I’m not traditionally a Sci-Fi fan, but more and more, I’ve found the genre has crept into the mainstream more and I’m finding it in more and more places. It may have started with LOST, the appointment viewing television show that set new standards of excellence for the TV landscape. It may have been sooner, but since LOST, many more shows have tried to capture that audience and strike the chord that resonates with viewers who would otherwise have nothing to do with science fiction. The key to it all (besides brilliant writing, strong character development, intrigue, and masterful story telling, of course) is time travel. But not just time travel in the traditional “point a” to “point b” sense of the term. Time travel that includes multiple universes, time lines, galaxies, and numerous other dimensions we can’t really quantify, but can only imagine. Now, these concepts are finding me in books… and that’s where I am today.

Four book reviews for you today and the common thread is… A STIFF ARM TO SPACE, TIME, AND DIMENSIONAL CONTINUITY.

Illusion – Frank Peretti

Frank Peretti is famously known for delving into the world of spiritual warfare. Sure, he’s written about other subjects, but when you think Frank Peretti, you think angels and demons swinging swords and hiding in shadows as they manipulate people to gain some influence in the outcome of humanity. In fact, when he’s strayed from these supernatural themes, it’s been less than spectacular (Monster, anyone?)

Regardless, after an extended break, Peretti returns with an all new novel. And it’s not about spiritual war, it’s actually about time travel… sort of. It’s a love story with a lot of twists and turns and, besides the nagging suspicions that it was doomed for a disappointing or pat ending, I was pleasantly surprised. Solid character development and unpredictable plot turns marked the story that draws you in as the underlying story is slowly revealed.

The Spirit Well – Stephen Lawhead

In the third installment of the Bright Empire Series, Lawhead continues to weave together a handful of story lines that intertwine and intersect much like the time lines throughout the narrative. Readers get more of the back story behind the skin map, how it came to be hidden throughout the world in separate pieces, and the strange symbols used to create. Furthermore, we’re introduced new characters and organizations committed to studying the science behind ley travel.

Allegiances are made, lines are drawn, and the overarching story becomes a little bit clearer. We’re also told that this series is intended to span five books in total, so we’re past the halfway mark. The stage is set and now we must wait patiently to see how it all comes together. Unless we learn how to travel…

Battle for Cannibal Island – Marianne Hering and Wayne Batson

On the lighter side of time travel, the Imagination Station series continues to engage younger readers with tales of yesteryear and modern characters learning lessons and exploring history with the help of their handy dandy time machine. Episode 8 brings them onto a desert island filled with angry cannibals. They learn from their ship’s captain that these cannibals shouldn’t be trusted or treated fairly, but missionary James Calvert offers a different perspective. Calvert teaches them that God loves all people, regardless of how they appear. And we are to love them as well.

Escape to the Hiding Place – Marianne Hering and Marshall Younger

Episode 9 is slightly shorter, but takes the cousin duo back to World War II Holland where they learn about the plight of the Jews under the growing Nazi regime. They participate in the Dutch resistance and come to meet the Ten Boom family among others as they learn to be brave in the face of danger, to do what’s right despite possible consequences, and to trust God when things don’t make complete sense.

These two are quick reads and enjoyable stories for younger readers (both of the littles love them). Fans of Magic Tree House or Secrets of Droon books who are looking for (or at least don’t mind) a Christian twist will find it here. I’d also add a nod to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse as the cousins always have random objects that come in handy at just the right time.

peace… love… bdg…