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Infinete Space, Infinete God by Karina and Rob Fabian

I had the pleasure of meeting Karina during the Muse Online Writers Conference this past October and was fascinated with her workshop on the writing of sci-fi. Then I began to investigate further on her book. "Infinete Space, Infinete God",  and knew she would be an amazing writer to interview and get to know on a deeper level.--Lea

Karina Fabian on Catholic Science Fiction and Writing What You Know




Catholic Science Fiction!  Is this something you’ve always enjoyed?

            I’d never even heard of Catholic SF until I started writing it.  Now, I’m just amazed at the number of writers who are Catholic or were raised Catholic.  Just as we’ve seen a growth of Christian genre books, we’re seeing a growth of Catholic genre.  So I like to think of myself as a trend setter.


So what do you enjoy?

            Science fiction and fantasy, without a doubt.  Historical fiction.  Mystery.  Comedy, like Dave Barry and Erma Bombeck.  I’ve tried exploring other genres, spent a whole summer reading stuff from the NYT best seller list--but I can’t get into them.  If I’m going to read about someone’s angst, there’s got to be a dragon or a spaceship.

            Even so, I don’t care for stories that don’t have strong characters.  Novels that spend too much time on the plot or on deep descriptions of the setting turn me off.  So does sloppy writing.  Rob, my husband and editing partner, has a higher tolerance when the plot is good, but not me.  Time’s too short.


What about religious fiction?

            A couple of fictionalizations of Biblical characters, which were interesting stories, but otherwise, nope.  It seems contradictory, I know, but when I read, I want to escape to somewhere that stretches my imagination.  The story of how someone “finds Jesus” and has his life change can be important and maybe even compelling, but they’re not for me.

            I also tend to shy away from the idea that once a character has “true faith,” life just falls together.  Even in fantasy, that doesn’t ring true.


So how do these attitudes shape your writing and your anthology, Infinite Space, Infinite God?

Although though a large percentage of my characters are Catholic or Christian, they tend to express their faith in their actions rather than proclaim it with their words.  For example, in “These Three,” (in Infinite Space, Infinite God) Peter, our main character is severely injured, yet must make his way across the ship in order to get to Auxiliary Control.  He’s being escorted by an apparition of the Blessed Gillian of L5 (Blessed means she’s not yet a saint.)  In order to distract him from his pain, she suggests they recite the Stations of the Cross, a Catholic ceremony that recalls the journey Jesus took down the Via Dolorosa while carrying his own cross to his crucifixion:


“…We'll do Stations. Come on, now. Hand over hand."

Wearily, Pete obeyed, though his hands trembled and slipped. The progress seemed unbearably slow, but just like Sister Linda, the vision was patient, praising each tentative effort. Unlike Sister Linda, the vision pushed him whenever he faltered. After awhile, the numbness began to set in, but he also felt himself slipping into a kind of hazy non-being. He could hear a woman's voice intoning something--the Stations of the Cross. Three rungs and a station. Jesus faltered, so can you. He got up again, so can you. Three more rungs, and we'll pause for another station. Automatically, he murmured the responses, ingrained from 12 years of Catholic school, but he couldn't quite hear them. It became a dizzying drone. He shook his head to clear it and moaned.

"Talk to me," the vision urged. "Tell me why you wanted to be a spacer so badly."


When we selected stories for Infinite Space, Infinite God, we wanted stories that had strong characters who were Catholic, though not necessarily strong Catholics.  Some are lapsed, some are having problems with their faith, some are having problems because of their faith.   

            Some examples: 

--J Sherer’s detective is a lapsed Catholic seeking a madman who’s murdering priests.  As he seeks to understand the murder’s motives, he starts to understand his own conflicts about the Church.  

--In Rob’s and my “Daily Bread,” when the Communion Hosts start mysteriously multiplying on an asteroid mining station, it causes conflicts among those who believe in the miracle and those who think it’s a set-up staged by the station’s Catholic deacon. 

--Colleen Drippe’s Catholic character gets chosen for an extremely risky trip back in time because his supervisor thinks it’d be funny to send a Catholic back to see the crucifixion.

--Maya Bohnhoff’s Catholic terrorist hides behind his faith to justify his murdering a busload of Protestant children, but when an experimental medical procedure removes those defenses, it’s the power of the Sacrament of Reconciliation that saves his sanity.

For the rest, faith sustains them through the crises in the story.


The other thing we insisted on was that the stories be really good science fiction, which meant that the science had to be plausible and believable regardless of how fantastic it seemed.  Adreinne Ray gave us a unique and disturbing method for teleportation.  When I read Ken Pick’s and Alan Loewen’s scene where the ship jumps into hyperspace, I felt like I was on the bridge.  Lori Scott checked her cloning science with a professor of genetics, and it shows. 

Finally, it was top-quality writing.  After all, I knew I’d be reading these stories over and over again, whether to edit, proofread, or to refresh my memory before interviews.  I wanted to be able to enjoy them each time.


So, then, how do you feel about the saying “write what you know”?

I have mixed feelings.  On the one hand, I do tend to write in the genres I enjoy and my characters do have a lot of personality aspects I’m familiar with--like being Catholic.

            On the other hand, I find it limiting.  I didn’t know anything about asteroid mining or wresting in zero gravity, but I learned them because my story needed it.  And I discovered in editing this book, that there were a lot of things I didn’t really know about my own faith.  Maya’s story taught me a lot about the nature of confession, and Rose Dimond, the dear woman, had to re-write parts of her story as she and I both came to understand the reasons behind some of the more controversial Catholic issues in her story.

            So don’t write what you know--write what you’re willing to learn.



Please visit my COMMENTS webpage where you can leave your thoughts to Karina about her book and interview.


by Karina and Robert Fabian, Editors

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