Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

The Book of Strange New Things: A Novel  by Michel Faber --- 500 pages

The Book of Strange New Things is an exemplar of speculative fiction as serious literature.  It takes all the standard ingredients of "space opera" and recombines them to create an exegesis of faith, love, suffering and commitment.

The story is narrated by Peter, an evangelical Christian minister who is contracted by USIC, a mysterious multinational corporation, to serve as a missionary to the native inhabitants of the planet Oasis, where the corporation has established an unspecified mining operation.   He is excited and energized by the challenge; his only regret in leaving his life on Earth behind is that his wife and co-evangelist, Bea, cannot go with him on this great adventure.

But Oasis, once Peter arrives, continually deflects his assumptions and expectations. Even the comfort he finds in ministering to his alien flock is tainted by his failure to connect with other humans working for USIC. Even worse is the alienation he feels growing between him and Bea, left alone to cope with an accelerating social collapse into chaos on Earth.

Faber holds up the mirror of this strange new world to show us ourselves from an unfamiliar and revealing new angle.  

Click HERE for a review from the UK Telegraph.

Click HERE for a review from the Washington Post.

Click HERE for a review from the New York Times.

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