Category: Infinite Day

Reviews and news

By , 20 June 2008 6:30 pm

The Infinite Day has been out now for best part of three weeks and so I am more or less able to take stock of where things are going. The good news is the reviews (all Amazon, my Facebook site or e-mailed to me) are excellent. Let me share three with you from last week alone.

From email
This is some more random fan-mail 😉 I’ve just finished reading The Infinite Day, and wanted to say a big thanks to you for writing the Lamb Among the Stars series. It’s been the most enjoyable series of novels I’ve read in the last 10 years. Not only did I enjoy the story and the characters, but their world, faith and technology was well done, intrigued me and kept me hooked.
You’ve managed to write novels where the story revolves entirely around the Christian faith, yet kept subjects of the faith very natural and integrated, and without any of our modern day jargon. As a Christian, I found it quite thought provoking. I felt you did a great job of presenting the essentials of our faith and how it works out and yet without dogmatically presenting a fixed view of the end times etc.
Please keep writing!
Oh, and – good ending to The Infinite Day! Certainly not what I expected by the time I got there.

From Amazon.com

5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant finish! June 13, 2008
By E. M. Tennessen (The Windy City)
The Infinite Day is the concluding book in the Lamb Among the Stars series by Chris Walley. The book brilliantly finishes the adventures of Merral D’Avanos and his friends as they battle the return of evil to the universe. Chris Walley is adept at combining science fiction with Christianity. While the Christian worldview is mostly Protestant, as an Eastern Orthodox Christian I found much that resonated with me about how God is and how much He loves us. The Assembly was a wonderful preview of how the Kingdom of God may be acted out. And Jorgio is very much a “fool for Christ.” While the book deals with the evil one and his minions, the story is more about how the characters battle the growing evil and corruption within themselves, how they throw that off, and how they continue to struggle to be like Christ. The ending had definite C.S. Lewis overtones–resembling the ending in The Last Battle (Narnia)–where all is revealed and beyond imagining. It was thrilling and brought tears to my eyes. If you enjoy a good tale about the triumph of good over evil with characters that will touch your soul and heart, this series is for you. And it’s superb science fiction, too! Highly recommended.

Bravo Chris Walley! June 19, 2008
By Patricia Cummings “dogs5” (Maryville, MO USA)
The final book in this series was not only well worth the wait … it shows the author’s growth as a writer throughout the series. The first book was a slow read, but the profound concept of a sinless world once again having to battle evil made it worth the effort. The pacing picks up in the next and the theology deepens. The final book is a masterpiece of Christian fiction. The author balances multiple plot points, a host of believable characters, and never loses the reader’s interest. The battle against evil occurs on many fronts … there’s a real enemy to be fought externally but it must be done in community and within each individual human heart. It’s beautifully done. Add to that mix the dimensionality of heaven and hell and probably the most satisfying ending in modern fiction… wow. Well done, Mr. Walley! May the REAL force be with you!

It’s hard to complain about things like that. I find it particularly satisfying that I am praised for effects I have tried to achieve.

Anyway that’s the good news. What however is less good is that sales figures are not particularly high. The most obvious source of information on how the books are actually doing is Amazon.com. Here I find a slightly worrying phenomenon: while the final book is doing okay-ish, the first two books have shown no pickup in sales. In other words, it seems that people who have started the series are happily reading the conclusion but the final book is not lifting the series as a whole. As you can imagine I find this all rather frustrating; had the series being critically damned I would have shrugged my shoulders and said ‘well I guess I deserve low sales’. But to get praise and low sales seems perverse. But then perhaps the whole point is that the universe is indeed just that; perverse. Short of that rather naive theological reflection has anybody got any bright ideas what we do about sales, promotion and the rest?

Chris

What didn’t happen this week

By , 6 June 2008 4:59 pm

By definition we fantasy authors are blessed with imagination. As it happens the good Lord has ensured that there is an appropriate price to pay for this blessing. (No blessing comes without its dark side). In the case of fantasy authors it is that things never totally live up to our greatest expectations.

As proof of this, let me tell you about the many things that have not happened in the week or so since The Infinite Day made it out into the big wide world.

