CSFF Blog Tour – The Shadow and Night, Day 3


Is it me, or do these blog tours really get better and better? That’s a real question. I know I’m biased, but here’s what I see. Bloggers are genuinely entering into discussion about British author Chris Walley‘s Christian science fiction The Shadow and Night.

Once upon a time, the tour consisted mostly of standard reviews, with an occasional author interview. Now, bloggers are interacting with the book—”This is what the book made me think about” or “I noticed the author did this or that.” Then commenters are chiming in with agreement or disagreement or a new view on the subject. It’s … it’s … book buzz! 😀

I point that out because, as you may suspect, not all buzz is positive. When you start interacting with a work, you also voice the cons as much as the pros. I don’t view this as a black mark on the tour at all, especially in light of the standard PR quip: No PR is bad PR.

I mention this at all because as I’ve roamed about the blogsphere reading what others on the tour are saying, I see a consistent opinion expressed: the pace of The Shadow and Night is slow. Surprisingly, some look at this as a weakness while others view it as a strength. But even those who saw it as a weakness commented that they were so glad they stayed with the story through the slow parts because the pay-off later on was well worth it.

There have also been some comments saying that Walley has become a new favorite author or that the blogger has already ordered the next two books in the trilogy. Great stuff. The pace, for a good number of these bloggers, was not a factor that spoiled the story.

Another topic that has come up several times is the eschatological position of the book, since it starts off 11,000 years in the future and during a long run of peace after the Intervention that bound Satan. Sin still causes disease and death, but that’s about it. The opening chapters, then, portray characters at peace with one another and with God, not filled with gut-wrenching desires blocked at every turn. In other words, characters with next to no conflict. As tour participant John Otte said, he found himself rooting for evil—not to win, but just to show up.

At this point, I do want to interject, I thought the arrival of evil was foreshadowed appropriately. I thought there was an undercurrent of tension—change of some sort was on the way, but what exactly that would be … well, readers are going to have to be patient.

This reduced conflict, however, brings up another question. Are stories about Christians acting as Christians should, destined to be slow paced? Does evil always have to show up? Or can a story show in a gripping way the struggle with the evil that’s already there, in each character’s heart?

Some bloggers think that’s what Walley was able to accomplish. But my question remains. To pull this off, of necessity, must the pace then be slow?

Your thoughts?

Take time this week to see what other CSFF’ers are saying about The Shadow and Night: Brandon Barr Jim Black Justin Boyer Grace Bridges Jackie Castle Carol Bruce Collett Valerie Comer CSFF Blog Tour Gene Curtis D. G. D. Davidson Janey DeMeo Jeff Draper April Erwin Beth Goddard Marcus Goodyear Rebecca Grabill Jill Hart Katie Hart Michael Heald Timothy Hicks Christopher Hopper Jason Joyner Kait Carol Keen Mike Lynch Margaret Rachel Marks Shannon McNear Melissa Meeks Mirtika Pamela Morrisson Eve Nielsen John W. Otte John Ottinger Deena Peterson Rachelle Steve Rice Ashley Rutherford Chawna Schroeder James Somers Rachelle Sperling Donna Swanson Steve Trower Speculative Faith Robert Treskillard Jason Waguespac Laura Williams Timothy Wise

CSFF Blog Tour – The Shadow and Night, Day 2


If I weren’t locked into titling CSFF Blog Tours by the format you see in this post, I would have called this one World Building. Seldom does “setting,” one of the necessary elements of a novel, get front line billing in discussions of craft. With the exception, perhaps, of science fiction or fantasy. Without a doubt, the more imaginative the place, the more important it becomes for the reader to grasp the setting.

Chris Walley in The Shadow and Night, first in the Lambs among the Stars science fiction trilogy written for adults, does a remarkable job building a world that feels familiar and foreign at the same time.

The story takes place in the far-distant future, and Earth (or Ancient Earth as it is known) has expanded across the galaxy, terra-forming worlds into Earth replicas. The Shadow and Night opens on Farholme, a world in progress at the far reaches of the Assembly of Worlds.

