What I’m Reading: Vanish

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I just finished Vanish by Tom Pawlik. Pawlik won the Operation First Novel 2006 contest sponsored by the Christian Writers Guild, and the novel is the result. I thought I’d review it, since other reviews are very hard to find. It’s a short book, so it will be a short review.

Three completely different people, a lawyer, a mechanic, and a former model, wake up one morning to find that everyone else in the world has vanished (hence the title of the book.) They wander terrified in the foggy world until they find each other and try to find answers to where everyone else went. Most of the book involves running from faceless alien beings that seem impervious to weapons. At one point, the aliens attack their stalled car, pressing their featureless faces against the glass until it cracks. I definitely shouldn’t have read the book alone at night.

I give him points for a complicated and interesting plot, a knack for creepiness, and solid pacing. He loses points for a premise I just couldn’t accept, characters that could have been more developed, and some awkward and flat dialog. I can’t really explain my problem with the premise without revealing the ending, but suffice to say, most of my friends will probably have the same problem.

If you like sci-fi, Vanish is solid Christian sci-fi. It’s pretty short, an easy read, and genuinely creepy. I hope Pawlik keeps writing.

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5 thoughts on “What I’m Reading: Vanish

  1. I also forgot about Sigmund Brouwer. I read the Winds of Light series in middleschool, and he’s a great writer. It’s a medieval series, but he does sci-fi and fantasy as well. Very good writer. I want to get his new book, Broken Angel.

  2. Karen Hancock’s Arena is sci-fi. Bill Myers has some sci-fi and the rest is just supernatural or speculative fiction.
    I’ve been browsing Amazon Listmania for Christian scifi, and there’s a lot out there. I just don’t recognize the authors. Anything to do with aliens is always about the Nephilim in Christian fiction, and I tend to avoid books about that, so that knocks out a lot of the books I’ve found. Let me know if you see anything.
    And Blink is by far Dekker’s best book. He grew up in Indonesia as an MK, so his perspective makes for interesting reading.

  3. Micah

    I have read much of Peretti’s work (he’s one of my absolute favorite authors, better at suspense than Crichton imo), but I’d consider him more of a suspense author than sci-fi. I’ve had a hard time finding the more straight-up sci-fi/fantasy, in the vein of Star Wars, LOTR, or Asimov. Kathy Tyers is the closest I’ve seen, but I don’t like her writing that much.

    I’ll have to look at those other authors, though. I really want to read Blink…

  4. I like Bill Myers, Ted Dekker, and Frank Peretti. I’ll be reviewing Adam, Dekker’s latest offering, in my next installment.

    One book that I found especially interesting is Arena by Karen Hancock. I found it the OBU library one afternoon. I haven’t read her other books, but she’s written a fantasy series, “Legends of the Guardian-King.”

    I’m always looking for more scifi to read, so I’m sure you’ll see more reviews soon, especially since there’s a Half-Price Books within easy driving distance.

  5. Micah

    Have you found any other good Christian sci-fi or fantasy novels? It seems like there’s a dearth of them… at least to me.

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