| Book Review, Through Spiral Eyes by Dawn Smit
Reviewed by Rev. Steve Alsum, Cragmor Christian Reformed Church, Colorado Springs, CO
Dawn Smit, in her first published novel Through Spiral Eyes, creates a science fictional world within our universe, created by God but very different than our world. It is a world where political and military power is god. The feline anthropodic Hasshevaran race is the crown of the creation in this world, but they have lost any sense of their (and our) creator. Following the universal pattern, they have replaced worship of the creator with that which is created. They worship ancestors who have kept the power intact.
Dawn Smit brings her readers to this fictional world which is suddenly confronted by God’s own redeemer, Hesis (Jesus), in the lives of the earthlings whom the Hasshevarans meet. How will the presence of Hesis change their world? Will these Hasshevaran changes resemble the redeeming changes of our human world?
Now imagine the world we call Postmodern. It is our world. Young people coming to grips with the major human and divine issues no longer listen to lectures and debate with syllogisms. They understand factual truth as little more than opinion. And yet, these developing minds still grapple, wrestle and chew on the ageless major human issues such as good versus evil, human will and God’s sovereignty, and so forth. While the subjects remain the same, the method of inquiry is different in our postmodern world. As Scott Roberts, a campus pastor working for Intervarsity, told me, “I can no longer give a lecture and expect intelligent debate. Now stories replace lectures and discussion replaces debate. Movies such as The Lord of the Rings spark far more questions and discussion than a lecture ever could with this current generation.”
So who are those creating the stories in our world? Writing the material to replace the lectures and debates? Painting worlds within the minds of those grappling with the major human issues? Many of them are Science Fiction and Fantasy writers who have (often antagonistically) turned their backs on God. As a result, they create worlds with either no God at all, or with imagined gods. The frightening truth is that they attempt to deal with life’s greater issues of good and evil, life’s purpose, and so forth from within a world that does not exist; they try to deal with reality in a world of unreality.
Science Fiction and Fantasy are very powerful, for they portray worlds that authors create as alternatives to God’s world. These are worlds they would have created had they been God. Authors experiment with the humans they create, controlling values, morals, and motives. For instance, some authors portray worlds where strange violent sexual practices are valued as forms of affirmative domination over other creatures. They create a moral system of their choosing. More serious, they give their characters a sense of the meaning of life according to their own fancy. Supernatural fatalist Terry Brooks makes his world fatalistic and overpowered by evil, while Robert Jordan creates a world based on reincarnation.
If ever there was a time in history for Christians to write good, well-crafted fiction, it is now. A good story will bring light. An intriguing, thought-provoking tale, written from a Christian heart, is needed today.
Dawn Smit recognizes the great evangelical importance of taking on this story-telling science fiction, and presenting a world in which God has brought his redeemer. She is making a gifted and valiant attempt to write truly Christian Fantasy and Science Fiction. Those using Science Fiction to explore the great issues of life need such well written stories. Pastors, evangelists, youth workers would do well to read this book and use its story to spark discussion about our Redeemer.
© Dawn Smit Miller 2002-2003
All Rights Reserved.