P.A.Baines. I was going to be Paul Baines but there are already two published authors out there with the same name (one even has his own Wikipedia page) and I didn't want to add to any confusion, so P.A.Baines it is. I hope one day to have my own entry in Wikipedia but that is another dream for another day. Right now I am way too busy trying to persuade people to read my debut novel.
Alpha Redemption. It was published by Splashdown Books in September 2010 after Splashdown's owner, Grace Bridges, spotted it in a premise competition and liked it enough to put her company's name on it.
The story follows the physical, emotional, and spiritual journey of Brett Denton as he travels to our nearest neighbouring star in a prototype speed-of-light spaceship called The Comet. His only companion is a learning-capable computer he calls Jay. Brett is in a state of emotional denial following the death of his family in a plane crash and he is using the mission to escape from his tragic past. He is literally travelling as far as he can in an attempt to flee, not just from his grief and his feelings of guilt, but also from God.
At first he tries to ignore the computer's endless questions but, over time, Jay's child-like curiosity wins Brett over and they become friends. With Jay's help, Brett starts the long journey towards healing.
Although Alpha Redemption is classified as Sci-fi, it would be more accurate to call it Christian Literary Sci-fi.
Yes, I know. Christian Sci-fi may sound like a bit of an oxymoron and there are even those who suggest that the whole genre is incompatible with a belief in God, but I don't see it that way. God created the universe and the rules that hold it together. If God created Science then we as believers should not be afraid to explore the myriad possibilities that this presents to us. More than that, it is our responsibility to address the moral issues inherent in many of the advances being made in scientific community today. The naturalistic moral foundation is notoriously fluid. What was considered immoral yesterday may become perfectly acceptable tomorrow. God's moral foundation is set in stone and so it is our duty to sound the alarm when the naturalistic morals slip too far. Science fiction provides a perfect platform for the sounding of such an alarm.
I love the sci-fi genre, but honestly don't read very much within it, mainly because I find it to be a little bit sterile. So much sci-fi is too much about the technology and not enough about the people. I stopped reading the last two sci-fi bestsellers I picked up because I did not care one iota about the characters and the dangers they encountered. Dazzling scientific concepts are all well and good, but what does it matter if you really do not care what happens to the main character?
I went for a literary style because I wanted Alpha Redemption to be an intimate portrayal of a man's struggle to come to terms with his tragic past, and with his faith in God. I did not want a plot-driven story, but chose instead for a character-driven exploration of love, loss, grief, and the belief that we are here for a reason. I chose the sci-fi genre simply because it provided the perfect backdrop for the story. Plus, it gave me the opportunity to explore the possibility of a computer becoming self-aware, and how such a machine might fit into a Christian world-view. Also, I derive great pleasure from writing. Using a literary style allowed me to have some fun with my prose.
Alpha Redemption is a human drama wrapped in soft science fiction. As such, it should appeal to people who do not normally enjoy the genre while also catering to people who like exploring traditional sci-fi fare such as artificial-intelligence, space-ships, and light-speed journeys to distant planets.
I wrote Alpha Redemption as a tool for ministering to Christians, particularly those who feel that perhaps God has abandoned them, or is in some distant corner of the universe watching events here on Earth with a cold disdain. In writing this story, I wanted to convey a sense that God will never leave us. Just as the father ran to greet his prodigal son, so too will God run to you if you return to Him. In this story, Brett travels to another star system to get away from his past, but God is with him all the way, waiting patiently for him, anxious to welcome his son home.
Alpha Redemption is available in all major online bookstores in printed format as well as Kindle and various other electronic formats.
The sequel to Alpha Redemption, Alpha Revelation, is slated for publication in September 2012. I am very excited about this because it continues the story of Brett Denton and his relationship with God. This time the action takes place on Mars, on a colony set up after The Comet's departure for Alpha Centauri. Brett is unaware of his past but is plagued by vivid dreams of the Earth and of a family he does not remember. One day he discovers a ship stored away in an abandoned hangar, covered in dust. Then he starts receiving text messages from an unknown individual, and they appear to be coming from the vicinity of the mysterious ship.
More details of Alpha Revelation, including a concept for the cover, can be found on my website.