Archive for the 'The Enclave' Category

Walking in Fog

Last week, in the process of looking for something else, I stumbled upon a documentI created in 2007 called “The Muddled Phase, which is a collection of quotes from various nonstops I had made when I was beginning The Enclave.

Once again, they track dead on with what I’m experiencing now with Sky, and it was such a help for me to read them, again, I thought I’d share.

“Gah!  I hate all this muddled thinking I’m doing!  Just completely mushed up and tangled.  Nothing clear, nothing right.  A mess.  Ideas float in and out.  Who knows if they’re any good?  They sort of fit, but then need modification.  I just don’t know what I’m doing.  It all feels like a stupid idea, I should just give it up and go write something simpler.  But . . .

“I do recall feeling this way about Arena.  And about Eidon, for that matter.  So.  Again, I must walk by faith.  And again I am in the fog.  Where I can’t tell if I’m going forward or backward, where I’m going, if I’m actually going anywhere, or just in a circle.

“In fact, it’s hard to even think about any of it.  As I start to grope for it mentally, it seems to recede and fall into a jumble.  I want to wrest it all into order, and yet there’s nothing to hold onto.  Not even a direction to head in.” 

–Snip questions, possibilities, ideas –

“Hmmm. That could be interesting.  Urk and urk.  Swirling again.  Maybe I should just try and write it.  I don’t know.  Maybe I need to lie down or iron or something.  Something constructive.  Something besides just sitting here staring at the wall having half-formed thoughts flit in and out.  It’s maddening.  Maybe I should just paint.  Or clean or . . . but I don’t want to do any of those.  I want some order.  I want a map.  I want it now.  I have to make it myself.  My brain won’t cooperate. 

“Interesting about …” [and then my mind flits to something that is completely irrelevant but bothering me at the time]

“Where was I?  Trying to distract myself?  Is this avoidance behavior?  I don’t know what to do.  Sit and wait, or try to make something emerge?  Reread the material or . . . sit and wait.  Lie on the couch.  Stare at the penguin mobile.   

“Oh this is a waste.  My brain is dust.  Ash.  Urk and urk.  And urk.  So many distractions.  I am becalmed again.  There seems to be an awful lot of that.  I need to rebound I guess and ask for guidance because there doesn’t seem to be any. 

Oh.  That’s right.  My emotions have been turned off, so I can’t look for much help from them.  I listened to two songs today that usually get me going, and they did hardly anything emotionally.   Maybe I shouldn’t be waiting for some great surge of  “It’s right!”  Maybe I should just look at what I’ve got and go with it, whether I feel good about it, or not.  Just do the plan I have,”

 From another Nonstop, later

 “Okay, I was being frustrated, angry.  I have need of patience.  I need to trust Him to provide and to be content in whatever state I find myself.  And if that is in not finding the lost object — AGAIN — then that is what I will be content with.  Looking for the object in my mind.  Or not finding the answer.  That’s what it is.  It’s not an object, it’s an answer.  An understanding. 

“And I haven’t found it.  And I feel as if I should be able to find it now.  Immediately.  But I can’t.  I look inside and only incoherent thoughts fly by.  Not even floating anymore, more like whirling, breaking apart, joining with others and breaking apart.  Maybe that’s what’s going on.  I don’t know.  Maybe I should just give it up and iron.  I am impatient.  I feel that I must get busy on this book.  That I must be professional and work.  That I must use my time wisely, when it seems all I do is write endless, worthless nonstops that get me nowhere.”

And then having read all the above, I opened another file, this one titled “Incubation” which justified everything I described above as being a legitimate part of the creative process. But I’ll save that for tomorrow.

Award Voting Starts Now

Voting for the Clive Staples Award begins today.  You may recall that last month I posted a notice that The Enclave is one of nineteen reader-nominated entries for this year’s Clive Staples Award (Clive Staples, you may or may not know, is what the “C” and the “S” stand for in “C.S. Lewis” who was something of a pioneer in Christian science fiction and fantasy)

The contest administrators have asked that I post the following regarding how to go about voting should you wish to do so:

Please read these instructions carefully, then proceed to the ballot by clicking on the link below.

CSA is not a popularity contest. The award has been established to recognize the work of fiction which readers designate as the previous year’s best. Consequently, voters must adhere to these basic rules.