On one hand there is this very “other” feel, as people travel through space by gate technology and on there ground via six-wheeled Light Groundfreighters. On the other those colonizing the world work toward its continued development, riding horseback, at times, and living in isolated, small villages. There is a remarkable tension between the advanced science and the primitive pioneering conditions.

The closest I’ve come across (and you need to remember, I’m not well-read in science fiction) to creating a similar world is Kathryn Mackel in her Birthright Project. In that story, however, the Earth had succumbed to the ravages of war. Thus the primitive.

In The Shadow and Night, the primitive is actually a result of advancement as the frontier continues to push toward the outer edges of the galaxy. It has such a natural feel, especially for anyone familiar with the settling of the American West—except, of course, the sculpting of the land to copy Ancient Earth.

In addition to the unique advanced/primitive tension, the world of the Lamb among the Stars trilogy feels dense, complex, believable, in part because of the maps and charts accompanying The Shadow and Night. But this world is not just about the geography of the place but the history of the people. It feels set in time, with peculiar cultural anomalies not found in other worlds.

Chris Walley has expertly crafted perhaps the most important element of science fiction—the world where his story can unfold.

I’ll let others on the blog tour discuss the theology connected to the fact that this world is a result of thousands of years of peace, initiated as a result of people turning to worship God. You can see what these bloggers have to say through tomorrow: Brandon Barr Jim Black Justin Boyer Grace Bridges Jackie Castle Carol Bruce Collett Valerie Comer CSFF Blog Tour Gene Curtis D. G. D. Davidson Chris Deanne Janey DeMeo Jeff Draper April Erwin Beth Goddard omitted from original list posted at CSFF Marcus Goodyear Rebecca Grabill Jill Hart Katie Hart Michael Heald Timothy Hicks Christopher Hopper Jason Joyner Kait Carol Keen Mike Lynch Margaret Rachel Marks Shannon McNear Melissa Meeks Mirtika or Mir’s Here Pamela Morrisson Eve Nielsen John W. Otte John Ottinger Deena Peterson Rachelle Steve Rice Ashley Rutherford Chawna Schroeder James Somers Rachelle Sperling Donna Swanson Steve Trower Speculative Faith Robert Treskillard Jason Waguespac Laura Williams Timothy Wise

Published in: on February 19, 2008 at 11:05 am  Comments (5)  
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CSFF Blog Tour – The Shadow and Night, Day 1


While the CSFF February tour is featuring The Shadow and Night, I want to include information about author Chris Walley.

For starters, he is one of the contributors at the Christian science fiction and fantasy team blog, Speculative Faith. You can see all of his posts, with topics ranging from fantasy and theology to a discussion of Phillip Pullman, by clicking on this link.

For another, Chris is a Brit (which may explain why he’s not been in the bookstore nearest you to sign autographs 😉 ), a Ph.D, a geologist, a husband, a father, a teacher, an occasional preacher. And then there’s that writing thing.

Under the pseudonym John Haworth, Chris published two thrillers, Heart of Stone and Rock of Refuge (why is it authors choose to write under a different name?) Some years later, he turned to science fiction and wrote The Lamb among the Stars series.

The first two books were published in the UK, then picked up by Tyndale. Two years after the books came out in paperback, the publisher decided to produce the entire series in hardback. Consequently, the first two books were repackaged under one title, the book we are featuring, The Shadow and Night.

Later that year (2006), the second hardback volume, The Dark Foundations, came out. The final novel in the trilogy (formerly the quartet), The Infinite Day, is coming out later this year. Which is especially good news for readers who hate to wait in between series.

From now through Wednesday, there will be discussion about Chris’s work, and possible about his theology. Could get interesting, but then CSFF isn’t necessarily known for it’s uneventful tours. 😉

Take time this week to see what others have to say about this adult science fiction:

Published in: on February 18, 2008 at 12:47 pm  Comments (10)  
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