17 May, 2012

SLIPSTREAM Blog Tour: A Guest Post By Michael Offutt

Today it is my honor to host Michael Offutt, author of the new Science Fiction book Slipstream. He's an amazing blogger who writes about some truly interesting and thought-provoking subjects, so head on over to his blog and follow him. Or, you know, read this post and then head on over to his blog and follow him. Either's good.

And now, take it away, Michael!


If you follow Eagle’s blog and are reading these words, you are most likely a person who is scientifically minded. Eagle has probably one of the best blogs that I visit for posting scientific thought amidst smatterings of book reviews and other things.

Anyone that knows me or visits my blog knows that I’m in the least, agnostic and at the most, atheist. I read Richard Dawkins, I post quotes from Sam Harris, and my heroes are Stephen Hawking, Neil deGrasse Tyson,  and Dr. Michio Kaku. I also love the teachings of the late Carl Sagan.

When I’m not working at the day job, I write science-fiction.  For my book, I combine real-world science with the idea of an intelligently designed universe. This doesn’t mean I believe in intelligent design. Rather, it means that I think intelligent design belongs in science-fiction. And this idea really rubs some people wrong.  If I wrote a fantasy novel and made up gods and gave them all names like Aburajj the Destroyer and Makeleh the Bringer of Light, no one would get upset.  But because the spirituality I choose to embrace in my book has (in part) to do with Christian lore, I've had some people be very vocal in how much they dislike that.

One person hinted in a review that spirituality should not belong in science-fiction. Fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

But where does it belong? Given my background, it makes perfect sense for me to talk about it the way that I do and in the format that I do.

In the end, I think that people who want a science-fiction view of what could be actual reality in twenty years or so will not like what I write. I'm not here to predict the future and give you a glimpse of things I see in a crystal ball at the end of the 21st century.

SLIPSTREAM and the series A Crisis of Two Worlds is about a designer universe and what I hope is a new spin on angels and demons. The "spin" is I’m using real-world science and quantum mechanics.  And the final product…It’s all fiction folks! It's all make-believe and (in my mind) just as valid as a world that’s flat, filled with gods and hobbits, and an all-powerful ring to rule them all. To play the devil's advocate…aren't there already enough science-fiction books with spaceships and aliens? I wanted something different. I wanted a story based in present-day earth that combines some of the things that a lot of the people I know actually believe in. I think the result is going to be people will either love it, or they’ll despise it.

I have a contest for the release of my book.  I will pick one random person who comments on this post to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card and a SLIPSTREAM jeweled spider (the same person wins both prizes). The jeweled spider really sparkles in the sunlight. I hope whoever wins it really likes it. Also, please make sure that your email is linked to your signature in some way. :) And yes, the crystal spiders play an important role in my book.
1) Mark my book “To Read” on Goodreads.
2) Comment on this post.
3) Tweet this post if you have twitter. You don’t have to sign-up for twitter. It’s the "honor" system. :)

That’s it. I will choose a winner on Saturday, May 19th. And thank you, Eagle, for having me on your fine blog.

Slipstream on:


So, what do you think about combining religion with Science Fiction?

-----The Golden Eagle


Em-Musing said...

Well, here you are. LOve the spider, even though I hate spiders. Absolutely mix religion with science fiction...with 'fiction' being the operative word. If you're asking a deeper question, we'll both need a beer. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Well, controversy does get attention.

Old Kitty said...

Who said spirituality in science fiction don't mix!?!? I mean look at Star Wars! There's good vs bad, light vs dark. There's Obi-Wan and Yoda spouting spiritualisms and they - along with a redeemed Darth Vader all end up in a sort of spiritual cloudy haven at the end of the series!?!?

Oh I do like that spider! Take care

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Michael and Golden .. quite honestly do what you want - and you do .. by the sound of it. We can use it or lose it .. we can read it or not - as our brain lets us click in or out.

Crumbs - gosh ... I'd say many science fiction writers are very philosophical characters and offer much for the world in general.

All opinions and ideas are just those - what we do with them .. well it's what we do to them - add to our own knowledge or presume we're right and ignore.

