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Discovery Paperback – September 29, 2016
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About the Author
Karina Fabian is a cradle Catholic, a geek and a family woman. Her three great loves came together in 1996, when she and her husband went on a date and came up with the idea of an order of spacefaring nuns. The ladies Order of Our Lady of the Rescue (the “Rescue Sisters”) work throughout the colonized solar system, doing search and rescue and training. The Rescue Sisters stories have appeared in anthologies, sparked fan fiction, and now have their own novel in Discovery. Karina also writes about a dragon detective working under the direction of the Faerie Catholic Church, a psychic who fought his way back to sanity to save two worlds, and a zombie exterminator. In the non-fiction arena, she writes school planners for Catholic schools, saint stories for Saint Connection, and reviews of business products for Top Ten Reviews. She helped found the Catholic Writers Guild and coordinates the online conference. She and her husband, Rob, have collaborated on four wonderful children, currently ages 15-22. Learn more about Karina and her books at http://fabianspace.com.
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Top Customer Reviews
Although I was a *little* disappointed that the aliens were already long dead (the ship has become their wrecked mausoleum), I was glad to learn that they seem to have known how to behave in the face of death. And I was glad to get to know the Discovery salvage team, a microcosm of modern humanity, some pure-hearted, some bloody-minded, many others in between. And I like the idea that someday there may be an order of religious sisters dedicated to rescuing victims of spacewrecks. Nuns to the rescue! (Wouldn't that make a great TV series?)
Among the crew are James, an archeologist, who left the seminary before becoming a priest because he was in love with Sister Rita; Sister Rita, now a Rescue Sister left James, her original order and the earth; Sister Ann, very young, devout. brilliant, weird and often cryptic, Chris, the grad student who is bright but has no backbone, his mentor Dr Thoren (lets never forget the Dr!) who rides roughshod over everyone, a bunch of miners who don’t like being treated like second class citizens and many people with hidden agendas. The characters are complex and realistic.
Ms. Fabian has written a hard SF novel. It has a lot of science in it. However, she has avoided the issue of the science overpowering the story which occurs in some hard SF. The world building is excellent. This is also an adventure story, a love story and a crisis of faith/purpose story.
Discovery is a more serious novel and lacks the wit and humor of her fantasy stories (Vern and the Zombie stories).
A research scientist poring over space telescope observations of the Kuiper Belt, that nursery of comets at the edge of our planetary neighborhood, makes an astonishing discovery: an alien spacecraft is embedded in one of the icy asteroids and appears to have been so for some time. A private expedition is quickly cobbled together under tight secrecy with the goal of traveling to the asteroid and recovering part or all of the spacecraft and its contents. Three of the Rescue Sisters, Ann, Rita, and Thomas, are contracted to provide technical training and safety oversight for the mission, shepherding the composite crew of scientists, engineers, and “rockjack” Belters. Whipping this diverse collection of people into a cohesive team is challenging, but it all seems straightforward enough until they reach the site and discover that a dangerous secret lurks within the alien craft they thought was cold and dead.
They soon realize they’ve also brought a few secrets of their own along with them on this expedition—secrets that may prove to be lethal.
I have a bit of history with this story. Karina Fabian asked me for feedback on an early draft several years ago, which I provided. I heard nothing further about it, other than she was still working on the story and was searching for a publisher. I loved it then, and it’s even better now. It is both engaging and absorbing. It’s a great adventure tale, and can be enjoyed thoroughly on that level alone, but it’s also permeated with a depth and richness of faith that is organic to the story and doesn’t feel forced or artificial.
I also love that this is classic science fiction adventure with fun, memorable characters set in a plausible and optimistic future. What a concept. I am so over bleak dystopias.
The central characters are Catholic, and unabashedly so. If you prefer novels whose characters affect a veneer of religious faith but don’t actually believe it or live it as truth, I advise you to look elsewhere, though you will be poorer for doing so. This isn’t to say that Ms. Fabian has arrayed an ensemble of plaster space-saints here for us to adore. Quite the contrary. Everybody in this story is broken and imperfect in some way, and that’s the point. Even the enigmatic Sister Ann, who seems to dwell quite comfortably in the twilit land between spiritual and physical worlds, bears a hidden wound whose healing carries its own peril.
There’s an old saying that there are no atheists in foxholes, and I think it’s safe to say that there will also be few who strike out into the void to live and work on the ragged frontiers of interplanetary space. Frontiers have a way of organizing our priorities and revealing our limitations in uncomfortable detail..
Discovery is, at its heart, about what it means for human beings to voyage into a mysterious universe of unimaginable vastness, probe the impenetrable darkness within their own souls, and discover that they are not, and have never been, alone. It’s a journey worth taking.
This is in several ways an old school SF romance. By that I mean the romantic era, with tales full of adventure, though not adventure stories. Stories with religion, but not religious texts. Stories, yes, with romance, but largely not a story about romance. This is a proper smorgasbord of storytelling, with complex characters of all stripes, and proper passions throughout the tale. 8 of 10 fell deeds.
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