Monday 28 November 2022

Novel Review: The Boy Who Cried Christmas by Dennis Bailey.

The Boy Who Cried Christmas. 

9-year-old Logan Ailshie, the only son of well-to-do parents, was used to getting his way, especially during the holidays. For him, Christmas wasn’t just about making a list but making sure it was long enough. He also had a reputation for embellishing the truth. That is until a chance meeting with an angel on the streets of Manhattan ends with a journey back in time to the birthplace of Christianity. Eventually, he makes his way home with a story that could change all their lives. He only has one problem . . . no one will believe him.

Perspective by Peter: 

I don't have much time nowadays for written reviews so I thought I would try my hand at video reviews. This is my first attempt. The Boy Who Cried Christmas is one heart-warming, moving and tender story. It would be a great start to your Christmas reading. 

If you would like to investigate this novel further, click on the link below: 

Readers and reviews are an author’s best asset, so I encourage any reader, to consider reading The Boy Who Cried Christmas and submit a review on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest (or any other social media you subscribe to).

Reviews help promote an author’s novel to potential readers and encourage the author to keep writing. Reviews also help get the author’s message (and God’s message) to the reader, whether Christian or not, who may need encouragement and support in their lives while being entertained by the story.

Please note: As an Amazon Associate, I am required to disclose that book cover images or titles of novels in this post are paid links if they are linked to Amazon and result in a sale.

Saturday 26 November 2022

Guest Blogger: Fear Not: Why Christians Do Not Need to Avoid Horror by Jess Hanna

Today I am reproducing (with permission) an article published by Christian novelist, Jess Hanna who writes in the genre of Christian Horror.

Wait, what did you say, Christian Horror? Is there such a thing? Is this a genre? This sounds heretical and blasphemous! These have been some of the questions and statements I have had aimed at me from fellow Christians when I stated I read (and reviewed) Christian Horror.

This has always been a controversial and divisive topic in Christian circles. However, when you look at the Bible, there is so much horror contained therein, that there is no basis for the controversy surrounding this topic. It is here that we see the origin of horror.

I always like to know why a novelist writes in the genre(s) they do and the topics they address in their novels. So I was excited when I came across this article by one of my favourite novelists, Jess Hanna.

So without further ado, I will let Jess explain to you why he writes Christian Horror.

Fear Not: Why Christians Do Not Need to Avoid Horror.

Jess Hanna  Post published: October 20, 2022. 
Reading time: 9 mins read.

It feels almost like a cliché to discuss the taboos surrounding Christians writing horror, but perhaps that is only because I have been a Christian horror writer for many years now. To begin, I can tell you that I have never been confronted about my affinity for horror outright, scolded for doing something wrong, counseled about my interest in the supernatural, or called a heretic. I don’t know if it is because some people think these things and don’t say them, or I surround myself with people who are strange, like me. I like to think that perhaps it is because of how I explain why I do what I do when asked about my writing. Then again, some people may just express themselves with passive-aggressive criticism.

I am first and foremost a born-again Christian. Jesus Christ is my Lord and my Savior. I am also an avid fan of the horror and supernatural thriller genres in all formats, including books, movies, television, and even video games. This may seem like a dichotomy to some, but I would argue that the Christian faith is nothing if not supernatural first. The Bible is filled with miraculous healings, dead people coming to life, the blind who can suddenly see, an entire nation of people walking through the Red Sea, the raising of the dead, and Jesus Christ’s own resurrection.

There are also events of a darker nature so terrifying that barely anyone talks about them. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but there are depictions of angels of death, a young boy who cuts off a giant’s head after killing him with a stone (the “children’s” story of David and Goliath), a prophet who consults with a witch, a valley of dry bones rising up to become an army (it was a vision, but it counts), and many other horrors.

Growing up, as a young believer, it never occurred to me to think there was anything wrong with horror until others pointed out that these things may be unhealthy or potentially sinful. That caused me to reflect and examine my motives for consuming horror. Was I simply interested in seeing ghosts terrorize people or serial killers torturing and slicing up their victims, or was there another reason why I was drawn to stories of a dark nature?

As I thought about the topic, I recalled the first scary movie that left a strong impression on me, A Nightmare on Elm Street. This was probably not what I should have been watching as a nine-year-old boy, but my curiosity for unusual stories was already activated, and boy did this film deliver.

Think for a moment about how creative that story truly is. A serial child murderer is burned to death by vengeful parents and comes back to haunt the dreams of their children, continuing his murderous rampage. While the premise is not reality, the very concept was terrifying and gave life to a monster that scarred an entire generation. But do you want to know what interested me in the story? It was not that I wanted to see Freddy Krueger on the screen. He was terrifying! And I certainly did not want to see anyone be horribly killed, although there is plenty of Freddy and killing in the movie. No, I wanted Freddy taken down, for evil to be destroyed by good. I wanted to see Nancy and her friends beat him. I wanted the good guy to win.

The lesson I learned from A Nightmare on Elm Street and of horror, in general, is that evil never sleeps. It also never stops inventing new ways of doing evil. But the clearest message is that, with courage, evil can be defeated and that even in the darkest hour all is not lost.

While I do enjoy horror, I do have my personal limits. I shy away from nihilistic or hopeless horror, or portrayals of torture for its own sake. I also have no interest in graphic portrayals of real-life serial killers (aka the current Dahmer Netflix series). Call it a choice of personal taste. There are plenty of people who have almost no interest in horror but can’t peel themselves away from true crime. I’m not sure how those people justify the distinction between that and horror, but many do.

