7/30/2007

Some Questions and Mark Mynheir's The Void reviewed

There has been talk among LGGers about how CBA publishing houses will not pick up certain kinds of novels, such as fantasy, sci-fi and horror. And if, on the slim chance they do, the books are by an already established author or the books are labeled as a different genre.

Take Robin Parrish’s Fearless, for example. Several reviewers on the CSFF tour stated they thought it was more a superhero type (I guess sci-fi) book and not suspense, as it is labeled.

I think that The Void, by Mark Mynheir, is another such novel. It is labeled suspense, but has a sci-fi plot--demon inhabitation of clone bodies. Yes, it is suspenseful. But why isn’t the book labeled science fiction? Is it too “tame” or are there too many elements of suspense within? Perhaps.

I can see why The Void made the cut—it is well-written and thought out. The Christian worldview is clearly laid out and Christian characters provide the example sufficient to bring another character to Christ.

The Void is coming up on the CFBA tour in August, but I’d like to review it here in hopes that many others will read it. I think it’s a good example of how sci-fi can get published in the CBA. I’m very surprised that the CSFF blog tour hasn’t picked up this novel—I think it would be a fitting addition.

My review of The Void:

Robbie Sanchez works homicide cases for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Ever since her father was killed in the line of duty, she has determined she will rid the streets of criminals. A workaholic, she pushes away any real relationships and substitutes work in their place.

When a Palm Bay detective is murdered, Robbie and her fellow officers must investigate the crime. It seems to be the work of a cop killer. But the discovery of more clues bring attention to a large scientific research facility called Lifetex. The CEO claims ignorance, but cures for diseases aren’t the only things the center is searching for. Secretly, clones have been created and await their first breaths in the world. But have they unleashed hell in the process?

Mynheir, in an engaging and clear fashion, explores pushing the moral boundaries of science. He hypothesizes through story what clones would be like should any be successfully produced.

The author brings forth the theme of spiritual warfare as well. Do Christians look any different than other humans in the spirit realm? How do we, as believers, fight unseen evil? Should up close opposition to Christ cause us to fight more aggressively for what we believe?

Entertaining and thought-provoking, Mynheir pens something here that I know a lot of LGGers have pondered for years. This isn’t the first, nor will it be the last novel dealing with cloning and the reality of demons. I really enjoyed this supernatural suspense/sci-fi double whammie. Pick up a copy and judge for yourself—you’ll be glad you did.

1 comment:

karen_m said...

I've read the book for the upcoming blog tour and my guess was that cloning is so close to modern science that the CBA's "sci-fi alarms" didn't go off. And also I think you're right....the industry does seem to love "suspense" as a catch-all for genre stuff.

One of the things I found interesting about Mark's book was his idea that clones would be without souls and non-human. This is speculative fiction we're talking about, and he has every right to speculate however he wants, but it's definitely an uncommon point of view for a Christian novel, since most Christians take the high road on life issues. I don't think he intended to be controversial; the clones are pretty much a plot device to enable him to deal with the larger demon-possession idea. But still, I had to smile at the thought of a mainstream Christian author being unintentionally subversive.

I personally think clones will have souls because I believe God gives the soul at conception, whether it's in a petri dish or a womb. And you have to start with conception, even with clones. They would be distinct and individual human beings, pretty much the equivalent of identical twins to whomever was cloned. And I don't believe you can have thought or intelligence without a soul/spirit element....ie, you can't be just a body and a brain.

Even if his clones were non-human technically, they looked and appeared human, which made me a little bothered by how casually he had the police dispose of the batch of unactivated clones at the warehouse scene, near the end. I don't care what kind of cop you are, if you have to kill a biologically alive 12 year old girl, you're going to have some trouble.

I did think it was a pretty good novel. Reminded me of the X-files a little with its detective/supernatural blend.

Karen