Amish Vampires In Space

Monday, April 7, 2014
My point is this: Though I have always lived by these regulations, I would be willing to throw it all away to save the people on this ship.”
“Very admirable,” Samuel said. “You would doubtless find that much of what you do is a chasing after the wind. Meaningless to what is truly important.”
Seal would give him that one, “Undoubtedly, that’s true. However, I ask asking a similar sacrifice of you. That for this present crisis, you would close your rulebook, as well.:
Mark leaned forward, placing both elbows on his knees. “You are asking us to forsake our Ordnung, correct? To commit violence. Even against our own.”
“They’re not your own anymore, I don’t think.”

Book: Amish Vampires in Space by Kerry Neitz, Marcher Lord Press, 2013

Genre: Sci-Fi, Amish, Fantasy
Target Audience: Boys and Girls 16+
Subjects: Vampires, Amish lifestyle, Salvation, Sacrifice
Summary: He’s been entrusted with a terrible secret. For generations this knowledge has been passed down with instructions of how to use this knowledge if it ever became necessary. As much as he would wish otherwise, the necessary time has come during the lifetime of Jebediah Miller. What was not entrusted to him though, was what would happen if he did use this knowledge. No one said anything about Englishers coming down from the sky and hauling the Amish to a new planet because their sun was changing and was about to destroy their current planet. No one said that to be a hero and save his people he would need to violate the Ordnung and be placed under the ban. And no one could have known that the ship sent to rescue them had something profoundly evil on it, something powerful enough to destroy every living thing on the ship.
Notes: The back story is that this book started as a joke. Author friends observing that vampire books and Amish books were selling like crazy said they, as science fiction authors, should write a book about both subjects and set it in space. However, one author actually took it as a serious challenge and wrote a book dealing with some very weighty subject matters. The book definitely does not read like a joke. It takes all the aspects of it very seriously.
The vampire part comes from scientific genetic research, trying to give humans some of the characteristics of vampire bats in order to more quickly colonize new worlds. The research goes wrong and the humans become more bat than human and after an explosion, one intern scientist is put into cryomatrix and is being sent to another planet for medical care and briefing to find out what happened with the explosion. The scientist manages to awake and infect another who infects another and on it goes until most of the ship has turned into vampire bat type creatures. This aspect of the book is not pretty. There are very vivid descriptions of the vampires’ actions.
The Amish part comes as Jebediah and the bishop both wrestle with their faith, trying to figure out what is/should be forbidden and how to make the best decisions with the knowledge they have.
The sci-fi part comes as they travel through space and use futuristic technology.
This book is also supposed to be Christian fiction though. That comes in one single character who is a Christian in the book. We find that out about halfway through the book when she’s invited to start co-habitating with a man and expresses her views a little bit. She also has a conversation with one of the Amish about works based salvation.
The trouble is that the book doesn’t conclude much of anything. The vampire part is resolved and the government system in the book is dealing with the group that was doing the genetic research. The Amish part is left very unsettled. Both Jebediah and the bishop fail to come to any positive conclusions. They still feel they destroyed their people and continue to try to measure up to God through good works. The Christian character seems to have accepted a relationship with the guy who pursued her, but there’s no indication that he even understood, let alone embraced Christianity. It’s more just a matter of a number of worldviews being presented. The vampire/scientists worldview is that survival of the fittest is the most important thing in life and any genetic alterations should be accepted if it increases man’s chance to survive physically – even if it means he becomes more animal than human. The Amish worldview is presented as trying to be good enough to please God and being good enough means blind obedience to authority, even if that authority is clearly leading you to your death. It also portrays a hypocrisy. They refuse to do anything to help save themselves or their people because that would require violence, but they have no problem with someone else doing it for them. They don't refuse to have their lives saved. The captain of the ship represents the government system’s worldview which seems to be similar to the Amish – have a huge rulebook and follow it explicitly. The difference is that he is doing it to gain rewards in this life, rather than after death. And the Christian worldview is presented as rare and a bit strange. Their view is that we can’t be good enough for God and that’s why He sent His Son to take our punishment. This of course is the Biblically correct worldview, but it’s not presented as such. It’s just yet another viewpoint that’s tossed out there for consideration. At the end of the book you don’t really know who is right other than Jebediah, the disobedient Amish man who fully believes in the Amish worldview, just sets it aside long enough to save his people.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 2/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

James 2:10 – For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

Ephesians 2:8-9 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast.


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