The Dark Trench Saga, by Kerry Nietz (Evangelical science fiction)
“Sandfly is a debugger. He is property, bought and paid for in an Earth under sharia law. All faiths but one have been banned. And the rule of the great Imam is supreme.
“As a debugger, Sandfly has an implant in his head that connects him to the world’s technology—and doles out mental shocks to keep him obedient. All he wants is to fix bots and avoid shocks.
“Now he’s been called into Earth orbit. The masters have a new spacecraft—one capable of interstellar flight. On its maiden voyage, the only robot on board went mad and tore itself apart.
“Why? Better question: does it pose any risk to humans?
“When Sandfly reviews the bot’s final moments, he perceives something unexpected. Something impossible.
“As Sandfly pieces together the clues, a trap spreads beneath his feet. If he solves the mystery, he may doom himself. And if he fixes the robot, he may shatter his world.
“Suspenseful, unique, and awash in cyberpunk jive, A Star Curiously Singing presents a bleak future that might be closer than we think.”
The Dark Trench Saga is Evangelical science fiction at its best—the setting is unique and well-executed, and the faith-based aspect of the story is perceptive and complex enough to inspire thought. Nietz brilliantly uses a continuous digital “stream” of information as a symbol for the knowledge of God that flows to humanity from Heaven. This “superlative stream” provides a flow of light and truth to those who are spiritually prepared to receive it—sanctifying power that “reprograms” the person’s mind and heart.
One of my favorite conversations in the series occurs between Sandfly and another debugger named HardCandy in The Superlative Stream on Day 50, 4:56:03 p.m. At this point in the story, Sandfly has felt the transforming power of the “superlative stream” and traveled to another planet in an effort to locate its source, but he recognizes his weaknesses and is bewildered about what the true God wants him to do and why He called him on this particular mission in the first place. HardCandy suggests that Sandfly is holy, and Sandfly vehemently disagrees. They discuss the meaning of the word holiness, and HardCandy observes:
“You had your rules lifted by something. You’ve been chosen, so that must mean you’re holy enough to be free.”
A good question to ask ourselves might be: Am I holy enough to be free? Free from darkness? Free from sin? Have I felt the transforming power of “the superlative stream” in my own life? Do I really believe that it can purge me and make me 100 percent holy? Can I perceive God’s light and truth singing to me, or does everything I hear sound like noise?
Because I haven’t had much time to read over the past several months, my reading of these three novels has been sporadic and over a long period of time. I don’t recommend you read them that way! Each novel is unique in its pace and tone, but they work together in a larger story that will flow better for you if you are able to read all three of them back-to-back.