writer, he is working with fellow author Ken Pick on a trilogy that will further expand the adventures of Father Eric Heidler and Jill Noir, a character that appeared in Mask of the Ferret in Infinite Space, Infinite God I. His blog documenting his writing adventures can be found at http://literary-equine.livejournal.com/ .

 Ken Pick (“Dyads”): Ken Pick is a computer programmer and moderately-practicing Catholic layman from Southern California. Cursed with a hyperactive imagination, he writes (among many-many other things) in an attempt to stay sane. He is currently working with co-author Alan Loewen expanding “Mask of the Ferret” (Infinite Space, Infinite God I) and “Dyads” into a braided novel, the first book in a projected trilogy. An additional story in the same arc, “Down to Cathuria”, appeared in the small-press anthology Different Worlds, Diff

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6. Sci-Fi wrap up!

 

Well, we’ve made it through the full anthology. Virtues and traits demonstrated in the first 11 stories include:

 

Compassion & Conscientiousness

Loyalty & Courage

Respect for others

Truth

Right vs. Wrong

Honor

Contrition

Patience

Good vs. Evil

Equality

Responsibility

 Take a gander at how these compare to our character education criteria too at the Litland.com website  .

 It’s been quite an adventure, on and off earth, in and out of space, deep into the minds of people, aliens, and hybrids. Often too much like life today, such as the surrogate raising of droids in Cathedral which mirrors today’s legal battles to permit renting a womb. Characters who seem to be losing their mind; hearing voices. Profound emptiness. Real friendship. Virtual delusions in Otherworld. A fast paced, well written collection, I recommend Infinite Space, Infinite God II for family and youth group book clubs as well as classroom reading…each story provides much to think about and discuss! A good teaching tool, but also just good ol’ fiction for all to enjoy!

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7. BOOK OF THE DAY: February 2012 List

BOOK OF THE DAY-February

No need to wait until the end of February for the complete list. Here it is–plan ahead! Click on the link above, and also follows us on Facebook at Litland Reviews http://facebook.com/Litlandreviews

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8. BOOK OF THE DAY: The January list!

BOOK OF THE DAY-January

Here it is! The book of the day challenge, to recommend a new book or related media every day in 2012. January is complete, and attached for handy download–just click on the above link. February is on the way! “Friend” Litland Reviews on Facebook to see daily recommendations as they post. http://facebook.com/Litlandreviews

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9. BOOK OF THE DAY: March 2012 list

BOOK OF THE DAY-March

Spring is upon us, and you can prepare for both Spring and Summer vacations with plenty of good books! Check out recommendations for all ages, plus DVD’s and teaching too!

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10. 12 Days of Sci-Fi: Infinite Space, Infinite God II

 

 Fabian, Karina & Rob, editors. (2010) Infinite Space, Infinite God II. Kingsport, TN: Paladin Timeless Books, an imprint of Twilight Times Books. Author recommended age: teens. Litland.com recommended age: 14+ but appropriate for slightly younger, advanced readers.

Looking for something new to read? New to science fiction? Consider an anthology such as Infinite Space, Infinite God II edited by Karina and Rob Fabian. Twelve short stories, each can excite the mind yet bring it to closure in one sitting. Read it on the bus or in-between classes. Do you find that you cannot sleep at night when reading a great novel because you want to keep reading until its end? Then read short stories: go to bed with your imagine satisfied and mind at rest.

 Anthologies are great for book clubs too. Rather than progressing a few chapters per meeting, the club can complete entire stories together which leads to fuller, more dynamic discussions. This can be especially fun for a family book club, or mother-son/father-daughter reading duos.

 Final thoughts: Just because the stories have virtuous underpinnings, don’t presume these are soft kiddie tales. These stories are core sci-fi taking the reader emotionally from apocalyptic doubt to Flash Gordon-like adventure. Some are thought provoking and some are just fun. Enjoy the trip!

 Let’s begin the trip with a visit by author and editor Karina Fabian tomorrow. For today, a little bit about the book first…

 Publisher’s Description: Infinite Space, Infinite God II The history of the Catholic Church is full of heroes: men and women of courage and conviction.  Not only did these Catholic heroes live and die for their faith, but they saved others, fought valiantly, inspired the masses, and influenced nations.

