The concept for the book developed slowly, mostly – and oddly enough – as a result of my research for the as-yet-forthcoming sequel to my action-packed sci-fi book, Johnny Came Home. Johnny Came Home was a work of apologetics fiction, a book about kids who develop super powers in a fictional town in West Virginia. Basically, I set out to tell an entertaining tale that explored superheroes [and villains] from a creationist POV rather than the evolutionary worldview presumed in the box office X-Men and Spider-Man trilogies and such TV shows as Heroes and the Tomorrow People.
The original cover of that book featured a classic flying saucer parked beneath the steeple of a church and a back cover blurb that suggested alien ancestry as a possible explanation for the comic book abilities of John Lazarus and his friends. I thought it was pretty clever until I realized it meant I was going to have to field a ton of questions about aliens and UFOs. I had a basic working knowledge of the subject, part in tanks to an excellent book by Gary Bates called Alien Intrusion. At some point, I realized that the sequel to Johnny Came Home needed to address the exotheological issues I’d brought to the surface and that borrowed explanations weren’t going to cut it. If I wanted to give folks a reasonable answer to these issues, I needed to do some research. [Imagine my shock…]
Boy, did I go down the rabbit hole! It is truly difficult to convey the level of woo some of these well-meaning folks believe in. The level of credulity the UFO community displays towards extraterrestrial-related claims is just mind blowing. There are diabolical grey aliens performing medieval medical procedures and cattle mutilations. There are sexy saucer people showing abductees their own hybrid star children. Dark-suited Men in Black silence people who know too much, while the government hides crashed saucers and dead aliens in Hangar 18, Area 51 and secret moon bases! No conspiracy theory is too far-fetched. My initial foray into the weird world of freaky saucer people left me a bit out-of-joint. I happily turned to more sensible subjects and put the UFO mystery on the shelf.
Recently my mind has turned again to the great UFO enigma and I am happy to say that I should have the book finished by the end of summer! I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. In the covers of Strangers & Aliens, you will find a defense of science fiction (which is often blamed by Christian apologists for our fascination with extraterrestrial life), a look at some of the more famous UFO cases, a tour of how West Virginia has contributed to UFO lore (you’d be surprised how much!) and, most importantly, an exploration of the theological issues connected with ETs and flying saucers. As both a Christian apologist and sci-fi author, I put a lot of thought into the theological and doctrinal issues of my stories, so I think it’s only appropriate that I weigh in on these subjects. It’s well and good to ask scientists and theologians their views on these matters; however no one bothers to ask the folks who willingly specialize in speculation on these very subjects. Perhaps we’re dismissed out-of-hand because fiction, in their minds, isn’t as serious as science or theology. I aim to cure folks of this unfortunate misapprehension. ;]
One thing that you’ll discover along the way is that a belief in the question of alien life beyond this world is still very much open and their sudden discovery would pose absolutely no threat to Christian doctrine.
The book’s cover art (and yes there will be a final cover reveal very soon!) was designed by GremlinGraphix.com, my family’s small for-profit graphic design business. We’re very proud of the haloed alien design and it has been very effective in generating interest in the book. Due to its popularity amongst my fellow Christian geeks who love to speculate about little green men and all the rest, we’ve released the alien design for sale through GremlinGraphix.com as a T-shirt or decal.