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Superior Species

by Tony Phillips

Superior Species by Tony Phillips


Superior Species

  • Superior Species by Tony Philips

    The Plot:

    Marsha Peters is a driven young college professor who has returned to her alma mater for the chance to work under a prof she idolized as an under-grad student. Finding that he has slipped into a funk of just accomplishing enough to retain tenure, she schemes to bring him back to life. Marsha succeeds and she (and other teachers and students) head out with the famous Dr. Haddock for a summer of exploring volcanic vents on the ocean floor. Once there, they discover a life form that has never been catalogued before--because it's from another world.

    Meanwhile, the reader is introduced to a ruthless race that is intent on destroying all life in the galaxy that it considers inferior to itself (which is all other life). How can the technologically inferior earthlings defeat the Superior Species?

    Reviewing the book:

    This book is plot-driven. Most novels are--or appear to be--character driven. I.e. the story focuses on the characters and it is from their personalities, foibles and, well, character that the story evolves. The driving force behind Superior Species is the plot and the characters within are there to serve the plot. This takes some getting used to, since it runs counter to most modern fiction, but it can be done and done well, which is the case with Superior Species.

    The author does a good job of bringing up points that, when brought up, lead the reader to say, "Wait a minute!" only to find that he does answer the question later, and in a logical manner. This happens several times and you would think I would have gotten used to it, but he kept surprising me until the end. While a couple of these revelations seemed a tad set-up (i.e. why didn't he just tell me this earlier?), none of them seemed contrived, which is a testament to his story-telling ability. For instance, when he explains how the villains of the book--who don't come across as the sharpest quills on the porcupine--could have overwhelmed their technological and intellectual betters, the answer actually makes sense (and maybe even explains how the Klingons of Star Trek could have ever gotten off their home planet).

    The story is exciting and keeps moving. As the book nears its climax, the speed picks up; to the point that a couple times I wished for a little more character exposition--on the other hand, I couldn't wait to get to what came next.

    Many ideas are woven into this book, not all of which I would agree with. That being said, though, remember: it's fiction! Fiction, by definition, is a story that didn't happen. Good fiction makes the reader think it could happen, or makes a story that couldn't happen interesting and this is good fiction which I would put in that second category.

    There are some glitches in the presentation; missing words being the most frequent abuses, which can probably be put at the feet of the editor and/or publisher rather than the author. Verb tenses change in the middle of a sentence or paragraph now and then, though not frequently. There are not enough of these glitches to reduce the rating of the book, but there are enough that they should be mentioned.


    Technically, this book is not Christian fiction; it's universalist fiction. While the titular leads (you shouldn't have closed the dictionary after looking up "universalist", huh?) are Christians, they are only marginally driven by their faith and the "strongest" Christian in the group is also the most foul-mouthed character in the book. The book itself is God-honoring, though many Christians would debate whether the god honored is their God or not. (I can't really explain that without giving away too much of the plot.) For more on this, watch my blog (as to deal with this question I may have to reveal some plot points, something I am loathe to do in a review).




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Other Recommendations from Best Christian Fiction

  • First Time: The Legend of Garison Fitch - by Samuel White

  • In His Steps - by Charles M Sheldon


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