‘The First Principle’ — first impressions….

please rate post with one or more stars

FirstPrinciple-258x400OK, so I got this book in connection with the Christian science fiction and fantasy blog tour— which reminds me, I have to post this:

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. 

And, you know, getting another Christian fiction novel— especially when it’s a ‘YA’— doesn’t always thrill me. Too often it’s a trip into the world of bland. But this book is not that trip.

The setting is— well, there are some states going pretty far this way already. Have you heard that story about the public schools dishing out IUDs as ‘birth control’ to schoolgirls? IUDs work by preventing a conceived child from implanting in the uterus, so it’s not really ‘contraception’, it’s something else. I’ve heard a defender of the IUD say that children killed by the IUD are so young it doesn’t really count as abortion, so in fairness we’ll just have to call it something else. How about ‘child killing’? And back in the day the IUD damaged so many women that even the feminists were against it. NOT something most parents want government schools to stick into their young daughters’ bodies.

In ‘The First Principle’, all high school girls are required to receive contraceptives, but the contraceptives do not work as well as advertised. The answer to that is government-required ‘termination’ of the unwanted life. Vivica Wilkins, a high school girl, defends a pregnant classmate against harsh treatment of a government agent out to enforce the law. And then Vivica discovers her own illegal pregnancy.

What protects this book from the blands is that Vivica is NOT a born-again believer from a churchy family. She’s the daughter of a female governor (with no father currently in the picture), and so a part of the system, brought up to think that the required contraceptive use and even the terminations are a good, right policy that prevents harm. She has no traditional moral training as earlier generations of young people had through their religious education and catechism classes. She has nothing to go on but a sense of wrongness in her heart when she contemplates some of these policies.

Vivica’s problems increase because of her mother’s political ambitions. Mommy can’t become the next president if she has an illegally pregnant daughter who won’t go along with the termination law. It will ruin her mother’s life if Vivica lets her child live.

What Vivica does next and where it leads are something you’ll have to discover by reading the book. [Available here: http://www.amazon.com/First-Principle-Novel-Marissa-Shrock/dp/0825443571/]  And it’s worth reading. When the book arrived at my place I opened the package. I opened the book intending to take a glance at the first page of the book. Before you know it I was halfway through the book and the laundry was NOT getting done!

And when I finished I quick hopped over to author Marissa Shrock’s FB page: https://www.facebook.com/marissa.shrock.writer. I also shared the book with a small FB writers’ group I’d joined, Pro-Life Speculative Fiction Readers and Writers: https://www.facebook.com/groups/776019142490663/ This is a small group and always in need of new members, by the way.

Marissa Shrock’s author page: http://www.marissashrock.com/

And now, the blog tour. Here is the list of participants in the tour. I really would suggest that you go and visit the participants list and comment on their posts. It will do your own blog good.

Julie Bihn
Thomas Clayton Booher
Beckie Burnham
April Erwin
Victor Gentile
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Megan @ Hardcover Feedback
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Nissa Annakindt
Jalynn Patterson
Chawna Schroeder
Jessica Thomas

You still here? Still? Well, why not jump over to my Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/nissalovescats  and see my picture of a kitten in a boot. Because the world need more kitten in boot.

#CSFFBlogTour: ‘Rebels’ and Dystopian Fiction

Rebels Jill WilliamsonThis post is for the Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy blog tour. I should have posted it yesterday but I got sick and instead spent my time petting cats and watching Dancing With The Stars. Dexter and Castle.

This book made me mad at author Jill Williamson. Because it’s the last book in the trilogy and I never, ever, ever wanted it to end. I found it endlessly re-readable as I find The Hunger Games, and that’s rare for me in Christian fiction. Because though I’m a Christian (Catholic flavor) most of my favorite authors are secular, with the exception of Orson Scott Card (who’s Mormon flavor).

So, you may have guessed that in this blog tour I’m not going to be channeling my inner Len Goodman (the mean judge on Dancing With The Stars). Instead, today I’m going to be talking a little bit about Dystopian fiction.

