The Edge of Reason: Rationalism vs. religion
Richard Oort, a police officer in Albuquerque, finds out that he is a paladin for the forces of rationality and science. He is recruited in the fight against the forces of evil: Cthulhu-esque beings from another dimension who feed on humanity's fears and pain to break through to our world and use religion to gain power by spreading hatred and fear.
The Edge of Reason is set in the present day but successfully ties the history of various myths and religions into its background. At times, the "religion = bad" message is a bit heavy (and I can imagine some people taking offense to it), but at the same time, it manages to turn this fantasy novel into a sharp social commentary that, depending on your political views, may or may not make you nod in agreement. Regardless, the connection between religion and a Chtulhu-type invasion is quite original — and it's not ev... Read More
Melinda Snodgrass(1951- )
Melinda Snodgrass was a story editor and executive script consultant on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Her acclaimed episode, “The Measure of a Man,” was nominated for the Writer’s Guild Award for outstanding writing in a drama series. With George R.R. Martin, she co-created the popular Wild Cards series of shared-world novels and anthologies. She lives in New Mexico. Learn more at Melinda Snodgrass’s website.
The Edge — (2008-2010) Publisher: Since the dawn of consciousness, a secret war has been fought between the forces of magic and religious fanaticism, and the cause of reason, understanding, and technology. On one side are the Old Ones, malign entities that feed on the suffering of mankind. On the other are the Lumina, an ancient order dedicated the liberation of the human spirit. Officer Richard Oort of the Albuquerque Police Department is caught in the middle of this primal battle when he rescues a mysterious teenage girl from a trio of inhuman hunters. Recruited by the Lumina to serve as their latest paladin, Richard ends up fighting beside a handful of unlikely allies, including an adolescent sorceress, an enigmatic philanthropist, a sexy coroner, and a homeless god with multiple personalities. The Old Ones and their mortal pawns are determined to destroy Richard — or subvert him to their cause. And they have all powers of magic and organized religion at their disposal. As the gates between the universes shred apart, it may be up to Richard to save humanity from the endless horror of a new Dark Age. Provocative as The Golden Compass or the Illuminatus! trilogy, The Edge of Reason dramatizes the fundamental conflict behind the hot-button issues of today… and the future of the human race.
The Edge of Reason: Rationalism vs. religion
The Edge of Reason by Melinda Snodgrass
According to a Gallup poll conducted in 2010, 40% of Americans believe “God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so.”
I’m not particularly interested in starting a debate about evolution versus creationism, but what I find interesting in this statistic is what it says about how religion seems to be edging out science in our country. Personally, I’ve never understood why anyone thinks they need to be in conflict, and the Catholic Church, in which I was raised, appears to agree with me (in this century, at least). But many seem to see them as being not only incompatible, but metaphorically at war. Melinda Snodgrass takes this concept one step further, and has them actually at war with... Read More
The Edge of Ruin by Melinda Snodgrass
The Edge of Ruin is a direct sequel to The Edge of Reason, an excellent present-day fantasy novel by Melinda Snodgrass in which Chtulhu-esque beings use religion to generate emotions like fear and anger, enabling them to enter our dimension. It's an unusual and original concept that led to a fascinating novel.
Unfortunately The Edge of Ruin is not quite as strong as the first novel in the EDGE series. At the start of the novel, things are in extreme disarray: Lumina's leader, Kenntnis, is incapicated; Richard Oort, the cop-turned-paladin-of-reason, is trying to get a handle on both the Lumina enterprise and his family; and worst of all, the invading Chtulhu beings have established a beachhead in our dimension, making it all the more urgent for Richard & co. to get organized.
The "&... Read More
Wild Cards edited by George R.R. Martin
Sept 15, 1946: Wild Card Day. When aliens from the planet Takis wanted to test their newly developed virus on a species that is similar to them, naturally, they brought it to Earth. Though they were thwarted by one of their own princes, a foppish alien who has become known to Earthlings as Dr. Tachyon, the virus fell into the hands of evil Dr. Tod, a Nazi sympathizer who, thinking it a biological weapon, decided to drop it on New York City. His archenemy, Jetboy, tried to stop him in a now-legendary air battle above Manhattan, but Jetboy was unsuccessful. When the virus was dumped on New York City, it killed 90% of the people it infected. Nine out of every ten who lived mutated into strange, often hideous, creatures who became known as “Jokers” while one in ten developed a special superpower and became an “Ace.”
WILD CARDS is a shared universe in which several SFF au... Read More
Aces High by George R.R. Martin (ed.)
Aces High is the second volume of George R.R. Martin’s long-running WILD CARDS anthology. In the first volume, Wild Cards, we learned how aliens from the planet Takis decided to test their new virus by using humans as their guinea pigs. In the 1960s, they let loose what has now become known as the Wild Card virus on Manhattan. Much of the world population died and many of the survivors became grossly deformed and are now referred to as “Jokers.” A much smaller proportion of those who were infected gained one or more superpowers and are now known as “Aces.” In Wild Cards, we followed several Aces and Jokers as they dealt not only with their new status in life, but also with the social and political events of the 1960s.
Aces High, which is named after the upscale res... Read More
Songs of Love and Death edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois
Songs of Love and Death is the third anthology that George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois have edited together. Like Warriors and Songs of the Dying Earth, Songs of Love and Death brings together some of the biggest names that SFF has to offer and they set these authors to work on a common theme.
Martin and Dozois offer a cross-genre anthology that ranges from Robin Hobb’s epic fantasy “Blue Boots,” which tells the story of a romance between a young serving girl and a silver-tongued minstrel, to Read More
Songs of Love and Death by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois (editors)
George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois have collected a nice batch of all-new stories from an all-star cast in Songs of Love and Death. The theme is “star-crossed lovers,” and as you might guess from the title, each tale is a love story, and many are death stories, too. Some are sad, some are sexy, and one or two are slightly sappy. Overall, I enjoyed the collection. Here’s what you’ll find in Songs of Love and Death:
“Love Hurts” by Jim Butcher may be the story Harry Dresden’s fans have been waiting for because it looks like Harry and Murphy will finally get together... or will they?
In “The Marrying Maid,” historical romance author Jo Beverley provides a Regency romanc... Read More
Circuit — (1986-1988) Publisher: The setting is the moon, where newfound industrial strength gives the frontier communities a chance to show independence from the Earth nations that established them. A leading constitutionalist and friend of the U.S. president, Justice Cabot Huntington is sent in to regain control. The stiff-necked judge looks forward to writing precedents for space law, but when his first decision leads to the death of Soviet miners he must reevaluate his position and acknowledge his own complicity in the deadly power struggle that comes to implicate both the Russian and American leaders in the miners’ murders.
Queen’s Gambit Declined — (1989) Publisher: William, Prince of Orange, learns that it is not political machinations but black magic that is keeping him from the throne, and he enlists the powers of The White Goddess to stem the rising tide of darkness.