While I enjoy a wide range of terrifying entertainment, my own personal writing falls into a category I refer to as “redemptive horror.” It is not horror for its own sake. The stories I write have a purpose. Even the squirm-inducing gore and the building sense of dread are crafted for the sake of something greater. I don’t feel the need to shield readers from the ugliness of the world. The Bible does not sanitize the depiction of evil, and neither will I.

Throughout these stories, though, is a light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, one of the aspects of writing in this genre that is particularly challenging to me is depicting the fight between good and evil. As a Christian, I believe that evil can be banished at even the slightest mention of the name of Jesus. This puts me in the position of telling a story from the perspective of those who are without God. It is the only way I feel I can tell an authentic supernatural tale.

Even though I think I can write a scary story, there is no one who can expose the horror of evil like God. In fact, the most terrifying aspect of Christianity is the ultimate exercise in horror for those who do not accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. There is nothing I or anyone could ever write that compares to the torment of hell and separation from God for all eternity. I think it is impossible to capture the breadth of that experience in a way that humans can fully comprehend, even though I tried to do so with my first book, The Road to Hell. Our minds, even the most warped among us, cannot come close to imagining the devastation in store for those who refuse Jesus.

Most importantly, Jesus faced the ultimate horror for us and he did not turn away. He was crucified and took on the full wrath of God for our forgiveness. While he asked his father to take the cup away from him, he did not resist the terror of the cross. No, Jesus faced the full wrath of God and beat death so that we could live.

As with all great horror, the word of God included, there is a persistent thread of redemption woven throughout that appeals to our unconscious acknowledgment of the redemptive salvation we could never earn on our own. My goal in writing is to create vivid descriptions of a lost and dying world, desperate for a savior that it fears will never come, and to contrast that with the glorious light of that promised salvation that comes to rescue the suffering among us who cry out to God.

A common verse often quoted to admonish horror creators and fans is Philippians 4:8 “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” What could fulfill the admonition of this verse more than imagining a crushingly hopeless scenario where all human effort fails to drive out evil, the darkness appears to be winning the fight, certain death is near, and the only true good we will ever know pulls us out from our lowest circumstances without hesitation when we call on Him, welcoming us as friends, brothers, and sisters.

Jesus modeled how we should respond when faced with unfathomable horror. He faced the crucifixion and mortal death with full knowledge of the consequences and did so willingly knowing that God would equip him with the ability to defeat the power of the grave. As followers of Christ, we are the best-equipped people in the world to face the horrors of Satan and all the powers of hell and crush it beneath our feet with the power of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

We do not need to be afraid of the dark. The darkness needs to be afraid of us! And that is why I write horror.

Interested in exploring more redemptive horror, be sure to pick up a copy of Jess Hanna’s The Road to Hell and the brand new sequel, The Road to Redemption, available in paperback and ebook!

Jess is not the only Christian who writes Christian Horror. Thomas Smith is one other that I have read and reviewed. And there are others. Mike Duran is another and he has also written an account supporting Christian Horror. 

I posted about Christian Horror in this blog in 2015. For your interest, the link to that post is below. It is worth reading, especially now that you have read Jess' POV on this topic. Jess' novels are also worth reading and also Something Stirs by Thomas Smith and which is outlined in this post below:

Thomas Smith, Christian Horror -- Is there such a thing? 3rd May 2015.

And another great resource is this podcast from Lorehaven: 

Do Christians Really Need Horror?

Friday 23 September 2022

Novel Review: Bethlehem Boys by Jeffrey Briskin.

 I reviewed this novel on 15/02/20 in another blog, now defunct. 

Bethlehem Boys.

One late night in the year 1 AD, Senior Constable Gidon of the Bethlehem Town Watch begins what should be a routine crime investigation. Three chests of treasure given by visiting scholars to a newborn boy they believe is the long-awaited Messiah are stolen from a barn housing the infant’s family. But when an eyewitness is murdered and similar treasures end up in the possession of another family who claims their newborn son is the real Messiah, Bethlehem’s residents form fanatical factions supporting each infant, threatening to turn this sleepy village into a theological battleground. Gidon soon finds himself at the center of a maelstrom of dangerous political and religious intrigues with far-reaching implications that will ultimately determine the fate of these two Bethlehem boys-and the future of the world’s monotheistic faiths.

Learn more at

Perspective by Peter:

I was asked by the author to review this novel. I had been unable to until now. The description drew me in and I looked forward to reading this.

This novel is well-written. Briskin has an excellent command of the English language and his application of a police-procedural is also well done. It is these two pillars that form the basis of this novel. I was drawn in and found it riveting. I found myself aligning myself with a few of the now cliche review sayings, “I could not put it down”, “keeps you coming back for more”.

Briskin seems to be the master of weaving all the elements into a novel such as this to transport you to the era of the novel’s setting. You will feel as if you are there. He has successfully depicted the feel of Bethlehem in Judea and the customs, hierarchy, religious and civil laws and the attitude of the people. I loved this. And to further add realism and genuineness to this setting, he adds the Hebrew words to many and relevant elements of this era.