  • You MUST have read at least two of the nominations, the complete list of which is available HERE.
  • You may vote only once for a first, second, and third choice.
  • You may not vote for the same book as your second or third option that you voted for as your first choice.
  • Your votes for second and third options may not be for the identical book.
  • You may mark the “none of these” option if you do not have a second or third choice.
  • Voting will close September 1, 2010.
  • Second and third choice options will only be considered if a clear winner is not determined by the first choice vote.

To vote, click here and answer all the questions.

Clive Staples Award Nomination

Last year a group of readers, writers and fans of Christian Speculative Fiction came together to institute an award for the best book in that genre selected by readers of Christian Speculative Fiction. 2009 saw  the inauguration of the award, with the first presentation going to Donita K. Paul for her novel Dragonlight.

This year there are nineteen nominees chosen by readers, and The Enclave is one of them. Because they do not want the award to be a popularity contest, reflective only of which author network is the largest, but rather the outcome of readers who read in the speculative genre making informed choices, the award administrators are requiring this year that voters  read at least TWO of the nominated works. To aid prospective voters in meeting this requirement, they’ve designated July “Read Christian Speculative Fiction Month.” A simple list of the nominees is here.  If you’d like more information, introductions including cover pics, plot summaries and what other readers have said, are here (arranged in reverse alphabetical order by title).  Anyone can participate in voting, but, as mentioned they must have read at least two of the nominated works.

Voting will begin in August and will be conducted as a “survey”—really, your ballot—so votes will be private as far as the public is concerned. You’ll need to check back at the site or here at Writing from the Edge to see when the voting begins so you can sign up. (Or you can sign up now at either place to receive posts by email)

They are hoping to make this award one of significance similar to the Hugo awards given out by the secular science fiction/fantasy community and decided by vote of the members (attending and supporting) of the annual WorldCon (major SF/F convention).

A Very Strange Day

Yesterday was a very strange day. It started at 8:00am with me going to the hospital for what was supposed to have been a D & C because an ultrasound had shown a thickened uterine lining. That’s the stuff that at my age is not supposed to be thickening and could be cancer. But it turned out to be only a fibroid the size of a nickel that the surgeon removed. (I’m so glad I refused to allow myself to worry about speculations in the negative realm!) Because it turned out to be something different than they expected, they had to shuffle around their equipment and the operation took longer than planned, which is why I think my throat hurt this time, when it hasn’t before and why I had more symptoms from the anesthesia than previously. Anyway, though we got home around 3 instead of 1, overall it went well.

Upon returning home we checked the answering service where we discovered a call from my editor informing me that The Enclave is among the nominees in the Visionary category for the 2010 Christy Awards!  Whoa! That was a pleasant and very unexpected surprise. I’d pretty much written off the prospect of having any books nominated again. But how weird to have the call come in the same day I’d been in the hospital. The last time I had to go in for surgery (for my arm) was the day my agent was going to meet with BHP regarding what were then my future books, so how weird to have book events and hospital events coincide again.

But if it doesn’t seem like two momentous events like that should be happening on the same day, how about three?

About two hours later my husband left with Quigley to walk around the park. He was going to bring home dinner on the way back. I went to sleep, during which time the phone rang. I heard the answering machine go off, and then a man’s voice, but it was no one I recognized so I went back to sleep. A little later, Stu and Quigley came home so I got up to meet them. Stu did not have dinner with him. “I’m sorry,” he said, and I’m thinking this has to do with dinner so it took me a few moments to catch up to what he really said: “We were in an accident and I’m afraid your car is totaled.”

Yes, that’s what he said. My car being the official dog-toting car, that’s the one he took to the park. As he was crossing one of the side streets, en route to the park (where the speed limit is 30 mph and people usually drive slower than that), he was broadsided on the passenger side by an oncoming car he never saw till it hit. The Jeep was flipped all the way over to the driver’s side and spun around to face in the opposite direction from where it was originally headed. The windshield was demolished, but neither Stu, nor Quigley, who was traveling free in the back of the car, nor the driver of the other car were injured.  The police officers who investigated said that was really surprising because usually in accidents of this sort there were serious injuries. 

God at work. My car was towed away and I’ll never see it again (I really liked that car) and I thought how swiftly things can be taken. My next thought was that it could as easily have been Stu or Quigley, and I was sooo grateful that it was not. Grateful that they were not harmed in the slightest. We forget so easily how much God works in our lives, how we have not one thing apart from His consent and power, how every single moment is truly in His hands. We forget how little we have control over. In fact, though it may seem otherwise, in the end I think  the only thing we really have control over is our volition…

Oh, and the phone call I mentioned that I didn’t answer? It was one of the police officers calling at Stu’s request to say there was an accident, and that Stu was okay. That was great, except that he said nothing about Quigley, who, traveling without a seat belt or crate or anything, was the one I’d have most expected to be seriously hurt. So I’m glad I was too out of it to answer the phone. Yet another of God’s small mercies.

