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The Apastron Reports

[The Apastron Reports] The Apastron Reports: Quest for Life
by John Senneff
Published by Quality Publishers, 2005
Amazon.com: hardcover
Amazon.ca: hardcover
Amazon.co.uk: hardcover
Reviewed by: Greg Slade

I have long argued that it is certain death in marketing terms to compare a new book to an established best-seller. Unfortunately, the blurbs for The Apastron Reports can't resist the temptation, comparing it favourably to both C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia and J.K. Rowlings' Harry Potter books. This sets up a level of expectation which very few authors can live up to, and fewer still first-time authors. Thus, Senneff doesn't have a chance, even before people open the book itself. (The publisher doesn't do Senneff any favours by pitching the book as "science fiction", either, since by chapter two it's clear that scientific facts aren't allowed to get in the way of the story. Even the title, as the last chapter makes clear, is thrown in because it sounds cool, rather than because it has anything to do with what happens in the book.)

The story follows two brothers, Billy and Sam, who are discussing the possibility of life on other planets when the archangel Michael appears and offers them the chance to go and see for themselves. There follows a string of visits to different planets. Some of these visits seem to be designed, like the events in The Pilgrim's Progress, to illustrate spiritual truths, while others seem to be thrown in to make the story more exciting. However, those stories which seem to be allegorical inadvertantly undermine the main theme of the book (which is to glorify God as creator), because the societies portrayed are all similar to earthbound humanity, thus implying that God has, in a sense "repeated Himself" in creation, in violation of C.S. Lewis' observation that all of space and time are too small for Him to write Himself out once, and therefore He has no need to repeat Himself. (June, 2005)

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