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Book Review – In the Shadow of the Cross

Lou Antonelli has gathered together a number of his short stories and published them as In the Shadow of the Cross.

Over a 15 year career devoted primarily to short science fiction, Lou Antonelli was unusual in that he accurately depicted the role of religion in people’s lives. In a nation and era when religion in general – and Christianity in particular – is being oppressed by the opinion leaders of America, Antonelli – who is a life-long journalist – depicted religion as it should be if political correctness in the science fiction field didn’t suppress it.

This collection gathers up stories Antonelli wrote over the years where Christianity plays a role. They range from down home and next door to far flung and in outer space. They remind us that despite the best efforts of a Godless material world, Christianity is a sturdy creed that remains a vital part of many people’s lives.

This collection touches on religion, especially Christianity, in a variety of touching and creative ways.  My favorite was “On a Spiritual Plain”, where a chaplain must learn to deal with the intersection of alien religion, death, and his own faith.  There is also a series of stories dealing with a world in which no one religion has gained dominance, which explores how a religion based on peace and forgiveness fares when mixed in with equally fervent believers in religions that are not quite as peaceful or forgiving.

I burned through this book in a couple of hours, but the stories kept me thinking for days afterward.  It’s a good summer read, and if you’ve enjoyed Antonelli’s other works or are looking for thoughtful, well told stories, I think you’ll like In the Shadow of the Cross.

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