The year is 2522. Anna is a Remnant—a secret Christian in a world that has banned any form of religion.
She is also an astro-geologist working with her Robot, named Z, for the Planetary Science Commission.
The PSC has worked for 200 years to find alien life on another planet, and finally, after two centuries, a primitive lifeform has been discovered. Faced with the reality of evolved primitives on a forested moon, Anna begins to question all she has ever believed.
Anna and Z travel to the newly-discovered moon in search of answers, but a terrible accident leaves them stranded. Faced with dangerous natives and unfamiliar surroundings, Anna and Z stumble upon a conspiracy that has universal implications.
Will Anna discover the truth about the moon and its inhabitants?
Can God still move within a culture that has abandoned Him?
For eons, Christians have looked to the heavens to admire the glory of God. But what if those celestial lights harbored alien intelligences, or worse yet, alien stupidities? Would these refute Christian belief instead of reinforcing it?
This is the dilemma confronted by Daniel Peyton’s novel Remnant. In a future in which one-world government has outlawed religion, readers meet a dissident astrogeologist simply named Anna. (Surnames, those vestiges of the biological family, are passé in this age.) She will have her faith shattered by the discovery of a pristine exoplanet that shelters what appear to be primitive ape-men, the long-sought proof-of-concept for human evolution.
But when Anna and her wisecracking robot sidekick start nosing around to verify her fears, she discovers layers of intrigue that threaten to leave her faith even more broken than before.
This is a bold thematic gambit, yet its execution leaves open some questions. Would not Christians, with their diversity of beliefs about human origins and Genesis, have different responses to the discovery of ape-men beyond Earth? Here, however, Christians on Earth may feel equally threatened by this discovery because they belong to the same sect of Messianic Jews in the city-state of Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, the atheistic regime’s imposition of universal sterilization and centrally planned breeding doesn’t seem to affect human citizens in outer space.
In either case, the story may simplify potential thematic complexities, down to the narrative style that offers easy-reading vocabulary describing adult situations.
Nonetheless, Remnant raises important questions. Its action propels readers into scenarios where the gospel is explicitly presented, with an American evangelical flavor, yet without seeming overly preachy.
Best for: Young adult readers in search of thought-provoking sci-fi romance.
Discern: Some sci-fi violence, scenes of sensuality, references to sex and sexual assault, non-graphic nudity, and interspecies romance.