 Now, Infinite Space, Infinite God II honors that legacy with twelve science fiction stories featuring Catholic heroes.  Meet a time traveler who sacrifices his life to give a man a sip of water, and the nun who faces venomous snakes to save a friend.  Share the adventures of priests who battle aliens and machines in order serve the greater good. 

 Infinite Space, Infinite God II spans the gamut of science fiction, from near-future dystopias to time travel to space opera, puzzles of logic to laugh-out-loud humor and against-the-clock suspense.  A great read for any science fiction fan!

 (Litland’s Note: Tomorrow we’ll hear from author and editor, Karina Fabian. During the book tour, Amazon has kindle and hard copy editions on sale for both the original ISIG and the new ISIG II…don’t miss out! Buy here: http://ow.ly/4F48e )

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11. Infinite Space, Infinite God II: Karina Fabian, Author & Editor

Introducing Karina Fabian!  

 After being a straight-A student, Karina now cultivates Fs: Family, Faith, Fiction and Fun. From and order of nuns working in space to a down-and-out faerie dragon working off a geas from St. George, her stories surprise with their twists of clichés and incorporation of modern day foibles in an otherworld setting. Her quirky twists and crazy characters have won awards, including the INDIE book award for best fantasy (Magic, Mensa and Mayhem), and a Mensa Owl for best fiction (World Gathering). In May 2010, her writing took a right turn with a devotional, Why God Matters, which she co-wrote with her father. Mrs. Fabian is former President of the Catholic Writer’s Guild and also teaches writing and book marketing seminars online.

 Let’s hear what Karina has to say about science fiction writing…

 Why Science Fiction?

By Karina Fabian

 Rob and I have a confession to make:  Neither of us likes literary fiction much.  Oh, we can appreciate the classics like Dickens and Twain, and I was impressed by the beauty of the language in the Secret Lives of Bees, but when it comes to angst and personal reflection, we’d like to have that mixed in with some aliens or a rip-roaring space battle.

Too often, however, science fiction gets a bum rap.  People see only the aliens or the fantastic battles in space, or they classify science fiction with “Godless” fiction, and doubt it has any redeeming value beyond entertainment.

The truth is, science fiction is often used to examine the big issues in an entertaining and “safe” environment.  Star Trek, of course, is well known for this, but it’s not unique.  Aldous Huxley’s 1984 is a classic example–an examination of a future world where comfort and security have taken supreme precedence over individuality.  This book, written in 1931, still informs our political decisions, as we balance our own needs for security against letting our government become a “Big Brother.”

Another great example, made into a movie not so long ago, was Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot.  The crux of the story (and of many of Asimov’s other robot stories) were the Three Laws of Robotics:

1.         A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2.         A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

3.         A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

At the heart of the stories lie the questions:  Can you legislate morality?  Is Right more than a set of rules to follow?

Science fiction tackles other big issues, too–prejudice (against aliens rather than a particular race–check out the TV show Alien Nation); conflict of cultures and the origin of ethics (Patchwork Girl by Larry Niven); Little Brother by Cory Doctorow looks at the opposite side of 1984–people banding together in reaction to the “Big Brother” state.  Naturally, it also looks at the impact technology has on our lives–a good one for that is Rainbow’s End by Vernor Vinge, where Alzheimer’s patients are cured and must reintegrate into a radically different society from the one they remember.

It is true tha

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12. Infinite Space, Infinite God II: Antivenin

 12 days of sci-fi: day 2.

Here we go again! Now from that somber but hopeful story from the past by Andrew Seddon, we move to a more fast-paced view of the future given by Karina Fabian:

 Antivenin by Karina Fabian                      LOYALTY , COURAGE

 Editor’s comment: “While Ann and “Tommie” were born and raised in space, Rita left Earth and joined the Order of Our Lady of the Rescue while in her 30s, and is unsure what she’s doing there.” 

