Thursday, October 6, 2016

Nuns in Space: The Fabulous, Futuristic World of Karina Fabian's Discovery

It's hard to find good Catholic fiction nowadays, and Catholic science fiction is an even rarer breed. Enter Karina Fabian's new space thriller Discovery, about an order of nuns devoted to space rescue and their mission to help recover an alien spaceship stranded in an asteroid belt at the edge of our solar system. Discovery is, quite simply, stellar (pun intended).

Author Karina Fabian's world-building is first-class. There's enough hard science in Discovery to satisfy the geekiest astrophysics major. (I don't know if it's scientifically accurate or not -- you'd have to ask the astrophysics majors.) Throughout the novel, Fabian deftly weaves in elements like spacesuit training classes, low-grav ball games on a dodecahedronal court, and advanced medical technologies like bone knitters for rapid bone repair.

Fabian's space-based society simmers with conflict over class and religion. The researchers (called "Dataheads") look down on the asteroid miners (called "Rockjacks"). Deep-seated religious tensions separate the Catholic sisters, the Evangelicals, the wiccans, and the Codists, who have turned rules of safety in space into a re-imagined 10 Commandments. "Zerogs," humans who have been genetically modified to thrive in a zero gravity environment, shun extended contact with others. To keep their genes pure, they will kill any zerog who mates with a non-modified human -- and any offspring of that mating.

Discovery brims over with fascinating characters. The religious sisters who belong to the Order of Our Lady of the Rescue are highly trained professional space-farers risking their lives for others. My favorite protagonist, Sister Ann, plays the role of a futuristic Cassandra, spouting accurate prophecies that no one understands. Her poetic mysticism makes her resemble St. John of the Cross in a spacesuit. She converses in aphorisms, like
"When we control, we find comfort; when God controls, grace." 
"The wise man in the storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but for deliverance from fear."
Two additional central characters in the book are Sister Rita and Dr. James Smith, the archaeologist tapped to head the exploratory mission of the alien spaceship. They attended college together at Terra Technological University, which bears more than a passing resemblance to Franciscan University in Steubenville (where else do college students routinely meet up in chapel?). Their unrequited romance hints at a crisis in their vocations, since James is a former seminarian and Sister Rita a fully professed religious sister. The relationship, fortunately, takes a backseat to the more interesting, larger story.

After many chapters of captivating and well-executed character development, the pace of Discovery picks up dramatically about half-way through when the crew finally reaches the alien ship. A mysterious third arm of the six-armed spaceship forces many of the crew members to face their deeply hidden desires, wrong choices, and guilty secrets. As the ship catapults toward crisis, the sisters are called upon to rescue their friends and colleagues in more ways than one.

Those who know me know that I'm a bit of a science fiction junkie. In times of stress, a reading binge of 10 books or more is a sure-fire cure.  In college, I was a geek groupie.  Not good enough at math to achieve full geek status, I focused on the history and anthropology of technology. I would have majored in science fiction if I could have.

Science fiction at its worst devolves into romanticized space opera or non-stop action against monstrous aliens easily identified as evil. Science fiction at its best explores what it means to be human. What might happen to humans when you remove them from their normal political, cultural, and physical environment? What new societies or religions would evolve? Humans know we're different from animals because we have sentience and the ability to worship God. What if we met aliens with those same qualities? How might genetic modifications impact cultural norms in unexpected ways?

Discovery delves into all the best and most exciting themes of the science fiction greats. Although the book contains elements of romance, action-adventure, and even horror, it never shies away from the essential existential questions. Highly recommended.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


  1. Thanks so much for the kind words. I'm thrilled that you enjoyed the book so much.

  2. Replies
    1. It definitely is, Mary. Thanks for visiting Can We Cana to comment!

     am here to share with you my life experience on how a great man called Dr gbojie saved me and my marriage.I have been Married & Barren for for 5 years i had no child. i have never been pregnant i was a subject of laughter from my Friends & neighbors, i almost lost my marriage because of this issue.i was so confused that i did not know what to do until i came across this great Dr online and i contacted him at once i was scared weather it was going to work because i never believed things like this before, so i decided to give it a try and i did all what Dr gbojie asked of me and today to my greatest surprise i took in the first time and i gave birth to a bouncing baby boy and now my marriage that was about crashing before is now restored. my husband now love and want me better, Am so happy for everything that have been happening in my life since i met this Dr gbojie .I want to tell all the women/men out there who have a similar situation like mine,that the world is not over YET they should dry up their tears and contact this great man and their problem will be gone or are you also having other problems you can also contact His spells is for a better life OR call his number +2349066410185 or contact him on his website :  

  4. I want to thank Dr Emu a very powerful spell caster who help me to bring my husband back to me, few month ago i have a serious problem with my husband, to the extend that he left the house, and he started dating another woman and he stayed with the woman, i tried all i can to bring him back, but all my effort was useless until the day my friend came to my house and i told her every thing that had happened between me and my husband, then she told me of a powerful spell caster who help her when she was in the same problem I then contact Dr Emu and told him every thing and he told me not to worry my self again that my husband will come back to me after he has cast a spell on him, i thought it was a joke, after he had finish casting the spell, he told me that he had just finish casting the spell, to my greatest surprise within 48 hours, my husband really came back begging me to forgive him, if you need his help you can contact him with via email: or add him up on his whatsapp +2347012841542 is willing to help any body that need his help. 

  5. I actually was told otherwise, that the herpes can not be treated and that there is no way to make it go away once you have it. But I decided to do my own research and found out it is possible to fight it.. I got a lot of information about it here in forums and online,I got Dr Ogala contact on a group were a man from Cordova was sharing his testimony of how he cured him of herpes so I decided to give him a try I emailed him through . he called me to know if I actually wanted the cured after which the cure was sent to me few days later I was surprised when the same doctor who told me that I was diagnosed of herpes told me that I was completely free from herpes you can reach him through his email . or through his WhatsApp +2347049668119 if you are diagnosed and also wanna be free from this deadly virus because he is really gonna be of help to you..