The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber – sci-fi

Peter is given the opportunity to go on a mission to a colony in outer space called Oasis. Peter is a pastor and he decides to leave his wife at home to embark on the greatest missionary project of all time: converting Oasis’ local aliens to Christianity.

I’m not sure how I felt about this one. I liked Faber’s writing style, however, the story itself was a bit too much for me. It was too preachy, I felt; Peter was constantly quoting Bible verses for every occasion he came across. Also, he just wasn’t really a very likeable character. He was just very, meh. He’s a reformed drug addict and he goes to Oasis, where nothing really happens and he just goes with the flow of everyday life (aside from some weird physical characterizations of his comrades).

Most of the people on Oasis are BLAH characters, too, though apparently, this is what Oasis intends. Each person on the planet has little to no connections back on Earth beside Peter (he leaves his wife) and they are all non-confrontational. There’s no scandals, no affairs, no nothing. They don’t care about what’s happening back on Earth, which is apparently in turmoil, and they don’t care about the native aliens on the planet either.

There’s a few little mysteries – apparently there was a pastor before Peter and he disappeared. Likewise with a linguist who was there to learn the natives language. However, the resolution to these mysteries is very anticlimactic (like the entire story). Nothing really happens. People question God some, but the aliens already love Jesus, so there’s no conflict in trying to convert them.

I’m not sure why I stuck through reading this book until the end. I think I just wanted to know if something was going to actually happen. In the past, I’ve been satisfied with books that have less than stellar plot lines, however, I think the religion bit being the forefront of the plot just really didn’t appeal to me.