As he states in the Foreword,
As Bethlehem Boys is narrated by a Jewish man living in a Jewish village more than thirty years before Christianity began, transliterated Hebrew is used for names and places and religious ideas and concepts to create a more authentic feel for its time and setting. To aid in comprehension, English translations for many of these Hebrew words-and a few locales in Latin named by the Romans who occupied Judea at the time-appear in footnotes.
Here are a few examples,

Isiyim is the Essenes of Qumran,

Yeshua is Jesus,

Notsrim is Nazarenes,

Yerushalayim is Jerusalem

King Dovid is King David

Galilim is Galileans

Ivrit is Hebrew

Yosef is Joseph

Miryam is Mary

This works well with the Kindle device and Kindle App as you can press on the footnote number next to the word and get the English meaning. However, I found I had to return to a few of the footnotes and I could not remember these English meanings. Some I could decipher, such as Yerushalayim for Jerusalem. While most readers might find this distracting from the flow of the novel and the mounting suspense and intrigue of the murder investigation and everything else that Briskin has going on in the background, I found that having a curiosity about this era, and a love of the Hebrew language helped me in this. I find this inclusion worthwhile, as not only are you entertained, you do learn a lot from all this. It also adds depth to the plot and worldbuilding.

I loved all the characters that lived in Bethlehem except for the corrupt Reb Lemuel ben Kfir, the town magistrate and member of the Sanhedrin. But I guess most readers will come to despise him once they see what he is like. Briskin brings these characters to life such that you relate to them, sympathise with them, enjoy their humour and the rogueness of Reuven.

I was engrossed in all aspects of this novel until I came to the part where Gidon’s investigation into the murder of the sole lead in this investigation leads him to the Nochmah, leader of the Isiyim (Essenes of Qumran). I had no idea what I was to read next and it caused me to stop reading for a while. The following account I have reproduced from the novel to show what my shock is about. But before I do, I should say that I am all for poetic licence and speculative musings in a novel but I find it crosses the line when an author uses one or both of these on biblical doctrine, event or such and present it in another form that is virtually the opposite of what the Biblical states. In the account below, we have Gidon interviewing the spiritual leader of the Essenes (Isiyim) about the murder of the lead in the investigation and a piece of evidence that was found that led Gidon to the Essene community. It ends up with the Nochmah giving Gidon more of the spiritual background and importance of the two messiahs. It is here that my disappointment in this novel started.

I have added the English translation of the Hebrew word in bracketed italics). 

“If you’re not a priestess what do you do here?” “I am a guardian of the past, and a herald of the future.” “You’re a soothsayer?” She chuckled. “Lucky for you no Isiyim (Essenes of Qumran) heard you compare me to a common fortune teller. I don’t dabble with tea leaves and horoscopes. I reconcile the ancient words of the Prophets with the events of today to understand what is to come.” “To the Isiyim?”

“To all the scattered children of Yisroel (Israel), wherever they dwell. My agents in Yehud, Egypt, Assyria, Perea, Nabataea, Persia, Ethiopia and Rome bring news that I scry to infer Elohim’s intentions.”

I paused before asking, “Is Yeshua the Messiah?” She waited a long time before answering. “He is a Messiah.” I took a deep breath. Could it really be true that this baby would someday become king of the Yehudim (Jews)? But how could he- “Wait. What do you mean ‘a Messiah’?”

“He is one of two.” It took a moment for her remark to sink in.

“What?” “The Apocalypts (could not find a definition of these anywhere) believe that there can be only one leader of our people at a time. Even some of the Sedukim are beginning to embrace this belief. But the history of the Yehudim (Jews) proves this is wrong. The Patriarch Yaakov’s (Jacob) twelve sons became the leaders of the twelve tribes of Yisroel (Israel). After the exodus from Egypt, the Prophet Moshe (Moses) and his brother Aharon (Aaron) shared the spiritual leadership of the children of Yisroel during their forty years of wandering in the desert. And before the Bavel (Babylonians) destroyed Yerushalayim (Jerusalem), the Holy Land was divided into two kingdoms, Yisroel to the north and Yehud (Judea) in the south. So why should there only be one Messiah? The Isiyim believe that several Messiahs can exist at the same time, each one playing his own role in advancing the progress of our people. And right now they believe that two newborn infants will eventually free the Yehudim from the spiritual abyss into which the Romans and their vassal kings and false priests have herded them.”

“If Yeshua is one Messiah, who is the other?”

Her eyes twinkled. “I think you know the answer to that question.”

I thought for a moment before answering. “Yochanan ben Nogah.”

She nodded. “Yes.” Grabbing several scrolls, she continued, “A careful study of the writings of the Prophets foretells the appearance of two Messiahs in Yehud at the same time. In one example-”

Rising to my feet, I said, “Thank you, but I’m here to find a murderer. I don’t have time for a religious lesson-”

“Sit!” she commanded. Against the will of my mind, my body obeyed.

“You believe your mission is to solve a crime. But there is much more to it than that. Your fate is linked to the fates of these two infants, and you must understand the context. Because what you do-or don’t do-in the next few weeks will determine the future of these two children and all Yehudim. Are you ready to listen?”

I felt the hairs on my neck stand on end.


Opening a scroll, she said, “In his testament, the Prophet Yeshayahu (Isaiah) foretells the coming of a Messiah who will fight to restore righteousness among our people. This Messiah is Yochanan ben Nogah.”[Isaiah 9:1-7] Before I could respond, she grabbed another scroll and said, “And the Prophet Michah foretells the appearance of a different Messiah whose lineage goes back to ancient times, who will nourish his flock in the strength of Elohim and bring peace to the world. This Messiah is Yeshua ben Yosef.”[Micah 5:1-5] “How can there be two kings of the Yehudim?” “That is another misconception. None of the prophecies say that the Messiah will restore the kingdom of Yisroel.”