  • I have not had phone calls from Oprah in the States or her equivalent in the UK, ‘Richard and Judy’.
  • I have not been contacted by my local library asking for copies.
  • Christianity Today has not asked me whether I would mind my face appearing on the cover.
  • Barack Obama has not asked me for my endorsement.
  • Spielberg has not phoned me saying he has some spare time on his hands now he is not doing the Olympics and could he please have the film rights.
  • I have seen no mention on Amazon that they are out of stock and are waiting urgently for the reprint.
  • No literary agent has e-mailed me asking me if they can please deal with the next series of books.
  • No pre-millennial, post-dispensational, pre-tribulation preacher has threatened to burn my books.
  • The local press have not rung the doorbell.
  • The bank has not been in touch offering me a special account for high earners.

Well, it could be worse. I have had two good reviews on Amazon, some nice comments and been emailed by a student wanting to do a Role Playing Game based on the books. (Being an old Beirut hand, when I read the e-mail first, I assumed RPG meant rocket-propelled grenade and got excited that I annoyed someone so much I was going to be attacked.) Anyway it’s early days and lots of people are still ploughing their way through what is after all a long volume. And, I don’t earn my living from writing. It could be worse indeed.

Have a good week

Chris

Of books and plate tectonics

By , 30 May 2008 6:00 pm

I am away at my mother-in-law’s in the English Midlands this weekend so I’m writing this a couple of days early on the basis that we can set up the automated blogger system to post this on the Friday as normal.

First things first: if you read last week’s blog early you will be under the misapprehension that I was subjected to some capricious editing. Not so: the ‘mistake’ friends, was mine. Anyway please note the correction.

Word has it that copies of The Infinite Day are now out in the wild at least in the United States and so I am hoping for reviews fairly soon. Can I make a plea here that, if you are thinking of posting a review (and do post favourable ones come the summer) that you avoid spoiling the plot? I went to quite a lot of trouble to put in some twists and turns and a little bit of bluffing in the book, and would appreciate it if that went unexposed. Certainly on this blog site I reserve the right to edit, prune or delete anything that I think may spoil the enjoyment. On the Facebook fansite there is a special discussion section for those that have read the book. Gosh, that all sounds rather miserable doesn’t it?

I have been keeping an eye on Amazon.com and have been pleased to see my ratings briefly rise up to 6,000 or so for The Infinite Day. Of course we really need to get them down to the thousand mark but it’s progress. I saw somewhere that they reckon the average book sells 99 copies. So I guess I’m a success. Hmm.

Anyway, with it being a wet half term I have been sitting indoors either scribbling frantically or working at the computer putting together ideas for the next book series. Some of you may be fascinated to know that something of a priority has been to get my geology right. So I have been playing around with plate tectonic models to produce convincing lines of volcanoes and the right sort of coastline. Well if Tolkien could spend years tweaking his grammar then I can do the same with geology.

Incidentally, if you are at all unfamiliar with plate tectonics it really is astonishingly powerful in its ability to explain landforms and ‘the way the world is’. It is so compelling that although commonly termed the Theory of Plate Tectonics it has the much merited status of fact. I have only ever heard of a single reputable geologist who disagreed with it; and he dissented over one aspect of it. I rarely talk about creationism here; I am already suspect as far as eschatology goes. (If you really insist in pigeonholing me I am an Old Earth or Continuous Creationist.) However I cannot resist mentioning my suspicion here that the shift in focus of creationism from ‘The Flood did it all’ to Intelligent Design reflects the fact that plate tectonics makes an overwhelming case for an ancient Earth. Plates a hundred kilometres thick can hardly race around the surface of the Earth hitting each other, separating and hitting something else over a few months. It must take an awful long time: but given that the Bible talks about a long timescale for the earth (Habakkuk 3, Psalm 90:2-6, Micah 6:2) that isn’t a problem.

Anyway have a good week,

Chris

On books, basketball and forgetful authors

By , 23 May 2008 4:35 pm

Dear Reader, if you previously read this blog, read again! This is an updated version.

On Monday a package was awaiting me when I got back from College; my own copy of The Infinite Day. Three quarters of a million words finished! I was tempted to mutter ‘Lord, now let thy servant depart in peace…’, but there’s plenty of other things do yet. Anyway it looks very fine and to those who like to see such things, here are all three together in a complete set.


