The first book in the Prosperine series is The Alien Corps, but the start of this story takes place a long time before then.
Who or what is the Alien Corps?
To answer that question, I need to take you back in time to 2014, when the idea of The Alien Corps was gathering pace.
I’ve been a fan of science fiction adventure books from an early age and I’m fascinated by the history of religions, whether Christianity, Hinduism or Islam. Although I am not a very religious person per se, I enjoy reading books that include a religious element – e.g. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, A Prayer for Owen Meany By John Irving, Revival by Steven King, The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. None of these authors are classified as “Christian science fiction writers.”
When I was looking for a new topic for a novel, I came across a news report about the discovery of an ancient tomb in Jerusalem that some authorities claimed to hold the remains of Jesus Christ and his family. This was later discredited by most scientists, but further “evidence” has since come to light. If you would like to know more about the debate surrounding the authenticity of “Jesus’ Family Box”, the article in Live Science is particularly interesting and provides opposing views. Check it out here: Live Science.
In ancient times, people would initially bury their dead in a shroud, but once the flesh had rotted away, they often took the remaining bones and placed them in a small limestone box called an ossuary (like the one in the picture). Believe it or not, parts of the world still follow this custom. For example, the use of ossuaries is a long-standing tradition in the Eastern Orthodox Church. In Orthodox monasteries, when one of the brethren dies, his remains are buried for one to three years, and then disinterred, cleaned, and gathered into the monastery’s vault.
Intrigued by the news report, I started researching the origins of the bible stories. Some of the things I discovered include:
- It’s generally accepted by academics that some parts of the Bible’s New Testament were written well before 120 AD, but the earliest physical proof of the gospel comes from some fragments written by John the Evangelist, dated between 125-175 AD. This is a small scrap of papyrus kept under lock and key at Manchester University, UK.
- In the first century after the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, many letters were written to church congregations by converts who were not eyewitnesses to his life and/or death. For example, after Saul of Tarsus experienced his epiphany at Damascus (in which he had a vision of the risen Jesus) he changed from being a prosecutor of Christianity to become one of their greatest leaders, Paul the Apostle.
- Paul was a prolific writer of letters to various embryonic church communities around the world. Many of his stories are documented in the Acts of the Apostles which provides a heap of information about the development of the early Christian church.
- Gospel stories of the life of Christ were often passed by word of mouth and parts of the New Testament are based on oral traditions (The four Gospels are remarkably consistent, indicating they have the same source material.)
- Some of these stories included ‘heretical’ beliefs that were later denounced by the church and subsequently excluded from the 27 books that make up the New Testament. Well-known examples include the Gospel of Mary, and the Gospel of Thomas, the latter celebrated by a group of Gnostic theologians. The introduction of this book of sayings states “These are the secret words that the living Jesus spoke and Didymos Judas Thomas wrote them down.” In this instance, Didymus claims to be an eyewitness. (For more information on Gnosticism, see this Wikipedia article.)
When I began to develop the storyline for Born of Fire, I was keen to include elements of what I had discovered in my research, and I was also influenced by the writings of other authors of science fiction and fantasy, e.g. Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials) as well as Frank Herbert (Dune), and Isaac Asimov (Foundation) are a few.
Born of Fire, the prequel to the Alien Corps tells of the discovery in 2094 of a manuscript written by an eyewitness to the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. (Can you spot the similarity?)
This manuscript (I also named it the Gospel of Thomas) includes several additional passages found in no other historical document. The main addition (and the basis of the science fiction story) is these words I attributed to Jesus ‘The Lord of Light will be revealed to all the people of the universe, man and not-man alike. He will lead his followers to Earth, where they will join the dead and the living in the final battle, and they shall prevail over the evil one.’
In the book, after years of validation, Pope Innocent XIV authenticates the manuscript in the year 2102 and releases the contents together with the Vatican’s own conclusions on the veracity of the passage concerning the Lord of Light.
Worldwide disruption takes over, and the Vatican is bombed by a xenophobic movement called the People’s Crusade. The story goes on to tell of Talya Candemir’s desperate race to preserve the manuscript following the outbreak of World War III. She flees Earth to the planet Sumer and places the manuscript in a vault containing valuable Christian artifacts.
By 2110 the Earth begins to recover from the nuclear devastation. Mutants, including Empaths, (see What is an Empath?) emerge from the wastelands, factories are rebuilt, and communications and transport infrastructure are restored. The United World Government is born, and the search for the Lord of Light referred to in the Gospel of Thomas begins in earnest.
Four years later, Talya Candemir returns to Earth and is appointed as the first commander of The Alien Corps.
The first book in the Prosperine Series, The Alien Corps, picks up the story sixty-six years later, when Talya’s granddaughter, Hickory Lace, joins the Alien Corps and departs on her first mission to Aquarius IV. This foray ends in disaster and results in her being demoted to a teaching post. But not for long. Soon she is off to the planet Prosperine.
On the planet Prosperine, intelligent life has evolved like no other in our universe. The inhabitants look human—more or less—but they do hatch from eggs. It comes as a shock, then, when one of the locals is reported to be performing miracles.
Hickory and her crew, space pilot Jess Parker and the young genius Gareth Blanquette, are sent to check out the situation. If they can survive the savage beasts and carnivorous plants, a bloody civil war, and a sinister alien plot, they might discover something truly astonishing about the mystic known as “the Teacher.”
The Alien Corps has been downloaded thousands of times and received hundreds of positive reviews. The book is an eclectic mix of science fiction, religious fantasy, and Hickory’s search for identity and meaning.
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