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Amish Vampires in Space Paperback – January 14, 2014
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"Do we really need another Amish Vampires in Space book?"
-- Jimmy Fallon, The Tonight Show
"If you read no other book on this topic this year, make it this one!"
-- Dave Barry, Pulitzer Prize winning author and columnist
"Need I explain why a book sporting the title Amish Vampires In Space should, nay, must be read? What started as a joke title (and eventually spawned its own publishing imprint), evolved into a good story that is neither dismissive of the Amish nor glosses over the vampire mythology. And does this book really need any defense beyond its title?"
-- Coyle Neal, Patheos.com
"...despite the crazy title, this book is fast paced, evenly plotted, and well written. The characters were real and dramatic with very few clichés. And the overall clichés throughout the book were handled so gracefully that they really weren't as cheesy as one might believe. They became actual character details.
I really enjoyed this book. *shrugs* ...I'd recommend you give it a shot. I mean it. The book is worth the read!"
-- Lori Twichell, FictionAddict.com
"Imagine my surprise when I found myself reading an awesome SciFi story. Being of Amish decent myself, I'm drawn to stories about them, the author did justice to the way of life while offering up appropriate chills associated with vampires. A definite must read for tried and true SciFi lovers like me."
-- Jen Rattie, The Crafty Cauldron
"The plotting throughout this book was brilliant, as well as excellently paced. I always wanted to know what was going to happen next, without being left on the hook for so long that I got bored and no longer cared. I didn't think that all these variables - Amish, Vampires, Space - could fit together so well. But they did."
-- Michelle Hawley, The Book Heist
"The blending of Amish, sci-fi, and supernatural shouldn't work, but it does. The fact that it's extremely well written is why. Recommended for sci-fi and fantasy fans, and Amish fiction readers who enjoy reading those genres (which I do)."
-- Kathleen Fuller, bestselling author of Amish fiction
"I wish I had written that book."
-- Tosca Lee, New York Times bestselling author
About the Author
Kerry Nietz is a refugee of the software industry. He spent more than a decade of his life flipping bits, first as one of the principal developers of the database product FoxPro for the now mythical Fox Software, and then as one of Bill Gates's minions at Microsoft. He is a husband, a father, a technophile and a movie buff. Amish Vampires in Space is his fifth novel.
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What nutjob would write a book with this title.... and and even bigger question, how could it possibly get published?
Obviously, it all started as a joke. From the forward to the book:
"It was March 2010 and Amish fiction was all the rage in Christian publishing. Entire novelists' careers were being made in the "bonnet and buggy" genre. Publishers were telling writers, "If you don't write Amish, don't bother contacting us." What had seemed like a fad a few years ago was looking more and more like a subgenre that was here to stay. And it just cried out for a roasting. I mean, I'm quite sure that many, maybe most, Amish folks are delightful, genuine, and dear believers in Christ. But the way Christian fiction readers were flocking to novel about them, and the way Christian writers and publishers were all but worshipping them, was perhaps a bit overblown.
Whatever the cause, Amish fiction was everywhere, and it sort of frustrated those of us who didn't love it. So I came up with the comical title Amish Vampires in Space to poke fun at it all.
Then I showed the cover around to a bunch of my publishing friends, just for yuks. Fast-forward to August 2012. One of my Marcher Lord Press authors, Kerry Nietz, who had already written four novels for me at that point, contacted me and said that he'd come up with a plot idea for Amish Vampires in Space and did he have my permission to write that book. I reserved the right to not publish it until I could read it, but I told him to go for it. To my surprise, Kerry played the idea straight. Despite the humor implicit in the title (see, People Who Might Be Mad at Us, we intended this to be funny), he created a fantastic book with an altogether believable scenario in which Amish people might find themselves in space, confronted with vampires.
And yes, despite the B-Movie title, the book is a straighforward (well, as much as possible...) sci-fi work. I really did expect more of a Douglas Adams or Piers Anthony type work from the title, but, somehow, Mister Nietz has come up with a plausible way to get Amish and Vampires into a sci-fi novel in a way that makes sense.
Now, I must confess to not reading many Amish books. I think I've read two that were recommend to me, both by big-name authors (well, big name among those that write Amish books...) Both portrayed the Amish as fundamentalist, evangelical Christians, who just happened to live in a different society and ride horses. I've gathered, from talking to Amish Book fans, that just about all of them are that way. Which really does an injustice to the Amish. Kerry Nietz doesn't do that here. Somehow, despite quite possibly the most bizarre setting you've ever heard of, he portrays a more accurate refection of both Christianity and the Amish.
The books plotting is a combination of action/adventure and thriller, but it doesn't get overly gruesome. I have a fairly weak stomach, and I wasn't grossed out at all reading this (it was one of my worries, a lot of vampire books are pure horror).
(If you're curious, the 'how can vampires exist' question is handled in a straightforward way that other sci-fi books have already done. What makes it unique here is adding Amish, of all things, into the mix.)
The sci-fi element was great. The world building was spot on. A lot of thought obviously went into how everything works, and how such disparate groups could all exist in the same story universe.
There was a lot of character driven interaction here too. Conflict between the different groups, and spiritual and moral dilemmas for Amish and Englisher characters over how to relate to one another, and how to deal with the vampire threat.
The one thing I felt was missing is the humor. With a title like that, I, personally, would have preferred campy humor. Puns, jokes, ridiculousness just for the fun of it, that sort of thing. Amish Vampires in Space has none of those.
In spite of that, the book is still funny. The humor, in this case, is supplied solely by the reader. There were moments when I was caught up in the tale, stopped, blinked a few times and thought "This is crazy, and yet it works..."
As long as you accept some standard sci-fi conventions, there aren't any plot holes that make the tale not believable. And for that, I think Kerry Nietz has firmly established himself as a mad genius.
I debated giving this four stars, for the lack of slapstick humor and such, but on the other hand, with a title like "Amish Vampires in Space", it's MUCH harder to do a straight sci-fi tale, and still make it good.
So, five stars!
Before I get to the story, which I enjoyed immensely, I have a few comments about the presentation: I would never in a million years read a book with such a cynical title. And as for the old saying—never judge a book by its cover, well that has probably never been truer. I don’t enjoy vampire stories, either. No. The only reason I selected this story was because I’ve read two of Mr. Nietz’s previous novels and enjoyed them both. There is a reason behind both the title and the cover. It’s explained by the publisher at the beginning of the book, and if you’re interested, you can read about it in the Amazon sample.
So, to the story: as the title implies, there are three threads to this novel.
1. Amish—the story begins with the Amish community, and the author achieves a brilliant piece of world building in this section. I was sucked in and enthralled with the the characters and traditions on display.
2. Space. Yes, despite the title, this is a sci-fi novel, and the space ship (transporter) was fascinating—a second world successfully built by Mr. Nietz including the characters who ran the ship and a nicely nuanced love story to boot.
3. Vampires. Well, yes, but from a sci-fi perspective without the usual paranormal BS that annoys me like fingernail scratches on a chalkboard.
The threads were pulled together beautifully. The read was fast, the writing sharp and easy on the eye, the characters all worked and made sense. Tension was maintained right to the end. I can’t believe I’m typing this, but— I highly recommend Amish Vampires in Space .
Review originally written for Big Al's Books & Pals.
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