CSFF Blog Tour – Offworld, Day 3

Photo Credit: Ashley Morgan

Photo Credit: Ashley Morgan

Robin Parrish, author of Offworld, the August CSFF Blog Tour feature, is a smart guy. A quick look at his Web site, and a visitor knows that Robin is aware and current with new trends in social networking. Much of his writing experience comes from online projects, and he lists his Twitter page as his blog.

All this is as it should be to reach what I assume is his target audience: the comic book crowd. Or the action-adventure movie goer. But that brings to mind a question. How many of those individuals are also book readers?

So, on to Offworld Review, Part 3 – Weaknesses. Because I am a book reader, not a comic book aficionado, certain things pulled me from the story that I suspect would not be a problem for someone in the target audience.

One issue was the implausible escapes. Interestingly, towards the end of the book, these “miraculous” feats were acknowledged as just that, but I had already reached the point where I no longer believed these escapades were anything other than high drama for high drama’s sake. It was hard for me to reverse my thinking at that point and believe that the against-all-odds survivals were evidences of the hand of God.

Another concern I had was the explanation of the technology at the center of the events. I did not find it plausible that brilliant scientists were adding to a massive machine they did not understand, but that grew more powerful with each addition.

I also had difficulty with some of the set up. The four astronauts learn that everyone else on earth has disappeared, though they apparently make no effort to verify that people in other countries have vanished.

For much of the story they seem convinced it’s possible to bring everyone back, yet I don’t see why they believe this rather than that the people have been annihilated.

And finally, when they first encounter someone else, they seem oddly lacking in curiosity. I would expect them to ask things like, Where were you when everyone else disappeared? Why do you think you were left? Was anything unusual going on the days leading up to the disappearance? Unfortunately none of that took place, and my belief in the story suffered a hit.

The greatest issue I have with the book, however, has to do with spiritual content, but I’m going to write about that over at Spec Faith, since this post is already long enough.

Just a reminder, check out what the other participating CSFF’ers are saying about Offworld. Don’t miss Ryan Heart‘s very fun interview with Robin. And there are a number of bloggers offering an Offworld give-away: Rachel Starr Thomson, Fred Warren, Katie Hart, Dona Watson, and others. Also, if you’d like to see a trailer for Offworld, take a look at Nissa’s post.

The complete and updated list of links is available here at CSFF Blog Tour – Offworld, Day 1.

Published in: on August 19, 2009 at 11:04 am  Comments (6)  
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CSFF Blog Tour – Offworld, Day 2

Today is the second of three days in which CSFF members have the opportunity to talk about this month’s feature – Offworld by Robin Parrish (Bethany).

First things in their proper place πŸ˜€ : For a list of CSFF Blog Tour participants and links to their posts, when available, see my CSFF Blog Tour – Offworld, Day 1 post.

Offworld Review Part 2 (adjacent cover image courtesy of Bethany House Publishers). As I mentioned in that article, I am having “car issues,” or more accurately Smog Certification issues (the car runs fine) which most inconveniently required me to be away from my computer again this morning.

Consequently, I decided to spread my Offworld review over the three days of the tour rather than diving into other topics associated to my reading of the book. Which brings me to the strengths of the novel.

Fans of Robin Parrish’s earlier work, the Dominion Trilogy, will recognize a similar comic-bookish style in Offworld. The action is non-stop; the pace, frenetic; the near-death escapes, nail-biting.

The multiple obstacles, the interweaving of flashbacks with supernatural visions, the surprises, and the determined efforts to thwart evil actually reminded me of Bryan Davis’s more recent work. I suspect fans of Davis could easily become fans of Parrish and vice versa.

This from tour guru, John Otte:

Parrish has a compelling visual style to his writing. I often felt like I was watching an action movie. As a matter of fact, if I had to describe Parrish’s style, it’d be that of a summer tentpole movie. Lots of action, a healthy dose of explosions, and a bunch of one-liners from a smart-alecky crewmate. If I were going to pick someone to write an action blockbuster, Robin Parrish is the person I would go to.

(By the way, John is holding a contest, so if you’re interested in winning a copy of Offworld, head to his site and leave a comment to his day-two post. And don’t miss the very fun, and very traditional “Tuesday Tunes” posted by Steve Trower at Old Testament Space Opera.)

Offworld fits well into a growing number of books put out by Christian publishing houses that I would like to see renamed “clean fiction.” This is the kind of book that has high entertainment value for those wanting an action suspense story without crude language, gratuitous sex, or needless blood and gore.

Yes, there are fight scenes, but the tone lacks the seriousness of reality (hence the designation “comic-bookish”) so these scenes don’t have dark overtones.

If you’re looking for a high action summer read, Offworld just may be the book for you.

Published in: on August 18, 2009 at 12:08 pm  Comments (2)  
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CSFF Blog Tour – Offworld, Day 1

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m having “car issues” so I was away from my computer all morning. This is not ideal during a blog tour, yet here we are, beginning the CSFF August tour for Robin Parrish‘s Offworld (Bethany House Publishing).

I’ve decided the best approach will be for me to do my review in pieces, a la Steve Rice. Today, the Story.

Best described as a science fiction suspense, Offworld takes place in the not-too-distant future. In many ways, a new TV program “Defying Gravity” reminds me of the opening of Offworld.

In the book, four astronauts are returning to Earth after a successful, first manned visit to Mars. However, as they approach re-entry, things start going wrong.

There’s a mysterious black cloud, or void, that appears for moments, then disappears. Then communication with Earth suddenly stops. Finally there is near failure of all the vital system needed to land the space craft.

Despite near blind flying, the crew brings their vessel to ground, but rather than finding a welcome of any kind, the Florida space landing strip and surrounding buildings is deserted.

The crew begins to investigate, and unearths video that shows the sudden disappearance of everyone on the base. And on the world, they assume.

Through Internet feeds of satellite pictures of Earth, they see an incredibly powerful beam coming from somewhere near Houston. So, to Houston they go. Or try to.

The simple cross-country trip is fraught with more dangers than they encountered in space, and all the time, the questions mount. What happened to the people? Are they still alive?

The weary astronauts are determined to get some answers.

But of course, I’m not going to pass along any of the answers to you. That’s for readers to discover. πŸ˜‰

Take some time to read the views of the other CSFF participants in the Offworld tour:

Published in: on August 17, 2009 at 1:23 pm  Comments (9)  
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