Wednesday, December 19, 2007

CSFF Blog Tour: Wayfarer's Journal Day Three

CSSF Blog Tour

Whoops. The days have gotten away from me, it seems. Blame it on the new job. I don't have much time, so I'll spew my random thoughts and then it's back to planning Christmas services for me.

So what else can I say about Wayfarer's Journal? Since it is still in its infancy, it's hard to say what kind of impact it will have on the world of Christian fiction. But I noticed this afternoon that one of the current stories posted on the site relates to my point I made on Monday. Soulless by Donna Sundblad is a good example of a writer playing with a dilemma that may face Christians in the distant (or even not too distant) future. Do cloned human beings have souls since they were made in a lab?

Believe it or not, I recently had the misfortune of engaging someone in a debate over this very topic. This individual's beliefs skewed very closely to those of Pastor Haden in Sundblad's story. He was absolutely sure that clones would not have souls since they were genetic copies of another individual.

I have to applaud Sundblad's efforts in this story. She occupied Rachel's mind well enough that I seriously thought she (the author) believed that clones were indeed soulless. The sudden twist at the end was artfully put in place to reveal her true beliefs and it almost worked.

Almost. I do have a few gripes about the story itself. For starters, the fact that it's mostly a gigantic flashback of a guy preaching makes the story a little static. It's more telling than showing. It may have been more effective if Sundblad had started with Rachel leaving the church, overhearing the elderly parishioners complaints, and then heading out to meet Abigail. On the way, she could have stopped and interacted with some of these servant clones she mentions. This would have given Sundblad an opportunity to show us Rachel interacting with these people she believes are soulless. Through her actions, we could see how she looks down on them and it would have been a bit more effective.

The only other thing that bothered me was that I saw the ending coming from almost the beginning. The minute it was revealed that Rachel was adopted, I had a sneaking suspicion of what Abigail would tell her. Unfortunately, I was correct so the twist was somewhat twistless for me.

But I still think that Sundblad has hit upon what Christian sci-fi is good for. Like I said in my previous post, it allows us to examine thorny moral and ethical dilemmas before they're upon us so we can form rudimentary positions before they hit. And for that, I say kudos!

And kudos to Wayfarer's Journal as well for providing the forum. May it not be alone for long.

1 comment:

Donna Sundblad said...

Thanks for your highlight of my story Soulless. As it turns out this story has inspired me to expand the story to novel length so I can expand Rachel and all those in her life. This part of the story actually occurs in about chapter 3 now. It gives me a lot more room to develop the story in more than one direction. My biggest challenge is including technology appropriate for 40 years in the future.

Have a blessed Christmas.

Donna Sundblad