Review: Spirits Bright, Ripped and Other Adventures

Looking for Christmas-themed science fiction? Angie Lofthouse has you covered!

Angie is an awesome author, mom, and guitar-player who likes ancient American history and fighter jets. I know her well as we’ve shared table space selling our books together at many conventions in the past year. She is best known for writing the Defenders of the Covenant LDS science fiction series. Today, I’m excited to plug two of Angie’s short story collections: Spirits Bright, and Ripped and Other Adventures.

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Spirits Bright contains four original shorts. “Spirits Bright” is about a woman who is invited to an LDS ward Christmas party after her virtual reality holiday plans are disrupted. “Milly’s Gift” is set in Angie’s “Renegade” universe, in which a young woman recovering from her life as an alien captive is determined to give her best friend the perfect Christmas gift. “Living Water” follows the adventures of an anthropologist from Earth who is observing the sacred off-world celebrations related to the birth of the Christ child. “Chosen Vessel” is a retelling of 3rd Nephi events leading up to signs of the Savior’s birth, from the point of view of a young family living in the ancient Americas, and a star ship captain who finds his vessel inexplicably orbiting the planet where the Savior of all the Creator’s children is about to be born.

These stories all take a unique and delightful speculative twist on LDS concepts. They also share themes of getting back in touch with our humanity, healing, and drawing closer to our families and those we love. My favorite story in this collection is “Milly’s Gift.” The characters cling to hope of a bright future while working to rebuilt their devastated world. I fell in love with the characters (and the fact there was a functional LDS Family Search Center that played prominently into the story–so cool!), and became intrigued about other stories Angie has set in this particular sphere. This is a delightful LDS sci-fi collection, perfect for the holiday season.

Get the Spirits Bright collection here on Amazon!

 

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Ripped and Other Adventures includes ten science fiction and fantasy short stories: “Ripped,” “Blessing Stone,” “Casualties of War,” “Brierly’s Lilies,” “Highway Songs,” “Fidelity,” “Sacred Places,” “Soul Singer,” “Among the Silent Stars,” and “Sophie and the Night Eagle.” The stories are a mix of science fiction and fantasy, some with an LDS bent and others without. I enjoyed so many of these it was difficult to choose just one favorite.

“Ripped” had a poignant way of playing with relationships in a sphere where time as well as space have become a bit distorted. “Casualties of War” was a heart-wrenching character-oriented story that I absolutely loved (If I had to choose, this would be my favorite). “Brierly’s Lilies,” is a wonderfully suspenseful and creative adventure that sticks out in my mind the most. “Sacred Places” had interesting secondary characters and a strained husband-wife relationship that made the story poignant. Manon was a wonderfully sympathetic character to root for in “Among the Silent Stars.” “Fidelity,” “Soul Singer,” and “Sophie” were action-packed. There’s so much to like here!

Angie has a beautiful way of turning emotions with her descriptions. Her characters are dynamic and wonderfully sympathetic, which makes it easy to get sucked into the adventures and trouble these characters encounter. The cultures and environments of the characters are creative, and this collection was an absolute delight to read.

Ripped and Other Adventures is currently only available in paperback. Check it out here!

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Sarah E. Seeley is a fantasy and horror author, and an affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association.
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