Tuesday, August 18, 2009
CSFF Blog Tour: Offworld Day Two
Yesterday I compared Offworld by Robin Parrish to a summer blockbuster. Maybe I should get a bit more specific about that comparison. To me, Offworld is a popcorn flick ... er, book. While it was an entertaining read and I enjoyed it while I read it, once it was over, I didn't feel really satisfied.
The reason why is because this book seemed really light in terms of Christian elements. Oh, sure, there are some vaguely spiritual elements to it (i.e. Commander Burke occasionally offers up a generic prayer before a particularly action-packed scene), but the Christian content is light to say the least.
Now I know what some of you are saying. But what about the [--- PLOT ELEMENT REDACTED ---] at the heart of the [--- PLOT ELEMENT REDACTED ---]!?! That was Christian!" Yes, it admittedly was. But the aforementioned redacted plot element was, simply put, a MacGuffin.
What's that, you ask? A MacGuffin is a term popularized by the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. It's the supposedly important item that drives the plot of a story and sets the protagonist and antagonist against each other. Yet here's the thing: a true MacGuffin isn't important in and of itself. It could actually be exchanged with something else and the plot wouldn't be affected, not in any significant way.
Sadly, the entire Christian element of Offworld is one gigantic MacGuffin. It has absolutely no intrinsic value to the storyline as a whole. If we were to perform a literal deus ex machina on this story and replace the Christian MacGuffin with a non-Christian one, very little about the overall story would change. Burke and company would still be heading for Houston. They'd still be facing the same ... well, I won't get into that right here. Not much would actually change in terms of plot.
In other words, the Christian content of Offworld isn't central. It's more of an afterthought. At least, that's the way it seems to be from where I'm sitting.
Now there is one other Christian element that exists in this story, but given the sheer repetition of this element in non-Christian fiction (think Harry Potter in The Deadly Hallows), it's not enough to classify this book as truly Christian fiction. It's fiction with Christian overtones.
That doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy this book. I did. Like I said, it's an entertaining read. But I didn't see much more to it than what's on the surface.
Am I wrong? Let me know. And don't forget to enter the contest so you can get a copy for yourself. Go and see what everyone else has to say:
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Todd Michael Greene
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Eve Nielsen (posting later in the week)
Rachel Starr Thomson