I had the privilege this month of participating in a e-mail book discussion with some other Christian book bloggers. We were discussing OffWorld by Robin Parrish. This is a science fiction novel. The basic premise is that the four astronauts who were part of the first manned space mission to Mars return after two and a half years away from Earth to find the planet completely empty of people. Yes, it was quite intriguing, and that link will take you to my full review of the book.
Here's the beginning of our discussion on the book.
Amy: I have to confess I'm not sure how I feel about this book overall. I don't read a lot of science fiction so I don't have much to compare it, too. I loved the premise, but felt like everything got kind of weird, and then I realized that's how I generally end up feeling about science fiction books. What did you think of the story overall?
Ronnica: As for Offworld, I really enjoyed it. It wasn't the best Christian fiction or science fiction book I've read, but it kept my interest and I enjoyed the characters (though they could have been a little more three-dimensional).
Mark: I must admit the biggest draw for me in this book was the mystery aspect. I had to know what had happened to all the people of Earth. I had to keep reminding myself that it was science fiction. I do watch several science fiction shows on TV like Lost, so I was willing to buy into that part of the premise rather easily.
A few of the action scenes seemed to be a bit over the top. As I was reading, I was wondering if that could really happen. But I figured since I was buying in the premise that every person on Earth had vanished, I could let the questionable car chases and what not go as well.
Jonathan: Overall, I felt that the story was contrived. In comparison to the works of Isaac Asimov, Arthur Clarke or Robert Heinlein, the story lacks any overarching theme, or compelling reason for the reader to suspend disbelief. Every person on Earth, gone, great premise, and yes I agree with Mark, I did want to find out, but each chapter added another layer of barely possible, highly improbable situations that I had to also believe in order to continue to follow the story.
Carrie: I found the majority of the book to be unbelievable but, then again, it is science fiction so I was willing to accept it as-is. It certainly didn't sell me on the idea that I could learn to enjoy science fiction in a broader sense though. I wouldn't say that this is a genre that I'm going to suddenly sink my teeth into with any regularity.
Jennifer: I feel like the only one, but I really enjoyed "Offworld." I did find the story unbelievable, but I thought it was a real page turner. I don't normally read Science Fiction books. I accepted the unbelievable aspects of the books and read it for entertainment. I thought the story was original. The idea of astronauts coming back to an empty world was very intriguing, especially after being gone for such a long time. I knew Mae had something to do with everyone missing and I wanted to know what happened to Chris on Mars. His blackouts were very random. I do admit, I had a hard time remembering the difference between Owen and Chris and I thought Trisha was a strong female character.
I was disappointed with the "machine" at the end of the book. No one knew how it worked, they just knew it worked. I thought it needed more explanation.
To find out what else we discussed about the book, check out these links from the other participants:
Reading to Know
Random Ramblings from Sunny Southern CA
Behind the eyes, oversimplified
Mrs. Q Book Addict
My Friend Amy