Monday, July 20, 2009
OffWorld by Robin Parrish
Two years into a mission to Mars, and some 60-days before their scheduled return to Earth, the crew on Ares loses contact with Houston. After a near fatal landing, the four member team steps out of the shuttle to find there is no one on Earth. No one-including animals-have inhabited Earth since the very day Ares lost contact with ground control.
What should be a celebration turns into a pulse quickening adventure as they try to find the source of the disappearances. Chris, the Commander of the mission remains in charge as he leads Terry, the youngest and most dramatic astronaut, Owen, the smartest and most level-headed of the bunch, and Trisha, the only woman who is the fiesty mother hen on board. They encounter Mae-a homeless teenager-who appears to be the only one left on Earth. And what’s up with the flash backs Chris keeps having related to a blackout he encountered during their mission on Mars? What of the hovering black hole-aka the void-the crew sees periodically that temporarily transports them to odd places? What about the fact that they all harbor secrets? The answers prove to be far more complex than the questions.
Don’t be lulled when the pace slows for a page or two. That is when the action takes off like a rock catapulted from a sling shot and you will be back to chewing your nails and reading at break neck speed. I have never been a fan of Sci-Fi. The storylines are typically unbelievable-eye rolling drama at best. OffWorld has single handedly changed the face of Christian Sci-Fi as it could never fall into the same category as its predecessors. Believable action with a backdrop of non-stop suspense, you will understand why I state that OffWorld does for novels what The Fugitive did for the silver screen.
The biggest surprise being that I was spellbound and in tears as the pages dwindled down. There are no outright conversations about Christianity but the implied twist of circumstances leaves the reader knowing beyond a shadow of doubt what Parrish wants you to know. And what that is……will leave you contemplating long after you close the cover. A book like this doesn’t cross your path often.
OffWorld is a journey for everyone. Spiritual insights can be subtle yet strong. And when you get it, you will be left with a sense that the pieces fit together in an almost poetic fashion. As for Parrish, well, I’ll have to admit to really liking the guy. Between the tone of his acknowledgements, his unique writing style and imagination, he presents his work as a modern Steven Spielberg.
Cliché? No. OffWorld really does keep you on the edge of your seat and well worth your time. Although don’t be surprised if once you’ve read the first page, life goes on hold until you close the back cover.
Reviewed by ~Mary
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Bethany House; 1 edition (July 1, 2009)
Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 1 inches