The John Knapp II File:
Reviewed by Grace Bridges
Earth is Not Alone by John Knapp
"...an entertaining and highly unusual read..."
Refreshingly non-linear, this book bears more resemblance to a multimedia experience than a novel - while still remaining a printed work. In other words, don't expect a normal tale or anything resembling one. Here is sci-fi and mystery, bound up with fairytale allegories and teen romance. Stories within stories, set off by a series of vignettes and news clippings, conspire to create a puzzle where it is not possible just to read along for the ride - you have to put your best deduction skills to use and draw your own conclusions and connections between the various clues which at first seem very random - and also include the typography!
I particularly enjoyed the very practical ingenuity displayed by all the main characters in the Zareba storyline. It's the kind of tale that can give you faith to make it through incredible challenges with limited resources, as it slowly becomes clear that we are not alone: there is help from supernatural realms if we know how to ask for it. Assertive women, brave men, and a handful of random tools on a mountaintop can serve to rescue an entire kingdom from war.
Besides this, the narrative is filled with complex mathematical calculations, speculative discussions, Biblical interpretation, literary criticism, medieval-style fortress defense that gets you cheering for the underdog-that-isn't, and even String Theory gets a mention. This is also the first book I've ever seen that truly tackles the concept of life on other worlds from within the Christian worldview. If there were aliens elsewhere, how would they be covered by our theology since it was here on Earth that Jesus lived? We begin to see how it might be plausible, through a complex series of discussions and connections.
Having said that, it seems that this volume serves only as an introduction
to the actual story that is yet to come. No doubt this background information
will be indispensable to aid in comprehending future instalments. As such,
it is complete in itself yet only if viewed as a prequel. It's certainly
an entertaining and highly unusual read - a novel novel, as it were - and
I look forward to more from this author.
Grace Bridges is a sci-fi author (Faith Awakened, 2007, and Legendary Space Pilgrims, 2010) and owner of Splashdown Books, an independent publisher of inspirational sci-fi and fantasy. She's a Kiwi of Irish descent living in beautiful New Zealand, and a chocaholic cat-lovin' Trekkie, Jesus freak, web designer, and all-round DIY gal who also takes care of the Lost Genre Guild blog. Tweets: @gracebridges - or visit www.gracebridges.com for more.