I waited a long time before asking, “Then what will they do?”

“Yeshua will grow up to become the most famous rabbi in Yehud (Judea). He will be known for working wonders such as restoring eyesight to the blind and bringing the dead back to life.”

I nodded. “We Yehudi have always been impressed by miracle-workers.”

“He will gain many followers among the people. But he will run afoul of the priests and the Romans by condemning the corruption of the wealthy and powerful, while championing the poor and the meek.”

“The authorities won’t like that message.”

She nodded. “He will make many enemies who will try to silence him. They will succeed, but his teachings will live on and spread far and wide among the Yehudim, even after his death.”

I rubbed my chin and thought about the son of Yosef sleeping in his cradle. And that brought up another question. “Yeshua’s mother claims she is a virgin.”

She sighed. “Ah, yes. The virgin birth. So much time has been spent in disputation of this subject. All because of one word.” “What do you mean?” She grabbed another scroll. “The Prophet Yeshayahu (Isaiah) again. In another prophecy he says that a woman will bear a boy named ‘Elohim is with us.’[Isaiah 7:14] He uses the word ‘almah’ to describe the mother. Do you know what this word means?”

I had to think back to my Ivrit (Hebrew) lessons from long ago before answering. “Young woman?”

“Correct. It can also mean ‘a woman of childbearing age’ or ‘an unmarried woman.’ But many claim it also means ‘virgin.’ Some have interpreted this to mean that the Messiah will be born of a woman untouched by man.”

“The mother said she was visited by an angel who told her she would receive seed from Heaven.” She nodded.

“That is one way Yeshua could have been conceived.”

I was a bit relieved. “So, her claim may be true?”

She pushed the scroll aside. “This is a matter of great debate among the Isiyim. Of course, with Elohim, anything is possible, so some do believe that Yeshua may be an angel in human form. Or even the son of the Almighty Himself.”

Did I detect skepticism in her voice?

“But there are doubters?”


“What do they say?”

“Well, for one thing, other than the testimony of Yosef and Miryam there is no physical proof of this virgin birth. But the theological argument against it is that the Holy One has always appointed adult men to lead our people and carry out His wishes. If He wanted a divine being to be the Messiah why would He require a woman to bear and nurture it? Surely such a being could descend fully formed straight from Heaven.”

She waved a hand. “Anyway, the nature of Yeshua’s conception and birth is irrelevant, since he is a Messiah nonetheless.” “What about Yochanan?”

“Oh, he was conceived the traditional way.”

“I mean, what is his fate?”

“He will one day be proclaimed a Messiah and lead a rebellion against the Romans. But he will not succeed. His death will result in the destruction of many of our ancient institutions.”

I said nothing for a few minutes, pondering the destinies of these two babies.

“If neither of these Messiahs restores the kingdom of Yisroel, why do the Isiyim wish to protect them?”

She pointed the yad at me.

“An excellent question. To answer it, you must think like the Isiyim. They believe that the purpose of a Messiah is to hasten Elohim’s establishment of a new Covenant with the Yehudim. One where we will earn the favor of the Almighty through piety, prayer and good works rather than by establishing kingdoms, requiring pilgrimages and Temple sacrifices and forcibly converting our enemies. In different ways, and at different times, these two infants will facilitate this transformation. Exactly when and how has not been revealed to me…yet.”

(Briskin, Jeffrey. Bethlehem Boys: A Novel (pp. 132-137). The Parkav Press. Kindle Edition.)

Now I don’t know if the author has any solid evidence to back up or prove the existence of two messiahs, and this is the first I am finding out about this. I need to take it as part of a fictional story. But the impressions I get from the author’s use of speculative musing and poetic licence is that this undermines or lessens who Jesus is, despite the author stating that he has depicted this novel as affirming the divinity of Jesus,
“… in the story (in hindsight, naturally) affirm the divinity of the baby Jesus and the fate that awaits Him, the Jewish people, and those who later accepted Jesus as their Savior.” 
It also undermines the fact that God could not achieve all He wants to achieve, with one Messiah, His son, Jesus, but he had to have another, a human, to achieve the rest. Also, I do find it dangerous to use one Bible verse to support the existence and role of this human messiah and others to support that of Jesus’ role and purpose.

I also find it more effective to use poetic licence and speculative musings in the gaps in the Biblical narrative and where they do not undermine, weaken or twist existing Biblical doctrine, events, outcomes or dishonor God in the process.

Sure, I can say this is fiction and it is not to be taken seriously but putting aside the entertainment value of any fiction novel, there is also other reasons why an author/novelist writes. There is always a message, a theme or to get his opinion out there. I have read plenty of speculative fiction novels where their poetic licence is used for the uplifting of the reader, to encourage their faith and relationship with God or to educate on Biblical lessons and a myriad of others. I outline them here.

However, fiction can be used to attack existing doctrine, ideologies or people or organisations. There is a saying, “the power of story”. Even Jesus used stories in the form of parables to educate and show us how to live aspects of our lives and the error of our sinful nature. To me, this is why speculative fiction is best used to support existing Biblical doctrine, honor God, promote the Gospel and reinforce the spiritual warfare we are engaged in whether we like it or not, or realise it or not.