Cheers - good luck with Slipstream .. Hilary

tfwalsh said...

A most awesome book...:)

PT Dilloway, Superhero Author said...

I don't know why people would get upset about that. Who gets upset when you talk about all the Christian allegories in "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" for instance? But when it comes to religion some people get really touchy if they even slightly think you're mocking or deriding their religion.

Tonja said...

I think that aspect of your story makes it more intriguing, not less. I must remember to sign up for Goodreads today...I love that spider.

Charles the Reader said...

The good thing about stories is that they do not have to be contained by one person's ideas. So spirituality can definitely be in science fiction.

Oh, and that spider looks pretty awesome.

Cherie Reich said...

Wonderful post! I have no problems with mixing religion with science fiction. Religion is something vastly cultural to human beings (even the absence of religion says a lot about a culture), so it has a place in novels, even science fiction ones.

Carole Anne Carr said...

I'm about to combine religion with a comedy that moves from century to century, so who am I to say. :0)

Elise Fallson said...

It's a work of fiction. The only requirement is that it makes sense.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Writing thought-provoking fiction can be hazardous to your health. Just kidding.
I think thought-provoking fiction is a far cry better than the mindless stuff, and since religious belief has definitely had a place in scifi before, I don't see why it wouldn't with your novel. Our lives are often shaped by our worldviews, and that can be true of our characters in their fictional lives too.
Besides, even when an author leaves out their worldview/faith/belief, it's often noticeable anyway.

Sarah Ahiers said...

Pshaaa. I've ready plenty of sci-fi with spirituality in it. Saying it doesn't belong there strikes me as awful close to censorship imop

Charles Gramlich said...

My favorite science fiction works of all times had had spiritual elements, Dune. Canticle for Leibowitz, plenty of others.

Shelly said...

Sounds good.

Dalya Moon said...

I'm never surprised to find spirituality in sci-fi books, but then again, I grew up reading 70s paperbacks. There's always mind-melding and all sorts of stuff.

Just keep at it. People who say what should or shouldn't be in a book are better off focusing that energy on writing their own perfect book. :-)

Deborah Walker said...

I'm surprised about that comment you received. Science Fiction has a long tradition of mixing science and religion. I think you must have touched a nerve in that reviewer.

Andrew Leon said...

Science and spirituality go hand in hand. The whole idea of intelligent design came out of science. Physicists and others who came to the end of things and saw that they could explain the design in the universe without an intelligent creator. If it belongs in science, it belongs in science fiction.

And I WANT that spider!

Matthew MacNish said...

Why is it I'm the only one who couldn't get the animated .gif to work?

Matt said...

I'm definitely a scientific thinking person, I love quantum mechanics and science fiction! Love the cover to the book...really looks amazing. I agree with what Cherie Reich said about religion being cultural to human beings, despite what truth it may or may not have, it is a part of our culture at the very least.

Misha Gericke said...

Well. Now I know I REALLY would like to read your story.

I'm intrigued to read your take on my faith. :-)

Also, I agree with Old Kitty, Star Wars, one of THE sci fi stories for all the ages pretty much had the Force down as a religion in the first three movies.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

@Em-Musing: Thank you for the permission slip *hugs

@Alex: Does it? You got any examples?

@Old Kitty: I agree

@Hilary: Thank you.

@TFWalsh: Thank you.

@P.T.: There are some people who are upset at C.S. Lewis.

@Tonja: You are not on Goodreads? It's so much fun!

@Charles: I agree.

@Cherie: I agree. Well spoken.

@Carole: Exactly. And you should feel free to do so. Just there will be people who don't like it.

@Tyrean: good point

@Falen: You are the awesomest.

@Charles: Those are great examples.

@Shelly: thank you

@Andrew: Thanks for being so supportive my friend. I appreciate that you've visited every one of my tour posts.

@Matthew: I'm not sure. I guess it's the way your site works.

@Matt: I love your avatar picture.

@Misha: You're just sayin' that so I'll edit your manuscript. But I'm a sucker for compliments.