Frankly, there have been times when I thought we wouldn’t get this far. And we have! Well God is faithful but I am also grateful to you, my fans who have kept the project alive.

I have barely dared open the new book for fear that some horrible spelling error or grammatical infelicity would leap out and assail me. However Alison, my wife, editor and dedicatee, started to read through it again and seems to be enjoying it. However she was extremely irritated about one petty point. On one page Merral and his team are described as playing basketball on the ship.

Now if you read the first version of this blog, you will note that we presumed an editor or proof-reader had changed this from the original teamball. But no, after writing the blog I received a very gracious message from my editor. She pointed out, which I had completely forgotten, that the author himself decided to ‘revive basketball’ because there was not enough room for teamball on the ship. I apologise profusely to my very careful editors, another of whom queried what I’d done on the grounds that in the other books the game was always teamball.

Actually, the invention of teamball (which is never properly described in the books) is significant in a deeply profound way. How so? The fact is, almost all sports have national overtones: Brits play football, Americans play baseball, the Welsh like to think they lead the world at rugby, and so on. And basketball is, largely speaking, American. Now this is important because in the Assembly we are envisaging some sort of millennial society and I was trying to do my best to avoid it sounding no more than ‘Yanks in Space’ or the ‘Return of the British Empire’. (Incidentally one of several unwritten rules in this household is that if ever anyone wants to make the films, one condition will be that the emblem of The Lamb Among The Stars must bear no resemblance whatsoever to any current national emblem, whether it bear stars or not.) But let us allow the Assembly to play any game they like, without our nationalist overtones. (I will let you spot a reference to another widely-played game for yourselves when you get the book.)

Teamball or basketball is a minor point. The Infinite Day is a super production and I want to publicly thank Tyndale for all their hard work.

Have a good week

Chris

Books, BigDogs and Wetlands

By , 28 March 2008 7:01 pm

This has been a particularly cold Easter in the UK and even down here in Swansea we have had flurries of hail and chill winds. I’ve been busy despite being on holiday, but some sun would have been nice.

Two items of news first. First, Tyndale have kindly let me post the typeset first chapter of the Infinite Day so if you want to read it try this link. Whether it is related or not but the pre-orders for the book are looking quite nice on Amazon. Secondly, I came across some fascinating video of a large mechanical/robotic dog (the BigDog project) on the web this week, an impressive feat of engineering and electronics. It’s some way away from my Krallen but not that far. I note that they are talking about these things carrying ammunition on their backs to the battlefield. That’ll be the first generation; the second generation will use the ammunition; the third won’t need it.

What else is news? Well, we have an joint churches initiative in the UK this year called Hope 08 and I have been getting involved with the environmental project side of this in Swansea. The planning is that on the May Bank holiday we will gather as many volunteers as we can from our churches and go down and try and tidy up a very unloved cycle path and sports ground next to a rather fine wetland. It’s in an area of Swansea that is distinctly post industrial and some of the rubbish/trash is dreadful. I thought this would be cue to put in a couple of photographs; so let’s see whether this works.


I don’t talk as much about the environment on this blog as I ought to as it is something that I am very interested in. There is a new book by the head of A Rocha, Peter Harris, called Kingfisher’s Fire: A Story of Hope for God’s Earth which I intend reading when I get the time. It updates the history of A Rocha and gives a lot of thought to the basic of Christian environmental involvement. It includes a chapter on the Lebanon project that I was involved in starting up. Peter gives a not entirely flattering picture of me but, hey, I guess he has to be honest.

Anyway there is a major role to be had by Evangelicals in environment for all sorts of reasons, some of which I may develop in other blogs. It is often assumed that it’s New Agers who dominate the environmental world. Actually, I think that is an utter misrepresentation. In my experience, New Agers love the countryside and nature and have a deep sense of its mystery and beauty but they do not have the doctrine of incarnation or a model of servanthood that Christians have. The problem is that an awful lot of environmental work is actually not very mystical or spiritually uplifting; for example, we are going to be doing a lot of picking up of plastic, scrap metal and worse. Anyway it needs doing and it will be a great witness for the evangelical churches in this town if we can get a couple of hundred people out to help tidy things up. Mind you, a pack of those BigDogs with panniers wouldn’t go amiss.

Every blessing.

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