Anyway, Christmas morning, after all the hubbub was over and my kids were happily fighting over who was touching their toys without permission, I snuck upstairs to check on sales and reviews for Alpha. I found an interesting review, which you can read part of here:
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Let me start with... I love this series!!! Unfortunately book #4 read too much like an indoctrination to Gowans' religion. The first couple of mentions were great as they added depth to the characters but after a bit it became tedious. I actually skipped those parts and did not lose or miss any of the "vital" parts of the story. Vital is entirely a matter of opinion of course.
I feel the author let the story down with the massive quantities of religious dogma, including multiple full page prayers, continuous insertions of scripture.
I did however enjoy the detailed Walter Byron backstory. However the way that it fed into and resolved the main storyline was trite and obvious. After the first three books I expected more.
The twist at the end was pretty good.
Overall the series is shaping up like a George W Bush horror story. It places God on one side and cloning and other genetic sciences on the other. This is not always clear unless you notice that one side never mentions God or the bible while the other side provides a continuous barrage.
Based upon this book and the very obvious religious Good Vs Evil leanings, including the "white light" near death towards the end, I will probably stay away from the series conclusion.
I like my science fiction, filled with science. The religious hokum can stay in fantasy where it belongs.
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Well, although I rarely respond to reviews, I felt compelled to respond to this one. The response is long, so I won't post it here, but you're welcome to read it at this link:
While I truly do understand people shying away from preaching in fiction, I don't get why certain people absolutely can't tolerate the presence or discussion of life after death or the existence of God in fiction. I have intentionally avoided being preachy. I think I've succeeded at it, too.
Most people won't be shocked to know that I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or "Mormon Church." However, I don't feel that my books are the venue to push my beliefs. I think if I were to try, I'd lose readers, probably even many who ARE Mormons themselves. People simply don't like being preached to when they're not in a setting specifically for preaching. I know I don't.
Have I ever pulled from my experiences and put them in fiction? Sure, there's a scene where Sammy and Al dress up as Mormon missionaries in Psion Delta. I thought it was funny and so I wrote the scene. Still, I did not hear a single complaint about that. So I guess my question is: why are some people shocked or offended about generic religious exploration from a main character in a fiction series?
Surely people saw this coming. I've been building up to it for 3 books. I can't imagine ANYONE being involved in a struggle such as what Sammy and his friends are going through, and not questioning the nature of God and man. War and violence has profound effects on the people involved, civilians and soldiers alike. Life changing events in general have that effect: Death, birth, marriage, etc. Major changes in life cause people to reflect and meditate on what they believe. Why should I not explore this for Sammy?