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

I admit that I was prepared to not like this book. It concerns a Christian pastor being sent to the first inhabitable planet found by humankind so that he can minister to the alien species already living there, but I quickly discovered that that was an extremely simplistic view of the story. What I had expected to be a boring read, or an annoying read, or perhaps a non-read if I put it down and never picked it up again, quickly turned into an I’m interested read. This is a book very much about people – their personalities, their relationships, their abilities to encompass certain amounts and types of information, and also their frailties. There were several unexpected heart-wrenching turns to the story, and while this is most definitely a science fiction novel, it’s one that deals with the ramifications of science as it relates to human (and alien) existence, and not just thrusters on full.

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  1. Any comparison to A Case of Conscience by James Blish?

    1. Unfortunately, I haven’t read that book and I don’t see that it’s available in digital format yet. The paperback copy alone runs from $16 to $75, so it must be out of print. I’d be willing to give it a shot, probably, if it were more easily available. I’m actually not so good with the religion thing.

      1. Hmm. Amazon was showing me that a Kindle version was available for under $10. Public library?

        I think I read it when I still lived in BR, or possibly later in DC, but in any event going on two decades ago so my recollection is fuzzy at best.

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