The battle between good and evil

By  Samantha Hermack, Youth Speak News
  • January 15, 2009
{mosimage}Space Vulture , by Gary K. Wolf and Archbishop John J. Myers (Tor Publishing, 333 pages, $27.95).

When most people think about leaders of the Catholic Church, science fiction doesn’t usually come to mind. However, in March 2008, a book came out that could change this.

Gary K. Wolf, the man who created Roger Rabbit, and Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark, New Jersey, grew up together in a small town in Illinois and have been close friends ever since. As children, they loved reading science fiction books such as Space Hawk and decided to try and recapture the essence of those stories in their own novel, a tribute to the science fiction of their youth. The love that the authors have for this genre is clear in the wonderful novel they have written.

{sa 0765358077}The adventure starts when the infamous Space Vulture lands on the frontier planet Verlinap — where pioneers work hard alongside their robots — and captures the entire population to sell as slaves.

The Space Vulture is a very well known criminal, “the galaxy’s most feared villain.” He deals often in the illegal slave trade, but this time he gets a bonus when it turns out that the legendary Captain Victor Corsaire was also on the planet and was taken with the rest of the people. However, he underestimates one of his prisoners, a strong and beautiful woman named Cali Russell, the leader of the pioneers.

Combining their skills, Cali and Corsaire manage to escape the Space Vulture’s grasp and start a desperate attempt to go back to Verlinap and rescue Cali’s two sons, who had been hidden by their mother and left behind on the primitive planet.

What they don’t know is that the two young boys are on a similar quest to save their mother and their hero, and have teamed up with a criminal whose only desire is to find the money to pay off a debt.

The adventure is continuous in this novel, with everything leading up to an epic battle between the heroes and the evil Space Vulture.

At times, the plot is a bit too predictable, and some of the characters don’t have a lot of depth, but the story stays true to traditional science fiction.

The characters of Space Vulture are just as humourous and colourful as the plot, ranging from Gil, a criminal with a cricket’s arm and a beetle’s eye, to a brilliant creature called a Confucian, with a head many times larger than its frail body.

As well as the entertainment value, the story also has an aspect of faith, as several of the characters are strong believers in God and Christian values are obvious in many of them.

Space Vulture is a very clear battle between good and evil. The heroes are wholly good, and the villain is, without a doubt, bad. There is no wondering if heroes have hidden motives or if they aren’t as good as they seem. They truly are good, and their mistakes are made with the noblest of intentions. Despite the fact that the Space Vulture himself remains evil, some of the other questionable characters experience redemption by the end of the book.

This sort of a story leaves no bad feelings when you have finished it, no deep gloom to try and shake off, even with a surprise at the end.

However, Space Vulture is a science fiction novel, so if the reader does not enjoy that genre, this book might not have high appeal. Regardless, Space Vulture is a fun, refreshing novel that is enjoyable to read.

(Hermack, 16, is a Grade 11 home-schooled student in Grand Bay-Westfield, N.B.)

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