 Nuns in space? Who would have thought it? Karina Fabian, of course; the same type of creative mind that fueled man-on-the-moon stories a century or more past. A religious order whose habit is t-shirt and loose pants…my kind of community! Sr. Rita is realistic with faults and proverbial warts to which we can all relate. Snake-phobic and feeling totally awkward, she doesn’t allow this to overcome her sense of commitment to others. Loyalty to her order breeds courage, and from courage comes healing of self-esteem and doubt. A great story of teamwork and adventure. Don’t miss out on it, grab a copy of Infinite Space, Infinite God II http://ow.ly/4F48e

 (About the author: Karina Fabian writes a wide variety of fiction involving characters with faith.  Her first anthology, Infinite Space, Infinite God I, won the EPPIE award for best sci-fi. Her humorous fantasy involving a dragon and nun detective team, Magic, Mensa and Mayhem, won the 2010 INDIE for best fantasy. She’s also written a small devotional with her father, Deacon Steve Lumbert, Why God Matters. Visit her website at http://www.fabianspace.com )

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13. Infinite Space, Infinite God II: An Exercise in Logic

 12 days of sci-fi day 3:

Nuns are people too, and we are given a view of the diversity of personalities who are called to the religious life as the stories move from Antivenin to An Exercise in Logic. Parents should be apprised that the salty ship commander engages in mild cussing akin to a John Wayne style character, but only a few instances…

 An Exercise in Logic by Barton Paul Levenson

RESPECT FOR OTHERS

 Editor’s comment: “She holds herself with the dignity of her position as both a nun and a diplomat, yet is willing to bend–whether that means by sneaking out in defiance of the mission  commander’s orders or going to her knees to pray when logic seems to fail her. “

 How many times, when trying to get a point across in a conversation with someone of a totally different life experience, we have said it to be alien or foreign to them? In this story, trying to explain Christianity to people raised in secluded colonies is a bit like trying to explain a life of freedom to someone whose lifelong existence has been dictated under communist rule. But even more difficult is being the foreigner…the one who cannot comprehend the faith belief being explained. A nun and expert on alien religions, Sr. Julian is called in to negotiate with a group of aliens whose obedience to the decisions and words of their ancestors is taken to the extreme, and she has a short time to learn their religion in order to prove them illogical.  Aristotle is oft quoted as saying “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”, and this story demonstrates how respectful discourse rather than angry debate can lead to Truth. For those who like stories of intellect and strategy, this one is for you! Pick up the entire anthology at Amazon http://ow.ly/4F48e .

 (About the author: Barton has a degree in physics. Happily married to genre poet Elizabeth Penrose, he confuses everybody by being both a born-again Christian and a liberal Democrat. His work has appeared in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine, ChiZine, Cricket, Cicada, The New York Review of Science Fiction and many small press markets. His e-novels, “Ella the Vampire,” “Parole,” and “Max and Me” can be downloaded now from Lyrical Press or amazon.com, and his first paperback, “I Will” is available from Virtual Tales (or amazon).   Barton was prohibited from entering the Confluence Short Story Contest again after winning first prize two years in a row.)

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14. Infinite Space, Infinite God II: Basilica

  12 days of sci-fi, day 9:

Once again, we’ve taken off to parts of the galaxy that even Spock and Captain Kirk never imagined! Basilica gives an interesting “take” on space ship architecture…

 Basilica by John Rundle

 Good vs. Evil

 Editor’s comment (quoting author): (Rundle) “A hero is the architect of his own salvation; that is the very definition of a hero. If a hero can’t do that, he becomes a supporting character with no one to support, an empty suit.”

 I agree with the editors: Basilica was a great story. Not a syllable wasted in description that created a fast paced adventure in a short amount of “space” (pages, not outer), the protagonist’s moral dilemma only exists because of his strong moral character. Loyalty to authority of admiralty, choosing to protect civilizations from evil even at the cost of their own lives, all of this heightens the dilemma. The characters know from the outset they must sacrifice themselves for the good of all civilizations; acting in a self-serving manner just isn’t a choice for them. As we are flooded with modern entertainment in all forms (film, book, cable, games) that simply offer “empty suits”, it is refreshing to have such a strong hero at the helm of this ship.

 Nine stories, nine excellent reads! Don’t miss them in the anthology Infinite Space, Infinite God II http://ow.ly/4F48e .

 (John “Fish” Rundle (“Basilica”): After graduating from college summa cum laude, John turned to writing fiction simply to relieve stress. It became a wonderful outlet for his imagination and he eagerly wrote first plays and then detective fiction then novels and finally short stories. A lifelong Christian, he enjoys writing religious fiction at every opportunity and is no stranger to writing for a Catholic audience. John lives a quiet life in the wilds of Arizona with Iris, his long-suffering wife of almost twenty years.)

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