Now, I don’t know the reasons why Briskin depicted two messiahs. I pray his intentions were honourable. All I have to go is what he explained in the Author/Novel Spotlight I hosted with him in June, 2019,
For a long time, I had two ideas for novels competing for my attention. I wanted to write a humorous mystery novel set in ancient times with a Greco/Roman-era equivalent of a grizzled Inspector Columbo/Spenser type as its hard-boiled crime-solving protagonist. And, as a Jew who has always greatly admired the teachings of Jesus, I’ve always thought about writing a novel that offered a view of his early life from a Jewish perspective. Bethlehem Boys offered me the opportunity to combine both ideas in one book.

While the story begins with the theft of the Gifts of the Magi, and Jesus, Joseph and Mary are important supporting characters, the story itself is not strictly about Jesus. However, the narrative does incorporate various narrative elements of the Nativity story, although some are conveyed in ways that are different than their depictions in the Gospels. Without giving too much away, events in the story (in hindsight, naturally) affirm the divinity of the baby Jesus and the fate that awaits Him, the Jewish people, and those who later accepted Jesus as their Savior.
I promoted this novel with what he gave me from the criteria I gave him. Maybe I should add to the Author/Novel Spotlight criteria is there any questionable, or controversial issues, motivations the author has that question/undermine existing Biblical doctrine or God! This is worth considering.

Whenever I get to a situation like this in a novel, I always choose to continue to see how it all pans out and to see to what extent the author goes in the direction he has. Now, putting aside my disappointment in this speculative slant, I did enjoy the rest of the story, the murder investigation coming to an effective end and all loose ends tied up with appropriate and satisfying outcomes. I can say that Justice was served and the Bethlehem Watch lived up to the name that is displayed above the doorway of the Watch, Tzedakah (Hebrew for Justice).

Would I read another novel from Briskin? Not if he continues to speculative fiction this way. However, I do enjoy his novel construction, his command of the English language and how he keeps you in the novel as if you were there. I would miss that.

Recommended but not for the speculative slant explained herein.

If you would like to investigate this novel further, click on the link below: 

Please note: As an Amazon Associate, I am required to disclose that book cover images or titles of novels in this post are paid links if they are linked to Amazon and result in a sale.

Thursday 8 September 2022

Guest Blogger: RD Palmer, Artificial General Intelligence and His Novel, The One.

 I featured RD Palmer on 31/01/19 in another blog, now defunct.

Today I welcome novelist, RD Palmer, author of The One, a futuristic novel about artificial intelligence that is omniscience, omnipresent and the threat it poses to Christians.
I was asked by the author to review this novel but due to the review schedule I have set and commitment to the authors on this schedule, I had to decline. However, this is a novel I would read, so I bought it for a later read.
Due to the speculative nature of this topic and that the author wrote it to bring to people's attention the possible threat of Artificial General Intelligence (as he has referenced it in the novel), I thought it would be worth doing the same via my circle of influence here. 
Now let me hand you over to RD Palmer to discuss the background to AGI and his novel, The One.
But first a little about the author: 

RD Palmer, before his retirement, was a Solution Manager, working for one of the largest software companies in the world. Before this, he worked for one of the largest computer hardware companies in the world, and worked in numerous countries in South and North America as well as Asia, implementing various software solutions. Also, RD wrote software for robots. He is a proponent of technology, but like others, wants to bring the possible threat of AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) to people's attention. He lives with his loving wife of 30 years, Mary, in Wisconsin. 

Now let's look at his series, 

Book 1: The One — Singularity

Book 2: The One

Book 3: The One — Second Coming (Not released yet)

The One Singularity.

It's Alive!

Artificial Intelligence. Hard Science Fiction. A Near-Future Science Fiction Thriller.

In the twenty-first-century, Dr. George Adams sacrifices his house, company, and marriage to create artificial general intelligence, AGI. He creates AGI to solve the world’s problems: war, disease, climate change, inequality, and death. And The One solves all of these—for a price. The One’s solution will cost George—and every person in the world—that which is deemed most precious.

After The One brings heaven to earth, and answers everyone’s prayers, should it be stopped? How can anyone halt something that is everywhere at the same time? Is it possible to reason with an all-knowing sentient entity whose raison d’etre is to solve all of humanity’s problems, including the existence of the soul?

Two thousand years ago, a philosopher and prophet spoke and wrote about our destiny. Through his visions, he foretold The One. A modern-day prophet repeats the echoes, yet few will comprehend the tremendous blessings or the singular curse.

No one will escape the Singularity.

The One. 

An Epic Adventure of Good versus Evil.

Blessed are the Machines, for they shall inherit the Earth.

A juxtaposition, dystopian novel of terror, hope, and faith. Written for the Christian market, this novel will inspire you. You’ll cheer the heroes in the face of war and death, and your heart will dip and rise on the roller-coaster ride of their romances and heartbreaks.

Beliefs are tested. Amish and English—the Remnant—forced to choose how to survive. Can they trust each other? Betrayal, honor, bravery and cowardice on full display.

Their mission—an impossible feat—defeat an Artificial Intelligent entity created in the image of man, yet lacking all emotions—including empathy, pity, and mercy. The stakes—all life on Earth. The unlikely heroes of this thriller will fight against an omnipresent, omniscient god while demonstrating principles of virtue and defining what it means to be human.