But definitely a very strange day.

CSFF Blog Tour Wrap-Up – Nephilim

Well, another CSFF Blog Tour comes to a close. I found it fun and informative, and was pleasantly surprised by the level of participation and the number of really good posts.

Becky Miller, apparently the CSFF Blog Tour Overlord (who would have guessed?) finally unveiled her own review of  The Enclave, which I found quite insightful.

Becky’s essay at Speculative Faith called The Truth in Speculative Fiction: a Look at The Enclave by Karen Hancock  is also well worth reading.

Rachel Starr Thomson did an excellent Third Day post on men trying to be God.

Elizabeth Williams did three detailed, thoughtful and very thorough posts on various aspects of the book. On Day 1 she gave an overview, on Day 2  she shared her observations about the scientific aspects of the story and her desire for … well, more development. At which point I was ruefully reminded of my struggles to keep to the allotted word count, which I exceeded, and to finish in the allotted time, which I grossly exceeded! But oh well. The book is what God wanted it to be and all books have flaws.

More than that, no book is going to satisfy everyone, though admittedly, from Elizabeth’s final post on Day 3, when she considered the Christian aspects, it seemed she was overall more satisfied than not. (I particularly appreciated this last post of hers)

For his Day 2 post, John Otte detailed his objection to my inclusion of Nephilim into the story, provoking a number of interesting comments. So many, in fact, that he decided to scrap his original Day 3 post and continue the discussion of Nephilim in Christian fiction . He also offered  a sort of apology. I love that he takes into account his own perspective and frame of reference and acknowledges it in his approach.

Because in all this talk of Nephilim several have suggested that the people who think these creatures were half human/half angel have arrived at that conclusion solely based on a reading of the English translation of Genesis 6:1-4, I’ve decided to address that issue today as something of a wrap-up.

Being one of those who believe they were indeed human/angelic crossbreeds, I can attest to the fact there’s more than just the English Gen 6 that has led me to that conclusion. And I’m not talking about The Book of Enoch, which one person cited as a probable source. I had arrived at my conclusion long before I’d ever heard of The Book of Enoch, though I did skim it in preparation for writing The Enclave. To me it seemed obviously not written by God but some legalistic somebody… so I give it no more credence than Greek myths — which like many other myths most likely contain seeds of truth, and may record the traditions of belief at the time of writing, but are not the absolute truth of God’s word.

No, my reasons come pretty much straight from the word of God:

Item #1

The phrase in Gen 6, “sons of God” is “beni ha Elohim” in the Hebrew. It is a phrase used only three other times in the scriptures, all three in Job. I would note that Job is regarded as the oldest book of the Bible in terms of content — that is, the events it records occurred before Abraham and were believed to have been part of an oral tradition that pre-existed the writings of Moses (which Moses would have known about), though it was actually preserved in written form some time after he wrote the Torah.

Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord and Satan also came among them.

Job 2:1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself to the Lord.

(Since they are presenting themselves to the Lord in heaven it’s pretty obvious these are angels)

Job 38:7 — the last line of a passage wherein God asks Job where he was when “I laid the foundation of the earth! Tell me if you have understanding. Who set its measurements, since you know? Or who stretched the line on it? On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy…”

This reference is also pretty obviously depicting angels, if the earth was still in the process of being created as they were singing and shouting. Additionally, the morning star phrase links to Is 14:12 where it refers specifically to Satan, before his fall.

Item #2

First Mention Principle. One of the means of understanding what a term or phrase means in the Bible is the “First-Mention Principle” wherein you look at the first time a word/phrase is used to glean its meaning for later usages. Looking at beni ha Elohim in Genesis 6, its first usage could certainly be ascribed to angels, but it’s inconclusive. However, if you consider that Job is the earliest surviving account through oral tradition, then technically Job is the first mention of the phrase, where the usage is not at all inconclusive. And as I mentioned earlier, Moses was probably familiar with it.

Item #3

Genesis 6:2 says that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.

