Today on the Fantastical Truth podcast, we’re exploring the past-future with first-century thriller novelist Randy Ingermanson. He’s helping us explore his foray into sci-fi with his 2001 novel Oxygen (co-written with John B. Olson).
Get the complete show notes here, including a tease about his newest first-century thriller series. This year, Randy launched his new Crown of Thorns series. Book 1, Son of Mary released in April. It follows the biblical quest of the greatest Hero of all time.
I scouted the SpecFaith archives, but interestingly we’ve never had a full article from Randy Ingermanson here.
However, his once-coauthor, John B. Olson, has stopped by to mull over some early marketing-for-writers thoughts.
I also fondly recall Olson’s tease at a writer’s conference:
Whispers, murmurs, and a few pauses from wiser ones waiting for the surprise ending, had spread amongst dozens of class attendees.,
To wit, these were Ladies of the Church™, a very powerful special interest lobby.
I was there also, enjoying my second attendance of an American Christian Fiction Writers’ conference (2007). And John Olson, co-author of Oxygen, had just said something heretical.
Yes, he said, “God can’t spell and has bad grammar.”
Then of course he went on to explain the context. As best I recall (it was a crazy weekend) he said that as a writer (also of Oxygen’s sequel The Fifth Man and thriller novels Shade and Powers), he’s met many people who show him their manuscripts. They’re in varying genres, though with conferences dominated by the LotC™ you can guess which genres predominate.
“Will you look at this?” they ask him.
Many will also exult: “God laid this on my heart. It’s such an amazing story. God told me to write this!”
Well in that case, Olson confessed to thinking: God can’t spell and has bad grammar.
In Oxygen, God is glorified, at least implicitly, by the human drive to explore. Despite the unknown, threat of death by explosion, suffocation, or atmospheric entry, it’s worth it to go to Mars. Why? Not just to find life. Not just “because it’s there.” But because God created this other world for us. Thus, why can’t we do more than stand back and send probes there, as amazing as those are? Maybe because we doubt God created it and thus we also doubt that expenses and risks would be worth braving to see this world in person.
Well, we can go there fictionally, anyway.
And I’ll end with this bit from the more recent Lorehaven magazine review of Oxygen:
Valerie and her story uphold general themes of biblical faith: God does exist, and he will take care of people. Institutional churches mainly cameo in the form of culturally separatist Christians in the background, who seem to oppose the Mars mission. (Back in actual history, when too many people of all religions ignore space programs, NASA might plead for this kind of controversy.)
Our real villain, however, is unknown. Either way, after a wind-tossed launch and in-flight repairs, Ares 10 has a problem: an explosion that endangers the ship. Who’s the saboteur? Everyone aboard feels like a real, sympathetic person, so readers may not want any of them to be the villain. This uncertainty fuels the suspense of Oxygen. Still, it is the Ares mission’s success or failure, the crew’s competence, and the fear of unknowns, that provide the crew’s opposition en route to Mars.
Onward for his glory,