Sunday, November 13, 2011

On religion.

They say you're not supposed to comment on reviews, but this is just too interesting to me. I just came across an Amazon reader review that cautions GLOW is a Christian novel. I was quite surprised by this, since Publisher's Weekly said GLOW has a "strong anti-religion theme."

In a strange way, these divergent opinions are proof that I succeeded in my project. In writing GLOW, my intention wasn't to take sides one way or the other about religion, but to show how divisive religion can be in a society under duress. Some people want to run to the pulpit, looking for comfort when tragedy strikes. Some people find tragedy to be proof that the pulpit makes nothing but empty promises. When these two types have to work together, the politics get interesting.

In America we have a separation of church and state which, I feel pretty sure, is part of why we've been such a successful nation. Our founding fathers recognized how dangerous things get when the government sponsors one religion over the other, sometimes going so far as to kill off anyone who doesn't bend the knee at the proper altar. But why should this be so? What is it about a person's private beliefs about the nature of existence, whether it was created or whether it evolved, that brings out such ire? GLOW and the rest of the series will explore the relationship between religion and political power, looking at both sides, good and bad. A society that shares one religion tends to have a unified vision that can achieve such marvels as the Great Pyramids in Egypt, but can also stoop to such lows as the Spanish Inquisition. These extremes are interesting to write about, and I hope interesting to read about too.

Just like the guy at the dinner party who bores you by asking rhetorical questions that he answers himself, books that explicitly answer the questions they pose aren't very interesting. This might be why readers have such extremely different impressions about the book, because they're expecting answers where there are none. THE SKY CHASERS asks the questions. It's up to readers to decide for themselves.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Space Exploration: Waste It or Worth It?

Whenever the economy takes a dive, one of the first areas the federal government cuts is NASA's space program. As a fan of all things cosmological, I always hate hearing about NASA taking another hit. In the face of world hunger and child poverty, however, it can be hard to make the case for the necessity of exploring our solar system and beyond, considering the immense cost and the rather unsure payoff. Most of what we gain from the space program is abstract answers to questions that plague astrophysicists and practically no one else. It's tantalizing to imagine a future of colonies on Mars and other planets or moons in our solar system, but is there really a point?

What are the payoffs, really, to space exploration? Do we need tangible gains to justify it, or is knowledge its own gain? What do you think?

Friday, November 4, 2011



I find the thought of deep space travel intoxicating and fascinating. However, I've got almost no guts at all. I'm not sure I'd have the courage to leave this beautiful planet Earth, with it's blue skies and caressing winds. But I don't think I can imagine a greater adventure than to travel across the galaxy to experience an alien world.

How about you? Would you leave the earth to experience another world?

And a follow up question: What if leaving meant you could never see Earth again?