Andrew Leon said...

Well, I'd have done it even if I didn't want the spider, just so you know.

But I do want that spider!

Andrew Leon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mooderino said...

i think ultimately science and religion come from the same place, a need for expalanations.


Brinda said...

I think that is what makes good fiction. You have to be challenged to believe something and good writing does that.

M Pax said...

Get folks talking and arguing. That's great, Michael. It's all good for you.

Waving at Eagle.

Helena said...

Hey Michael -- If you want to mix spirituality with sci fi, go for it. In fact you should be free to mix genres, ideas, plots and whatever else as much as you want. All that matters in the end is if a writer tells a story so well people want to read it. The idea that there have to be rigid rules to genre writing and that a genre must be kept pure is... well, like literary fascism.

Cindy said...

There is always going to be someone who doesn't like something. You probably messed with someone's beliefs in a way you don't realize. *shrug*

laughingwolf said...

mike, i like the way you put that...

let no one stop your writing - doubtless, a grand twist in the genre - well done!

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

@Andrew: I hope you win it!

@Moody: Wise words

@Brinda: I agree

@M Pax: Hmmm...Alex did say something about controversy...

@Helena: Thank you.

@Cindy: I suppose you are right.

@laughingwolf: Thanks dude.

Liz said...

If you're not offending someone, you're doing it wrong.

I don't see why spirituality/religious elements can't be in sci fi. Such things don't bother me.

Christine Rains said...

I like reading fictional takes on scientific theories. It offers some good thinking material. Good luck with Slipstream!

L.G.Smith said...

I think you can write about anything you want to write about. There will be an audience for it. No one ever pleased everyone. Ever.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

I think spirituality and science fiction can mix. I suppose it depends on what you hope to accomplish with your story :)

Trisha said...

I see no reason why people should not be able to write about gods and stuff...in their *fiction*. after all, our stories are just as made up as anything in the bible. ;)

For Eagle:

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

@Liz: Good point!

@Christine: Thank you :)

@L.G.: That's true, I suppose.

@Carolina: Spoken with much political correctness.

Janet Johnson said...

Interesting stuff here. I think people get reality and fiction mixed up quite frequently. I think it is fair game to write the book the way you want to write it. But like you said, you have to accept that not everyone will embrace it.

Still, that's true for any book. Best of luck with it!

Andrea Teagan said...

I just wanted to say bravo for having the courage to write what you want and include spirituality in your science fiction. I think that is brilliant! Sounds like a great book :)


Emily R. King said...

Yay for Michael! Slipstream is high on my TBR list. I look forward to it!

Nancy Thompson said...

I think spirituality and science fiction go hand-in-hand. How can you not wonder about the origins of everything, especially a designer universe? There has to be some place to start and that place is determined by one's belief system. One thing is for sure, when you start brewing up a storm of controversy, people take notice.

Nick Wilford said...

You always run the risk of upsetting someone. I would take it as a compliment to provoke a strong reaction, rather than "meh".

Spirituality, science... it's all conjecture really so there's no reason not to mix them up. It's good for a writer to find new ways of looking at things.

Robyn Campbell said...

*waving* Heyya Michael! Thanks for hosting him Eagle. I follow Eagle cause she's cool and writes great blog posts. Michael, we're blogger buds and you know that you and I disagree on the subject of God. Eagle and I also know that we too disagree on the subject of Christ and the fact that there is a God. The one true God. But I still heart you guys. I want to read your book I'm just waiting to pay the credit card off for the month so I can charge some more books. Yours is one of them. (I agree about the spaceships and aliens and thing.)

DWei said...

That's impressive, I haven't even published a paper yet.

I won't join in the contest though. Spider jewelry really isn't my thing. :P

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

Thanks everyone, especially Eagle for hosting me. I shall choose a winner today and notify you by email :)

Southpaw said...

Of course they should be blended! They don't have to be, but there are some great books out there that do. It would only enrich the story.

The Golden Eagle said...

Thanks to you all for stopping by this guest post!

Michael: It was my pleasure to host you. :)

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