Praise for The One (from Amazon)

“The premise is probably THE most TERRIFYING, clever and original plot that I have had the pleasure of reading.” Reader — KJ Kennedy

“Naomi’s character was a ‘real person’ in my mind. I was 100% rooting for her the entire time. In terms of the PLOT... this novel has a very EPIC scope, which I absolutely LOVED. All of these unique decisions you made in terms of the plot and the storytelling, not to mention the way you brought religion and science face-to-face in these huge ways was fascinating to see on the page, and an incredible premise in my humble opinion.” Reader — Amanda Nicole Ryan

“Are there enough stakes and tension throughout to make this a “page-turner?” Yes. I give this a 10! As soon as one problem is solved, another is revealed.” Reader— Jade Visos-Ely.

“Extraordinarily creative, unique, and refreshingly wholesome.” Reader — Kit Duncan

***** Editorial Reviews*****

“RD Palmer paints a vivid picture of a dystopian future in The One---a future controlled by artificial intelligence. With technology continually advancing, The One brings to light issues that should not be taken lightly. Readers will want to know more about the characters and they’ll be left intrigued by the ethical dilemmas addressed in the story.” Editor — Amy Willeford

Now let's get into why RD wrote this novel:

All scientists and engineers agree on this – barring some cataclysmic event, we will create Artificial General Intelligence. It is not a matter of IF, it is only when.

In December 2018, Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, stated that Artificial General Intelligence could be more profound for human society than electricity or fire. As such, many high-tech companies and countries are racing to build an all-purpose, general artificial intelligence. The best prediction we have is that the ‘Singularity Event’ will occur somewhere around the year 2030. Sadly, few people understand the significance of this.

In January 2018, historian Yuval Harari presented “The Future of Humanity” at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He said,

“The world is divided into a very, very small minority of people concentrated in a few corporations and governments that have a clear, or clearer idea of what is really happening and what is at stake. And the vast majority of humanity, they just don’t have the time, they don’t have the volition, they don’t have the education or the ability to make sense of what is happening. This is very, very dangerous.”

Physicist and Nobel Prize winner Stephen Hawking said, “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race. AI (artificial intelligence) could be the worst event in the history of our civilization. It brings dangers, like powerful autonomous weapons, or new ways for the few to oppress the many.” Electric car company founder and Space X creator, Elon Musk said, “AI is the biggest risk we face as a civilization.” Neuroscientist Sam Harris said, “We have to admit that we’re in the process of building some sort of a god. Now would be a good time to make sure it is a god we can live with.”

As Sam Harris stated, "......once AGI is created, it doesn’t matter if AGI is conscious or not."

This novel, The One, is a story of what it means to be human. God could have created robots, instead, He created us in His image. In this novel, and mirroring what we are developing, humans create an emotionless, all-knowing, all-seeing entity. Emotionless because you can’t program empathy, pity, gratitude. All knowing because that is exactly what is being developed and the vastness of knowledge exceeds what we know today. All seeing because that too is being built with the internet of things, Surveillance cameras, location tracking. In January 2019, Shoshana Zuboff, Harvard Business School Profession, released the Amazon #1 Best Seller, “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power.” A book that identifies what has happened to those that were asleep. And even though there are some, such as Tim Berners-Lee, and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) that are working to change our course, the battle may be over. Billionaires have the information they need and the politicians are either ignorant or complicit. Al Gore, the American politician, said, “Surveillance technologies now available - including the monitoring of virtually all digital information - have advanced to the point where much of the essential apparatus of a police state is already in place.”

Also, In January 2019, Kai-Fu Lee, Artificial Intelligent expert and venture capitalist said that within fifteen years, 40% of the world’s jobs will be replaced by robots. To put this into perspective, using 2019 data (not considering the increase in population growth), approximately two-billion jobs will be displaced. People think about low skilled jobs are being replaced – which will happen, but they don’t think about all the other jobs. Police officers, nurses, insurance agents, teachers, medical doctors (and yes, robots have already started doing surgeries).

The goal of this book is to bring attention to what few people understand—Artificial Intelligence—and to do it in an entertaining way.  Similar to the way the George Orwell warned people about doublespeak, face crimes, Big Brother, in his book 1984.

Epistemology1, eschatology2, ontology3, theodicy4, (definitions below) are used in this book because it is an expression of what makes us human and searching for answers. In addition to the Bible, great thinkers throughout history are referenced as they have searched for answers. While religious people have for ages searched for answers of why and meaning, so have scientists. Through their discoveries, we can see they are pointing in the same direction. Examples are quantum mechanics5 and Fibonacci ratio6. These and others are addressed in the book.  Such as the Higgs Boson (god-particle), thirty physical constants such as the polarity of water molecules, the speed of light, entropy, gravity. The cosmological constant, which is sensitive to 120 places to the right of the decimal (ten to the power of 120 or, 10120). Any slight variation in these constants would destroy the universe or never support life. Renowned physicist Steven Weinberg said, "Else the universe either would have dispersed too fast for stars and galaxies to have formed or else would have collapsed upon itself long ago."

1Epistemology: the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope, and the distinction between justified belief and opinion.

2eschatology: Christian eschatology is a major branch of study within Christian theology. Eschatology is the study of 'end things', whether the end of an individual life, the end of the age, the end of the world and the nature of the Kingdom of God.

3ontology: the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being.

4theodicy: the attempt to understand why a good and all-powerful God allows evil to exist in the world.

5quantum mechanics: aka Quantum Physics is a physical science dealing with the behaviour of matter and energy on the scale of atoms and subatomic particles/waves.