The term ‘dystopian’ is the trendy way to refer to science fiction novels, usually ‘YA’, set in a ‘negative utopia’.  (The term was coined by Thomas More, who became a saint when he stood up for his Catholic faith against the demands of King Henry VIII and lost his head for it.)

The Hunger Games is set in such a negative utopia, as is The Safe Lands series of which ‘Rebels’ is the conclusion. One can ask what are the influences behind the creation of the fictional dystopias in these and other books.

I believe that a major influence on all fictional dystopias created in our time are the real-world dystopias of the totalitarian regimes of the last century, some of which continue to exist and harm their citizens even today. Think of North Korea, where you can spend life in a labor camp due to your brother’s crime, and your children, born in the camp, will stay there for life as well. Or China, where women pregnant out of wedlock, or who already have their one permissible child, are forced to abort, even as late as the ninth month.

These two examples are socialist based totalitarianism. All of the great totalitarian regimes of the previous century were socialism-based, though they represented two different forms of socialism.

  1. The international socialists, also called Bolsheviks and communists, first came to power in the Russian revolution. They murdered people for being from aristocratic families, including the children of the tsar. They turned churches into museums of atheism or places to park tractors. They had a system of Gulags— prison camps. One leader, Stalin, killed about 7 million Ukrainians by taking away their food harvest and then forbidding them to leave Ukraine to find food. International socialist totalitarian regimes existed in the Soviet block countries of Europe, in China, North Korea and Vietnam, and in Cuba.
  2. The national socialists were more pragmatic. Rather than waiting until their countrymen were ready for a revolution in favor international socialism, they incorporated nationalism into their party programs and came to power by elections. The national socialists include the Fascist regime of Italy and the National Socialist (Nazi) regime in Germany.

Fictional dystopias may parallel these real ones, intentionally on the part of the author or not. Or they may represent an attempt to be as different as possible from these real-world horrors. Most have elements of both.

In The Safe Lands series, the dystopia came into being as a result of a plague. The Safe Lands authorities encouraged a wild, self-indulgent lifestyle with lots of drugs and casual sex. And they encouraged a reincarnation belief to help people accept ‘liberation’ at age 40 without rebelling. In all these ways the dystopia is a contrast to the real-world ones.

But there is total control over people’s lives as in real-world totalitarian regimes. Men and women are required to participate in forced artificial reproduction. The resulting children are raised by the state. Dissidents and other rule-breakers may be punished by ‘premature liberation’, which to inhabitants of the Safe Lands sounds a lot like death.

Jill Williamson, author of The Safe Lands trilogy

Jill Williamson, author of The Safe Lands trilogy

To buy the book ‘Rebels’ by Jill Williamson, go here:

http://www.amazon.com/Rebels-Safe-Lands-Jill-Williamson/dp/0310735777/

To visit author Jill Williamson’s website, go here:

http://www.jillwilliamson.com/

Blog tour participants:

Visit these blogs and see what other people have to say about Jill Williamson’s Rebels and The Safe Lands series.
Julie Bihn
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Beckie Burnham
Jeff Chapman
Vicky DealSharingAunt
April Erwin
Carol Gehringer
Victor Gentile
Rebekah Gyger
Jeremy Harder
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Melanie @ Christian Bookshelf Reviews
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Nissa Annakindt you are here
Writer Rani
Audrey Sauble
Chawna Schroeder
Jojo Sutis
Elizabeth Williams

COMMERCIAL MESSAGES (feel free to ignore)
free poetry e-book: 

texture_248 surly petunia ebookIf you like explosively eccentric poetry that’s sometimes funny and always a might peculiar, try my just-published chapbook, surly petunia. As you can see I’m too poor to afford capital letters in the title. 😉

Smashwords: (free e-book) https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/480237Amazon.com: (they made me charge 99 cents) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NZ96EYE

My e-mail list:

Shrek-pleading-catEnjoying the eccentricity of this blog and/or my poetry? Then you might want to join my email list. You’ll be updated on any of my publications— a new poetry chapbook and a (dystopian) sci-fi serial story are in the works— and maybe even receive my mom’s top secret Christmas cookie recipe.

Link for e-mail list: http://eepurl.com/FN2hr

END OF COMMERICIAL MESSAGES

You may now resume your normal life.