Thank you to Daphne Self for providing me a copy of the science fiction anthology Into the Unknown, published by Ambassador International, in exchange for an honest review!
This science fiction anthology contains 7 stories of faith and bravery including the following:
Astro Missionary by Daniel Peyton
Rookie by Eric Landfried
Haven by Lauren Smyth
The Fate of Transport 80-14 by Allen Steadham
The Interview of Malachi Jones by Daphne Self
Safeship by P.S. Patton
A Free Man by Jake Tyson
Astro Missionary begins the anthology. What happens when a simple mission to collect data goes awry and a scientist named Tony and his security lose their signal to the main ship? A story about redemption through God’s love no matter who you are, this story will remind readers how God always leads you where you are meant to be. Though it starts out a bit slow, I ended up loving this story with my whole heart. The last line resonates with me in my current season in life: “God leads us to places we never expect. He takes us into the unknown.”
Rookie follows suit, and the fast-paced story does not disappoint. Private Kalen Richardson is on a mission to find a rogue cleric, but before the mission can begin fully the ship explodes! Kalen is one of the few survivors – what happens when he comes face-to-face with the very rogue cleric he was hunting? And what if what he’s been told about him, isn’t true? A story that continues to highlight the theme of being led where God needs you, this story will resonate with readers searching for their purpose: “Our purposes are rarely clear until after those purposes have been served. I believe the
Lord makes it that way so we will learn to trust Him. He will reveal His purpose for you in time, my friend.”
The third story, Haven, focuses on Ozero who is counting down the days until his contract with Kickstart Biology, Inc. is up and he can leave the planet in which he is the only living soul – that is until someone crash lands and knocks on his door. What will Ozero do when he realizes that Kem, the one who crash landed, is someone who wronged him years ago? Will he seek revenge or will he choose justice? Will he be able to forgive Kem, and, maybe, even more importantly, will he be able to stop blaming himself? A story about forgiveness, this story will remind readers to be grateful for God’s grace: “God can save anyone if they’re humble enough to admit they can’t save themselves.”
Next, The Fate of Transport 80-14 follows Karen Liviana, the Second Chief of Food Preparation. Years ago, she had another title, that of Commander. What happens when horrible circumstances force Karen in a role she had long ago traded in for a different life? This story reminds readers that miracles do happen because God does hear our prayers. “She knew that God had made it possible….”
The fifth story, The Interview of Malachi Jones, is centered around Cleric Malachi Jones who has been captured after years on the run – running after being faced with an impossible choice. He shares the truth of what happened, but that doesn’t change his fate. A story that reminds one to let God guide them rather than let fear overcome will long be in the hearts and minds of readers after it ends.
Next is Safeship which follows a thief. Following a botched heist, Upper Thief Bhirus finds an escape through a safeship, but the crew isn’t who they seem. Bhirus learns quickly that he isn’t safe, and must act quickly or die for his crimes. A story about consequences of sin, this story may make one uncomfortable; however, as Proverbs 5:22 notes: “The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them; the cords of their sins hold them fast.”
Lastly, A Free Man concludes the anthology. Wil Freeman’s name is ironic – he’s been incarcerated for the last 10 years, but he has a chance to earn his freedom. Will he go through with his deal with the Federation and betray his own family to make space safer for all? Or will he choose family? A story that reminds readers that growth is real, A Free Man is a good, action-packed close to this science fiction collection.
My favorite story from this anthology is Astro Missionary. The lesson from it and Rookie both resonated with me greatly. I also greatly enjoyed Daphne Self’s writing style in The Interview of Malachi Jones. To be honest, I’m still turning the stories over in my mind, especially Safeship. I desperately wish Bhirus had been given a chance for redemption…I understand the message the story is sharing, but my heart hurts from the sequence of events.
Overall, I give this anthology 4 stars. I enjoyed it, and I might would re-read given the time. I will happily read more stories by the authors featured, and I am especially excited for Daphne Self’s upcoming book When Legends Rise. I do recommend Into the Unknown to fans of science fiction. Readers who are looking for stories of faith, bravery, and purpose, will enjoy these stories.
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