I received an electronic copy of this novel from the author, in exchange for an honest review.
Christian fantasy and science fiction tend to be very hit or miss for me. While I try my best to support the genres because I really want to see them grow, some the novels tend to feel unoriginal and poorly written. I have read many works of Christian speculative fiction that left me frustrated and underwhelmed. In my opinion, Christian art of any kind, be in fiction or music or visual media, should hold itself to a higher standard than its secular counterparts in order to more powerfully proclaim the message Christians are sent out into the world to share. There are indeed novelists and poets and musicians that hold themselves to said standard, but this is far from the norm.
Just as we wouldn’t stand in awe of a shanty simply because the builder slapped a cross on the front door, so we shouldn’t praise Christian art that offers little of merit outside of the Christian message plastered across it. There have even been multiple artists throughout that years that, when turned down by the secular market, have reworked novels or lyrics into something PG and sprinkled some Jesus into their work so that they could market their music or books as Christian, not because they felt any strong calling to share the message of Christ but because Christian markets were notoriously easy to break into.
Thankfully, in the past fifteen years or so there has been a gradual paradigm shift in the world of Christian art. Slowly but surely, more artists are honing their craftsmanship and presenting something that has merit outside of simply being safe enough to stock in Christian bookstores. Things have changed so much in fact that the Christian marketplace is now considered oversaturated by many publishers and record labels, resulting in fierce competition for fewer slots. This leaves many Christian artists who are genuinely passionate about proclaiming Christ to the world through art, and have actually spent time honing their craft and creating something original, without a way to share their work on any type of larger scale. This is were technological advances and changes in how the general public finds and consumes their goods has helped tremendously. There are a plethora of talented authors and bands who have found ways to self-publish and market themselves. Generally, however, this is a only pursued by those who are incredibly passionate about their work, as it is costly and time consuming and oftentimes not very rewarding. But I’m thankful that artists continue to pursue their passions and share them with the world to the best of their abilities, because while there are definitely some self-published works that are disappointing, there are many hidden within the masses that are diamonds just waiting to be discovered.
I found Supraphysica to be one such book. Boudreaux took a genre that often feels cheesy, Christian sci-fi, and developed a story that was unique, well researched, and very well told. Three angels are tasked with gathering and training a group of young adults to complete an assignment that is unlike any other. The students are tasked with creating a new planet capable of sustaining life. Obviously this is not something remotely feasible for the richest and most intelligent of scientists, much less of group of kids. However, they are informed that they will not actually be creating; utilizing a method called “supraphysica,” these kids will direct the creation process through prayers to God. The group must still research every intricate facet of their assigned tasks in order to know what exactly they are to pray, and they must have absolute faith that their prayers will be answered.
I loved the inclusion and importance of science in this story. Often in modern society Christians are viewed as less intelligent than their non-Christian counterparts, and our interaction with the sciences are the most common example of Christians choosing willful ignorance instead of accepting things many now believe to be concrete facts. We are portrayed as backward-thinking and hostile towards the sciences, when in fact the vast majority of the scientific community’s founding fathers were themselves Christians. I believe that science is more likely to draw a person toward belief in God than to push them further from Him. I think that science reveals incredible facets of life that we would never see otherwise, and that said revelations point more and more strongly to the existence of an intelligent Designer of the universe. Boudreaux does a great job of honing in on this concept in his story.
The prose in this book was straightforward and concise, and the writing was immaculate. Throughout my reading, I never once recall finding a grammatical error or typo, for which I am always on the lookout. The cast of characters was fun and fairly believable, though there were a couple of things that threw me off just a bit. Firstly, there were a few conversion experiences that I thought were just a bit too easy. Coming to a faith usually involves internal struggle and time to consider, whereas there were three conversion experiences in this story that were unnervingly quick. The inclusion of one of these converts into the supraphysica group on the very day of his conversion was also a bit much for me as a reader to swallow. Secondly, there were maybe a dozen or more instances of cursing in this book. While I have no problem with this, there are many people in my life who, if they picked up this book after seeing it billed as Christian fiction, would be incredibly offended by the inclusion of the f-word and such. I am not one of these people, but I can see this resulting in some upset messages from readers.
I really enjoyed this book, and am incredibly impressed at the quality of writing and the concept. While it wasn’t perfect, it was definitely original and unique, and was difficult to put down. Boudreaux is an author I would definitely read again, and one I would recommend to any sci-fi fans who would like a story from a Christian perspective.