Malum has come.
That is the only message transmitted by the dark planetoid cutting a swath of destruction across the worlds of the Confederacy. None have stood against it — and many more will fall.
Commander Jared Carter is pulled out of leave by Naval Special Operations. His assignment is an unusual one: gather the scattered pieces of a mysterious text that may hold the only hope for staving off Apocalypse.
Together, Carter and the crew of the Raetelus find themselves on a quest that will challenge everything they have ever known. And perhaps reveal the secrets of a long-forgotten truth…
Imagine if you took the plot of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, integrated a mythopoetic Christian allegory, and let David Weber rewrite it as a work of military sci-fi. It would look very much like Edge of Oblivion. The story takes place far in the future, 1300 years after the end of a Dark Age resulting in the loss of all prior human history. As a result, the humans of this time have a completely different culture – much of it borrowed from their alien neighbors in a galactic Confederacy.
This loss of history sets the stage for a very interesting form of christian allegory.
This loss of history sets the stage for a very interesting form of Christian allegory. Those who have come across the term “exotheology” know that Christian Science fiction authors have several different approaches to addressing the question of extraterrestrial life as it pertains to Christ. That is, how would alien life forms fit in to the salvation plan given to Adam’s seed? This book features a highly original take on the idea that I had never come across before. I would still hesitate to accept it as literally true, but it works well within the book’s imaginary context.
In addition to its themes, the book has a taut storyline and excellent worldbuilding. The narrative keeps the reader’s interest with a constant note of suspense, utilizing a “quest” storyline involving a mystery with life or death implications and unexpected plot twists. The chapters are short and fast-paced, making the whole easily readable. The scenes with the “Malum” entity are also used to maintain a steadily building atmosphere of mystery and dread from the prologue onward. This could make the book seem scary to some while others will find it thrilling.
The book has a taut storyline and excellent worldbuilding.
The rules governing this imagined universe are highly rational ones, and I could see shades of David Weber in the depth of the technical descriptions. While the science is clearly imaginary, it is portrayed in a fashion that highlights the author’s knowledge of true scientific principles. The sheer wealth of detail both aids and hinders the story in places (I found some of the “military report” sections a bit confusing), but largely imparts more plausible feel.
I would recommend Edge of Oblivion to fans of both classic military science fiction and Christian allegory. I found it a highly enjoyable read with a thought-provoking take on some familiar themes.
Violence: Has action-oriented, non-graphic violence, but some may find the opening and the “suspense” elements that follow it somewhat scary.
Genre: Space Opera
Age recommendation: 13 and up.
Reviewed by A.K. Preston
A.K. Preston is the author of The Gevaudan Project, and has published short stories in The Unseen Anthology and The Untold Podcast (to be released sometime this year). You can find him at his website, AKPreston.com. In his spare time, he likes to read classic literature, history, and speculative fiction of all types.