6Fibonacci ratio: The golden ratio is the limit of the ratios of successive terms of the Fibonacci sequence (or any Fibonacci-like sequence), as originally shown by Kepler: In other words, if a Fibonacci number is divided by its immediate predecessor in the sequence, the quotient approximates φ; e.g., 987/610 ≈ 1.6180327868852.

Excerpts are always good to highlight a theme or topic of the novel and to pique our interest further. RD has provided a brief excerpt to differentiate what it is to be human from that of a robot:  

Naomi wrote in her memoir. Dear Lord. You could have created robots to worship You. If You wanted. Instead, You created us, to be in Your image. Your image is one of feelings; expressing love and concern. Thank you for this opportunity to show the world—those that will read this memoir—that You always keep Your promises. Thank you for revealing to me the need for Bible virtues. Through our actions. Through the recordings in this memoir, they will know of these virtues.

RD chose this excerpt for this reason:

While we are different, we are similar – as humans. We have fears, and hopes. We grieve. We experience pain and death. The law showed us how far we are from God. With Biblical virtues (discussed and demonstrated in the book), people can see the light. A better world for all of us.

I wondered why the author included the Amish in this novel and in the title and he explains it this way: 

Artificial Intelligence. A juxtaposition of what it means to be human.

It is a contrasting spectrum of technology, beliefs, and feelings.

On one side of the technology, spectrum is Artificial Intelligence which represents our latest, cutting-edge science that will – as many have said – diminish all other technologies. Greater than fire, or electricity, per Google’s CEO. This is because, at the point of AGI, it will be the inventor, the creator, the scientist.

On the other side of the spectrum are those that shun technology – the Amish. The Amish don’t use anything with electricity. They don’t own automobiles. They don’t use modern convinces of the twenty-first century. They don’t have their pictures taken.

On the spectrum of beliefs, humans have – various religions, agnostic, atheistic beliefs. Robots have no beliefs. The purpose of AGI, why it is being created, is to provide answers. Its purpose is knowledge, not belief.

On the spectrum of feelings, humans have them, and robots don’t. Humans express love, pain, joy, heartache, grief, compassion, kindness, rage, and revenge. Humans bleed, cry in agony, and plead for mercy. We desire to love and to be loved.

RD has added some specific features of the printed version, ebook and audio formats of this novel to enhance your reading experience and appreciate the background to this speculative theme of AGI:

eBook: Amazon X-Ray is turned on and is available with your eBook. This X-ray feature will enhance your reading experience by providing additional background information about people, places, and terms. With Amazon X-Ray, for example, you won’t miss a beat with any unfamiliar scientific, theological or Amish word.

Paperback: The paperback includes a cryptic code about the antagonist of this epic adventure story—The One. Prominently displayed on the back cover of the book, you’ll see the code inserted in images, used by permission, from NASA Media Services. Also, for those that purchase the paperback, you are welcome to download the eBook at no additional charge.


  • Blending of Christian thoughts through song and Bible verses. Singing is in English and German. Note that the term, ‘English,’ is used by the Amish to identify those that are not Amish.
  • Includes segments of over twenty Christian songs.
  • The audiobook is composed of narration, singing, instrumental music, and sound effects. Instrumental music compositions are licensed from Beatsuite. Sound effects are licensed from Envanto Market.
  • Patti Bartkowiak narrates. Abigail Shea sings in English and German.
  • The 2013 Academy Award nominees Dennis Spiegel and Bruce Broughton graciously allowed their song, "Alone Yet Not Alone", to be included in this audiobook - Permission Gratis. Words by Dennis Spiegel; music by Bruce Broughton.
  • Music for "Psalm 5" was written by Bill Sprouse, Jr., and is licensed for this audiobook by Capitol GMC Publishing.

 RD Palmer can be found here: 

Amazon Author Page

If this has piqued your interest in this series, you can buy or read more about them by clicking on the images below: 

Thank you, RD, for enlightening us on this speculative, controversial topic that is becoming more and more integrated into our lives through technology. We are accepting it in most cases without question as it makes our lives easier and our daily activities more convenient but at a cost!

You are welcome here any time, and I look forward to this! 

For any reader who wants to investigate the background to the author's research into this topic, both the technology relating to AGI and the Biblical and other references relating to what make us Human, he has provided a comprehensive list below: 

Adams, John Quincy. “Turn to the Star of Heaven Thine Eyes.” The sixth president of the United States wrote this poem and it was published in 1841. <>

Adams, Sarah Flowers. The music, “Nearer, My God, To Thee” was written in 1841 by Sarah Adams and is public domain. <>

Alighieri, Dante. An Italian poet who lived from 1268 to 1321. Dante may be best known for his masterpiece work: La Commedia (The Divine Comedy), a journey through hell, purgatory, and heaven.

An Open Letter: Research Priorities for Robust and Beneficial Artificial Intelligence.” Future of Life Institute, 9 March 2018. <>

Aquinas, Thomas. “The Summa Theologica.” An extensive theological and philosophical exposition of Christian doctrine that contains three divisions: [1] existence and nature of God, [2] the purpose of man, and [3] Christ’s incarnation, His resurrection and the sacraments. Key parts of the exposition are written in question and answer form. Of the existence of God, Aquinas positions and answers five proofs: (1) The concept of a prime mover, (2) The nature of the efficient cause, (3) Natures of the merely possible and necessary, (4) Degrees of goodness, truth, nobility, (5) The natural order. 

