“Stanton has assembled a stellar collection of rising talent, a treat for any reader who enjoys fresh, well-crafted storytelling. Highly recommended to any library that collects contemporary fiction.” —The Christian Librarian, USA, reviewed by Werner A. Lind.
“The anthology mixes modern themes—genetic engineering, android rights and artificial intelligence—with new twists on old standbys like time travel and vampires…Together they make for eye-opening and heartfelt writing.” —Faith Today, Canada, reviewed by Terry Burman.
“Some of these stories are beautiful, glorious or heart-breaking. Some are horrifying and grotesque…some others are just downright strange. Recommended for fans of genre stories.” —Christian Fiction Review, USA, reviewed by Tim Frankovich.
“I would urge all lovers of the arts to get hold of one or all of the chapbook-style publications by contacting Skysong Press. Be prepared for anything: your emotions might vary from anger to deep compassion; you may laugh, or you may cry; and it is highly likely you will wrestle with your heart-beliefs like Jacob and the angel…Within their pages I met (among others) an android who has a born-again experience, a modern day St. Francis struck by lightning, a child who loses her mother at Christmas, and a man who jumps off buildings so he can share a secret. This is fiction at its most compelling: when something we know as intimately as breathing is turned askew and we, viewing it from a different angle, see it as if it were brand new.” —ChristianWeek, Canada, reviewed by Fay S. Lapka.
Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence.
This crowning work by veteran religious scholar Karen Armstrong is a comprehensive history of human violence dating back to primitive hunter-gatherers, sweeping across grand sagas of international empires and apocalyptic genocides. This detailed study of the most heinous crimes against humanity is written in a clear dispassionate tone as a timely and vital testament against the “myth of religious violence.” Notions of cultural superiority and divine mission have long been used to justify organized atrocity, when the ecstasy of battle merged with religious or secular propaganda creates an illusion of utter righteousness, but the true source of warfare has always been economic. The root of human conflict stems from the unscrupulous exploitation of the vast majority of the population by a warrior elite who compose their own narrative of validation. As an inspiration to terrorism, nationalism has been far more productive than religion, and nine out of ten people slaughtered during war have been unarmed civilians. Armstrong argues that warfare was natural and necessary to mankind, from the birth of early agrarian economies to the later development of merchant civilization, and no other successful model of organized human behavior has yet to be shown viable. Even the most peaceful empires founded on sacred motives degrade to corruption and tyranny over time, and identical spiritual beliefs have inspired diametrically opposed ideologies. The author urges the reader to cultivate a global outlook in our interconnected world and rise above the media conjurors who try to make religion a scapegoat for modern atrocity. Some western observers feel powerless and confused in the face of “revolutionary suicide” and freelance terrorism, but for many oppressed people living in poverty, dying with your victim is no greater sin than dropping a cluster bomb from above. The challenge for the future will be to embrace a universal understanding as we wrestle with the gods and demons of history.
Erasing Death: The Science That Is Rewriting the Boundaries Between Life and Death.
After-death experiences have been reported in all cultures and religions throughout history, and the general characteristics of this euphoric phenomenon are now common lore (the tunnel to bright light, the benevolent guardian, etc.) In Erasing Death, Dr. Sam Parnia presents a solid overview of the death experience from a scientific viewpoint, and issues a public call for standardized techniques of resuscitation in hospitals and hypothermic preservation of cellular activity during the death process. He also includes a fascinating collection of highly lucid, detailed and accurate memories from patients with no electrical activity in the brain, raising serious problems for scientific reductionism and the “dying brain” hypothesis that is currently in vogue. Dr. Parnia points to the need for a new scientific theory of the mind, and calls for more rigorous objective measurement of the afterlife consciousness.
The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom.
The Net Delusion is an insightful political commentary debunking the myth of cyber-utopianism, the notion that freedom of information will lead to democratic change in the world. With extensive and detailed historical research, Evgeny Morozov argues that the internet is just another form of entertainment and not a tool of empowerment, and that technological determinism ratifies current culture worldwide. Western governments are increasing censorship and surveillance techniques in response to internet abuse and have already lost any high moral ground over China and Iran, as the advance of extremist and criminal groups has resulted in a global increase of network harm, polarization and mobilized hate, exposing “Internet Freedom” as a dangerous myth and a poor marketing ploy for democracy. What foreign government would not feel threatened as their citizens are invited to store all their secrets on American servers, when Google Earth and Radio Free Europe were both funded initially by the CIA? Indeed, the notion of a global internet is an American fallacy. The stated bias of Evgeny Morozov is to promote the advance of democracy, but his assumption that economically floundering Western nations can offer a viable alternative to competing political paradigms seems highly suspect when new technologies of deep-packet inspection and automated censure will soon eliminate the last shreds of online anonymity and threaten freedom of expression worldwide.