A curious communication

By , 27 June 2008 10:08 pm

Well it’s been a quiet week on the book front but I did get one fascinating communication. It was an e-mail from a PhD student in New York, who we will simply call John, saying that he was including a chapter on my series in his doctoral dissertation and asking me some questions.

As far as I can make out John’s thesis is on the attitude of evangelicals writing fiction to technology. He has sent me the chapter, which I have so far merely skimmed over at great speed. My initial response is that he’s got some things about my books right and some things badly wrong but I hope to spend an hour or so putting together some comments. But it’s a strange feeling to have yourself written about. I have read a fair amount of literary criticism and it’s very odd to be involved as the subject rather than as spectator.

I confess to having any slightly jaded view of literary criticism. A formative experience was when in 1982 the American University of Beirut, where I was an assistant professor, had a centennial conference on James Joyce. Having read a fair amount of the old man (I gave up on Finnegan’s Wake but finished Ulysses) I attended. One speaker, becoming extraordinarily esoteric, began to discuss the significance of the coinage that Leopold Bloom had on him when he took the bus journey recounted in Ulysses. We strained to concentrate and as we did, heard no more than a few miles away, the deep boom of artillery fire between East and West Beirut. Somehow, as the air in the room began to gently vibrate and our thoughts drifted to death and destruction, the importance of literary criticism faded away.

Anyway what makes this review particularly interesting is that John is not an evangelical: he says that he is a ‘secularist, though I grew up in the evangelical church and still consider myself at least “culturally” evangelical, if that is possible’. Hmm.

Well I guess I’m flattered. I normally consider this sort of thing to be the prerogative of the dead author but I have checked my pulse and I appear to be alive. It’s nice to be taken seriously.

Have a good week.

2 Responses to “A curious communication”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hey anonymous prodigy here again…few comments
    1. I got infinite day! I am bring it on a youth conference to read in the bus…I’m about 100 pages in…so far so good! I should have reread the dark foundations first. I didn’t remember who half the people were….
    2. Thats very interesting Regarding John…if he ever publishes it I would be very interested in seeing what he says.
    3. Since I missed your last post I thought I would comment on it now:
    I think the main thing you need to do is get it out more. Talk to groups or something…I know another christian author, Bryan Davis, and though I at least feel his books are not that well written he has had very good book sales by going around and speaking to schools.
    Thanks for reading this,
    Anonymous Prodigy

  2. Jonathan C. says:

    I have finished reading “The Infinite Day” and I will try to review it here without giving anything away.

    This book makes a great finish to the trilogy. The characters are engaging, and for the most part, believable. What I mean by this is that certain characters seem to have a personality that just doesn’t fit their circumstances at times: specifically, Vero. There are times when his responses make him seem much younger than he is. I couldn’t point to any one statement however, and this may simply be the result of what kind of culture he grew up in, so it is very forgivable.

    [The next paragraph contains spoilers of “The Infinite Day”. If you would not like to read such spoilers, please skip it and start reading again at the stars.]

    My second point is that the ending of the book was not what I expected. Such conjectures about the specifics of the end of time do not make for a particularly believable story and the immersion was broken for me right then. (On a side note, isn’t your idea of one of the final “rewards” a bit too presumptuous? I don’t remember reading anything like that in the Bible). Nonetheless, I was able to tolerate the ending and will consider it to be the true ending of the Lamb Among the Stars Trilogy.

    *****

    Overall, I did like this book and how it wrapped up the series. To those who are visiting this site and have not yet decided to read it or not, my advice is to pick up a copy immediately, for it is a great book.

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