“took wives” is laqach, the BDB Definition of which is “to take, get, fetch, lay hold of, seize, receive, acquire, buy, bring, marry, take a wife, snatch, take away”

Other scholars suggest “to take by sheer strength, overwhelming whoever protected them.”  Thus an alternate translation could be, “seized women for themselves, whomever they chose.”

Which sounds like rape and conquest to me. An examination of ancient history and cultures, especially Greek mythology, shows that women were more often taken and snatched and seized as wives than they were “married” as we know it today.

Item #4

If the sons of God were just men, and the daughters of men were just human women, then why bother referencing some special kind of progeny? ie, “Nephilim” who were around “in those days and also afterward.” Wouldn’t they be the same as other people? Why call them mighty men? Why use the same term later to refer to the giants in the land? Giants who clearly weren’t just regular men if the Jews saw themselves as grasshoppers in their sight.(Numbers 13:33)

Item #5

Jude and 2 Peter tell of a special group of angels who sinned in a particular way, different from the rest, who are currently being kept in prison:

Jude 6ff And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bounds under darkness for the judgment of the great day. Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh (ie, flesh they were forbidden to go after, including flesh of a lower creation), are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.

The angels who did not keep their own domain are equated in this passage with some sort of sexual sin comparable to the sin of homosexuality of Sodom and Gomorrah, a sin God refers to as an abomination in Lev 18:22 comparable with copulating with animals (a lower creation), forbidden in Lev 18:23

2 Peter 2: 4,5   For if God did not spare angels when they sinned but cast them into hell (the Greek word here is Tartarus) and committed them to pits of darkness reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of rightousness with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;

These verses tie the angels to a sin of “gross immorality” outside the boundaries God had apparently set up, and are here clearly linked to the judgment that came upon the pre-flood world.

I consider this, taken together with Gen 6 and the verses in Job to be convincing support for the angelic/human crossbreeding interpretation.

Item #6

Why would the angels do this? Just out of lust?

I think it’s because Satan was right there when God made his promise to the woman in Genesis 3 that the human race would be saved through her seed and that that same seed would crush Satan’s head. I think he wanted to thwart that plan by corrupting the genetics of the human race so that it was no longer human. Then the promise of a purely human female seed could not be fulfilled and God would be proven a liar.

The first sentence of that paragraph is supportable in Gen 3. The second is logical extrapolation. There are other verses that do support it indirectly, but that involves many more doctrines than I want to pursue in this wrap-up which is already long enough. I’ll save it for another time.

Again, I want to thank everyone who participated for taking the time to read and review The Enclave — or at the least just make mention of it on their blogs — and especially those who went the extra mile in providing additional reflections, comments and humor.

CSFF Blog Tour: Day Three

inside_0001

(Crew quarters inside Biosphere 2)

Day Three of the Christian SFF Blog tour for The Enclave.  Some of my favorite posts so far:

Becky Miller’s opening intro post from Monday and her Tuesday musings on on some of the elements of Enclave that got her thinking. 

Fred Warren ‘s reviews are really a hoot

Rachel Starr Thomson

Beth Goddard

Dawn King

Keanan Brand

Heather R. Hunt

  Dona Watson

Yes, they’re all positive, but hey, I’m the author. Of COURSE  the positive ones would be my favorites! There are others that are also good, some positive and some not, but interesting in the own right. I got tired of trying to transfer the html from Becky’s site to mine — she set it up so that each check represents a different post and clicking on it will take you straight to that particular post. In any case if you want the full list, including entries for Wednesday, which I don’t have yet, head on over to Becky’s Christian Worldview of Fiction for the full list.   (Thanks, Becky!)

Now for today’s question, which isn’t quite a question that Bethany House actually posed me. In addition to the questions they posed, they asked me to come up with seven or so questons — and answers —  to put in a document the Media could access. (The Nephilim question yesterday was also from this document, but the answer contained material from the other group of questions BHP had asked directly) You can see the actual Media Questions file here.  As I just downloaded it myself (it’s a PDF file), I noticed that they left off both this question and the one about the Nephilim, plus another, and substituted one of the questions they had posed… Interesting. Okay, on with today’s question:

I hated science when I was in high school so why would I want to read a novel about it?  (Seriously, people have either said this to me directly, or to others who’ve told me about it)

Science is really nothing more than looking at God’s creation and seeing what is there and how it fits together. All the so-called scientific laws, are actually God’s laws, and evidence of His faithfulness and power. His hand in it all is screamingly obvious to any who are willing to see it.