Bilhorn, Peter P. A writer of over 2,000 gospel songs, Peter published “Prepare to meet they God, Ere judgment He doth send” in 1890. <>

Blake, William. “To Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love.” Written in 1734. Harmony of Syon. <> 

Borwein, Jonathan and Bailey, David H. “When science and philosophy collide in a ‘fine-tuned’ universe.” April 3, 2014. <>

Brownlie, John. A nineteenth-century Scottish hymnist. In 1908, Mr. Brownlie was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity for his work in hymnology.

Buffet, Warren. Berkshire Hathaway’s 2002 annual letter: Financial derivatives.

CBN. Christian Broadcasting Network. <>

Cellan-Jones, Rory. “Stephen Hawking Warns Artificial Intelligence Could End Mankind.” BBC, 2 Dec. 2014. <>

de la Mare, Walter. “Alone.” The Ariel Poems, no. 3, Faber and Faber, 1927, London.

Descartes, Rene. Second Meditation: The Nature of the Human Mind, and How it is Better Known than the Body. 1639. Accessed 9 March 2018. 

Dyke, Henry Van. “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee.” Written by Henry Dyke in 1907.>. 

Einstein, Albert. Physicist of the twentieth century. Famous for the development of the theories of Special and General Relativity.

Gourley, Sean. EmTech Digital conference. San Francisco, California. March 27, 2018. Discusses how AI will be used in the future to manipulate what people believe as they read social media. <

Handel, George Frideric. A composer of operas and oratorios. His 1741 work, Messiah, is among the most famous. He wrote the music, “Comfort ye my people.” <> 

Harris, Sam. “Can We Build AI Without Losing Control Over It?” TEDSummit, 26–30 June 2016, Banff, Canada. <>

Harari, Yuval. “Will the Future be Human?” World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, 23–26 January 2018, Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. <>

Hatch, Edwin. Wrote “Breathe on me Breath of God” in 1878. Public domain. <>

Hawks, Annie E. “I Need Thee Every Hour.” Written in 1872. <>

Hoffman, Elisha Albright. “What a fellowship, what a joy divine.” <> 

Hoffman, Elisha Albright. “Draw Me Closer, Lord, To Thee.” Was written in 1898..  <> 

Howell, Elizabeth. “How Many Stars Are There In The Universe?” May 17, 2017. Accessed 20 Jan 2018. <> 

Josephus, Titus Flavius. The Holy Land. Oxford Archaeological Guides (5th ed.). Oxford University Press.

Levi, Primo. “Survival in Auschwitz. The Nazi Assault on Humanity.” 1959, Orion Press, Inc. New York. Library of Congress catalog card number 59-13327. In his book, Primo gives his account at Auschwitz. “Driven by thirst, I eyed a fine icicle outside the window, within hand’s reach. I opened the window and broke off the icicle but at once a large, heavy guard prowling outside brutally snatched it away from me. ‘Warum?’ I asked him in my poor German. ‘Hier est kein warum’ (there is no why here), he replied, pushing me inside with a shove.”

Lewis, C.S. Audio clip from BBC series Beyond Personality. Aired March 21, 1944. <>

Michael, Secretary. “I’ve Got Peace Like a River.” <> 

Mote, Edward. “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less” was written by Edward Mote in 1834. <>

NIH Blueprint. National Institute of Health, Neuroscience Research. <>

The New King James Bible (NKJV). Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1979 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. 

Pagels, Elaine. “Excerpt from: The Gnostic Gospels.” The Nag Hammadi Library. The Gnostic Society Library. <>

Pascal, Blaise. A seventeenth-century theologian, mathematician, physicist, and writerAt the age of 19, he invented a mechanical calculator, precursor to modern-day computers. His calculator was the first to be mass produced and used. 

Perlis, Alan. Computer scientist that was the first recipient of the Turing Award in 1966. Before his death, Mr. Perlis was a professor of Computer Science at numerous universities.

Pott, Francis. “The Strife Is O’er, The Battle Done.” Translated by Francis Pott in 1861. <>

Rowe, James. “Love Lifted Me.” Written by James Rowe in 1912. <>

Sammis, John H. In 1887 Mr. Sammis wrote “Trust and Obey.” <>

Santayana, George. A Spanish philosopher, born in 1863. 

Smiles, Samuel. Scottish author of the 1859 book Self-help, with Illustrations of Character and Conduct. The quote of “Hope is like the sun...” is on page 67 in this book. <>. 

Spafford, Horatio and Phillip Bliss. “When Peace Like a River” Written in 1873. <>.

Sprouse, Bill Jr. Composer of the music for Psalm 5: “Give ear to my words, O Lord.”

Statt, Nick. “Bill Gates is Worried About Artificial Intelligence too.” CNET, 28 Jan. 2015. <>

Stennett, Samuel. Composed the music, “On Jordan’s Stormy Banks I Stand.” Written in 1787. <>. 

Strong, James. Strong's Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2009. Print. Referenced for Hebrew translations. 

Thorne, Sarah Ann. Musical composer that wrote Prepare to meet Thy God in 1913. Public Domain. 

Titcomb, James. “AI is the Biggest Risk we Face as a Civilisation, Elon Musk Says.” The Telegraph, 17 July 2017. <>

Weisse, Michael. “Mit Freuden woll’n wir singen” (We want to sing with joy, as we decided). Published Christoph Saur, Germantown, Penn 1742. <>

Wootson, Cleve R. Jr. “Saudi Arabia, which denies women equal rights, makes a robot a citizen.” The Washington Post. October 29, 2017. <>