Tonight I finished "Dream Thief" a science fiction book written by Stephen R. Lawhead. I bought the book almost a month ago, and it took me quite some time to finish. The back of the version I got mentions "Christian" three times, so as an atheist I was a bit scared. On the other hand, I did enjoy the Rama series by Arthur C. Clarke.
The back also states that this is "science fiction on the epic scale of Dune and Asimov's Foundation series". After reading the book, I can say that the person who wrote the back of the book didn't read Dream Thief or didn't read Dune. The book is ok, and just that. And don't get me started on "the most ambitious science fiction novel written by a Christian".
The story is about a scientist who does dream research on board of a space station. The first part of the book is about how he slowly finds out that someone is interfering with his dreams. This part was quite boring to me. The second part brings the scientist to Mars, and he makes accidentally a huge discovery. This part reminded me a bit about Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars books. The third part plays for a large part in India. There, the author has one of the main characters misquote Clarke's Third Law ("Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic") as "Any technology very far advanced beyond the accepted explanations of science is viewed as sorcery by the unenlightened". The final part brings the main characters back on the space station where the grand finale happens.
I liked the India part the most, even though I had the feeling that the author, Lawhead, looks down on India, and its people. Even if it follows somehow from the story I didn't like Lawhead writing "Hinduism was founded on a primitive misunderstanding, a mistake of cosmic proportions". Also in this part more things happen that bring the scientist closer to God, however, it's not very convincing, or maybe that's how I read it.
The story is quite ok. Not very good, and certainly not as good as the writing on the back tries to make one believe. The conversion of the main character to Christianity is not too present, and I didn't even consider it very convincing. In last two parts of the book the other characters lose dimension, they keep the main character company but they are hardly there. Overall the characters have little depth, and the book gave me the impression as written with teenagers in mind from an age past.