Science fiction is a tricky genre to conquer. It is not necessarily difficult to write: place some alien planets in made up galaxies, put out-of-this-world creatures onto the planets, then create some crazy mumbo jumbo to fill in the blanks to create the story. What is difficult about this genre is creating an intriguing story using the aforementioned information. What is even more difficult is when a writer wants to combine science fiction with another genre. This is not an impossible feat, but a writer does need to be careful, especially when a writer wants to fuse science fiction with theology. Writer Dave Cravens attempted this fusion and conquered it in his newest novel, The God Thought.
A huge explosion decimates a small town in Kansas as well as an airliner flying above it, killing thousands. The explosion is blamed on an accident from a fertilization plant in the small town. When Oliver Wells discovers his wife and daughter were on that tragic flight, he travels the world to overcome his grief. A year later, he is approached by a stranger who tells him who caused the explosion: a farmer had a thought, a thought so amazing it is said to mirror the thought God had to create the universe. Now Oliver, along with many others, are trying to find the farmer and unlock his knowledge of the God Thought.
Just from the premise, it would seem Cravens is stepping over some touchy boundaries in the theology department, for “the God Thought” is THE question. The question everyone wants answered and the knowledge everyone is desperate to obtain: the meaning of life. However, there are no boundaries crossed and no opinionated storytelling. In The God Thought, Cravens has mastered the art of a well-written and well-plotted story of epic proportions. People may question why this story would be considered epic. It is theology, isn’t it? True, Cravens’ story has theology in it, but one needs to remember that the story itself is categorized under the science fiction genre.
From beginning to end, this story keeps readers wanting more. There are no clichés and not very many predictable moments and this keeps the readers guessing. Cravens keeps his chapters short which makes it easy to find a stopping point; however, nearly 90% of the chapters end with a cliffhanger sentence that makes it impossible to stop reading. What is truly fascinating about the story is that it jumps between different forms of media found in today’s society. Aside from having chapters that tell the story of the main characters, there are multiple chapters that have a radio broadcast show and emails sent by mysterious people and text message conversations. Each type of media adds to the story and Cravens has the language of each type of media down pat, making the story much more believable.
Delving more into the story itself, it is extremely well-rounded. It is amazing how much information Cravens can cram into one page. The characters have beautiful development over the course of the story, especially Oliver, who is a likeable character from the start and becomes an even more likeable character come the end. Along with their development, the characters interact with each other perfectly and Cravens’ wonderfully unique writing style really shows in the exchange of dialog, which is the dominant form of storytelling in The God Thought.
To be frank, the brief synopsis given for The God Thought does not do Cravens’ newest book enough justice. There is so much more to this story than one can imagine. There is so much that happens and some parts, to be honest, are a bit out there, but it would not be science fiction if it wasn’t out there sometimes. The theological aspects are not, as aforementioned, opinionated in any way, shape, or form and Cravens leaves readers with an open mind to decide for themselves what they believe in life to be true. If readers are looking for something fun, insightful, thrilling, and, at times, mind boggling, pick up The God Thought. Cravens is an incredibly talented author who will hopefully continue to share his works with the world in the future.
Originally published at www.examiner.com on June 12, 2015.