The Book of Thomas: Volume One, Heaven
By Robert Boyczuk
One of the more popular sub-genres of SF imagines the future taking a big step back into the past, envisioning a neo-medieval society characterized by the union of technology with elements of monasticism and scholastic theology. Probably the most famous example is Walter M. Miller Jr.’s 1960 classic A Canticle for Leibowitz, but the concept is still going strong, as witness Neal Stephenson’s recent tale of monks in deep space, Anathem.
The Book of Thomas: Volume One, Heaven heads in this same direction, as Toronto SF author Robert Boyczuk updates the Catholic cosmology of Dante by sending his hero on a mission from God, journeying up and down the concentric spheres of the universe by way of elevator-like “Assumptions” run by suspicious Jesuits. The fact that we start off ascending to Heaven, however, is some indication that the traditional order of things may not be what it seems. The Church, we soon learn, has failed to clean up its act, and the system of spheres is breaking down due to holes in the divine ozone layer. Full of both new and familiar elements, Boyczuk’s book is a spirited mixing and mapping of science, fantasy and religion that leaves you wondering which way is up.