The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber (Hogarth, 2014)
The first thing you notice about this book is that the edges are gilt, like a Bible or other sacred book. This is not a coincidence. ‘The book of strange things’ is what the aliens in the story call our Bible. In this science fiction tale, an English pastor is recruited by a corporation to travel to a distant planet as a missionary to the sentient humanoid species there. It turns out that after some unspecified negative experiences, the natives have only agreed to cooperate with the small settlement of human colonists (primarily engineers) if they send them a missionary from Earth. Unlike the situation most missionaries encounter, the natives are already familiar with Christianity from a previous missionary’s work. They crave more knowledge of the religion, so the new church grows rapidly and easily. The pastor’s positive experiences are in marked contrast to those of his wife who had to stay behind on Earth. Things back home are rapidly falling apart due to climate change (earthquakes, flooding etc) and his wife lacks a good support network to help her cope. This is a page turner that Christian science fiction fans will enjoy.