Worlds Apart, by J. C. Miller

worlds-apart-by-j-c-miller coverGenre: Faith Based Science Fiction
Publisher: Xulon Press
Published: 2002
Reviewer Rating: four and a half stars
Book Review by Heather Hunt

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First-time author J.C. Miller has written an action-packed science fiction novel with exotic locales on three planets: Amera, Saldra, and Hydra; three different species of intelligent aliens: Amerans, plyths, and kilps; and three types of fantastic travels: through space on a planet-hopper, through time in time warps, and through solid matter in Limbo. As you can see, Miller has an imagination and creative capability up to the task of the science fiction genre.

Yet Worlds Apart isn’t only an exciting sci-fi romp. In this same book, Miller has also written a theological treatise on the sovereignty of the Creator throughout the universe.

Her motivation behind this book is to counteract the general godlessness in much science fiction and the idea that life on other planets negates a personal, Creator God. I think she succeeds in this effort admirably well, and I am looking forward to the sequel to see how she further develops these ideas.

One way Miller accomplishes this task is to tell the story from the aliens’ viewpoint. The four-footed abnormally curious Saldran native plyth, Ellingsworth, is asked to leave his kind because of his refusal to stop asking questions. His friend Caraff, the kilp, a tiny furball species with a symbiotic relationship to plyths, reluctantly accompanies Ellingsworth as he traverses the Wasteland to a mysterious hill that draws him.

There he stumbles through a time warp and encounters Soloman, a 4-foot tall, bipedal Ameran, who is the last colonist of an experiment that went awry. Soloman is initially appalled at his meeting with the Saldrans because it violates the Ameran Code of Interstellar Travel, a body of laws that restricts contact with natives, much like Star Trek’s Prime Directive.

As time goes on, however, Soloman, a devout follower of the Creator, comes to see their encounter as providential. Events continue to unfold in a way that confirms his growing convictions. These events include erupting volcanoes, collapsing time warps, emergency space travels, planetary rescues, kidnapping-or alien-napping, laboratory experiments, miraculous healings and resurrections, courtroom drama and a bit of romance.

Humans take center stage only in the five-page prologue, but late in the novel when our friendly aliens wind up on the planet Hydra, readers will recognize its familiar characteristics. In the universe as envisioned by Miller, this planet is very diverse and troubled, but hasn’t yet begun to follow the Creator completely. The Amerans recognize the Bible as this world’s Word from the Creator and try to impress that fact on the native Hydrans (humans) they encounter.

Miller’s other writing interests sneak in occasionally with, for example, her frequent use of the screenwriting term “beat” where other novelists would use “pause”. But the science fiction genre stretches to the big screen; so most space enthusiasts will understand the term.

I give this novel a high commendation for its unique approach to science fiction and its admirable fulfillment of an ambitious goal. Miller is to be commended for a fine first effort. I’ll be looking for the sequel sometime this summer.

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