ANTIVION by Richard Sills


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A short parable about the Christian faith.

Sills presents a debut novella that’s half Mere Christianity and half Animal Farm. Readers meet a humble, unassuming “zrog” named Surooval as he hops around on his home world of Anthrogor. He soon encounters none other than Jiminy Cricket. (Sills appends a note about the character’s appearance in the 1940 Disney film Pinocchio but offers no explanation for his appearance here.) Jiminy assures Surooval that he’s on a path to Heaven—a declaration that’s confirmed by the sight of angels flying in the beautiful sky. Jiminy says that he senses that Surooval has met the zrog Jethron, the messiah, whose message of love and brotherhood is universal; as a character later puts it, “We belong to the universe and know of how kind God’s love is.” Sills goes on to provide a fast-paced, simple narrative about a gathering of souls under the care and guidance of a Galactic Union, which is overseen by a kindly deity. As the hapless Everyzrog Surooval makes his way up the various levels of his faith, he meets ambassadors from other worlds, including a delegation of Venusians. Sills presents it all with good cheer and plenty of inviting dialogue. However, the story also has a cavalier attitude toward science; the Venusians, for instance, assure everybody that “here in Venus, the sun always shines upon the new and the young” even though the sun hasn’t shone directly on the real-life surface of Venus in about a billion years. There’s nothing resembling drama in these pages; readers simply follow Surooval along his pilgrim’s progress, always with the reassurance that “[t]here is a purpose and destiny for us all” and that “there is a Divine plan for you.” The various characters morph from one physical form to another as the story progresses, underscoring the narrative’s conviction that faith has many faces and that salvation is available to all peoples. An illustrated version of this tale would make for a fun discussion prompt for young Christian students.

A lively, religious science-fiction tale.

Pub Date: April 2nd, 2014
ISBN: 978-1480909021
Page count: 104pp
Publisher: Dorrance Publishing Co.
Program: Kirkus Indie
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