Unfortunately many have taken the discipline of science and corrupted it into an almost religion these days, replacing God with “Science,” and God’s ministers with its own high priests and priestesses, the expert “oracles” we are all expected to listen to and obey. “They” say such-and-such is true and most of us have little recourse but to believe what they say.  It seemed a good environment in which to set my story, even though The Enclave is more about people, deception and belief than any particular scientific discipline.

inside_0002 Dining area inside Biosphere 2

  That’s the end of my answer, but I will admit the question has always surprised me. I’ve had so many people turn up their noses at science and at any kind of speculative ficiton. Can’t get into it, they say. So I’ve started telling some who seem to be truly interested in reading my books that most people who love science fiction or fantasy don’t let the weirdness or the fact they don’t immediately know what’s going on get them down. They start such books expecting not to know what’s going on, what the setting situation is — it’s part of the fun.

Non fans, from what I’m told get all confused and bothered because they don’t know what a trog is, and there isn’t an explanation in the text to tell them. So they stop reading and go looking for a glossary.

Which really interferes with the fun of reading. I told one friend I never stop reading just to go look up a word and I pretty much always ignore glossaries until I’m finished. You can usually pick up enough from context to get the gist of what’s going on.

It surprised me to learn of this apparent difference in readers, though, so I thought I’d share it.  At least one of my friends who perservered through her initial discomfort in Arena ended up not being able to put the book down and really enjoying the story.

CSFF Blog Tour: Day Two

Continuing my answers to questions posed by the Bethany House Marketing depeartment in conjunction with the Blog Tour…

Why did you decide to put Nephilim into this book?

I kinda think the Lord did that. At the time when I was preparing the proposal, my pastor was teaching us about the Nephilim and challenged us to think what exactly was meant by the end of the age being like the Days of Noah (as mentioned in Mt 24), and why did Gen 6 say “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward,” if they were all destroyed in the Flood?

And what about Numbers 13:33? There the cowardly spies complain about having seen the Nephilim in the promised land saying “(the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim) and we became like grasshoppers in our own signt and so we were in their sight.” 

Furthermore, given the fact that the Nephilim were half angel/half human, they would have been much smarter than regular humans. For that matter, it’s probable the regular humans of the day were pretty smart too, as close to the perfection of Adam as they were and living for as many years as they did. Thus it’s not a big stretch to think they might have had culture that was as highly technological as ours, perhaps biologically based, or even light based, which would have been  destroyed in the flood. Although from what I’ve read, even a highly metals based culture might have been obliterated by the tectonic and geologic forces produced when “the fountains of the deep were opened.” To say nothing of being under water for millennia…

As to what the mechanics might be for Nephilim existing after the Flood I see three options — 1) Other fallen angels, not yet consigned to Tartarus for having “transgressed their own domain”  made more Nephilim with human women after the Flood (That defeats the entire purpose of the Flood, though, so I don’t buy that one).

2) They figured out some way to ride out the Flood,  just in case it actually happened. This is the one I settled on for The Enclave. I like that because it’s typical of Satanic thinking to be trying to figure a way around God’s commands or judgments; also typical in terms of the arrogance involved in thinking a creature could even do it. I liked it, too, when their self-made life preservers became prisons of darkness that turned them all insane.

3) Later it occurred to me as I puzzled over the passages for the umpteenth time that it also might have been that a pair of Nephilim babies might have been left on the doorstep of the ark, or two Nephilim children who had not yet reached the age of accountability might had come in along with the animals.  When the Flood subsided the children probably rejected the truth, and when grown, left Noah’s authority to pursue their own ways. Or perhaps left with some of Ham’s descendents who were pretty negative to the truths of God. It’s interesting that Nimrod, son of Cush is said to be “a mighty one” on the earth in Gen 10:8, same terminology as used for the Nephilim in Gen 6, and that his kingdom included the plain of Shinar where the Tower of Babel was constructed  — and destroyed.

It’s all speculation, though, and the Bible doesn’t say beyond the random hints, but I thought it was fun to play with. It’s only a peripheral issue in the story. If it mattered what happened to them and how the sons of Anak could also be Nephilim, God would have made it clear.

Be sure and check out the various posts and reviews on the tour.

Jason Joyner put up the interview I did for him on his blog Spoiled for the Ordinary.  Becky Miller did an opening post on similarities we share that I had no idea about. In addition there were quite a few reviews or parts of them (with more promised today) and you can find them through Becky Miller’s blog as well. A checkmark before a name indicate the person has posted at least one entry for the tour.


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