Christian novelist, Sam Batterman’s, first novel, Wayback, is an enthralling speculative adventure about a time machine that brings several scientist back in time to the year 2300 BC. This expedition sounds far fetched on the onset, but Batterman does a great job of laying a firm foundation that makes the time machine and expedition seem logical.
Why the year 2300 BC? you might ask. This date is before the Great Flood. The scientists tried to go back further, so they could see their furry ancestors hanging from the vines; but the trips failed because there was nothing for them to go back to. Maybe the earth is not as old as we think. Maybe we didn’t evolve from a lonely single cell. Maybe life is not just an accident.
I applaud Batterman for tackling one of the biggest lies in our culture today and replacing it with God’s truth, a dash of wit and a heap of adventure.
~ Neil looked up and examined the silver, luminous orb. Indeed, the moon lacked the familiar distinct craters and graying — it was like a giant, flawless mirror reflecting the sunlight back to earth.
~ Earth was created by God as a special, beautiful place where His creation could choose to serve Him and fellowship with Him in a freewill manner, not as robots or slaves but as friends by choice and loyalty, and as family by position.
~ We don’t want to stand out like Captain Kirk and Doctor McCoy beaming into the Wild West.”
I like this quote because it paints a picture in the readers’ minds of the Ark. This helps the readers to have a go-to point in their brain (lexicon) that will help them to feel secure in believing in Noah’s Ark and the other historical stories in the Bible.
Well, God works in mysterious ways. In my job I do a lot of traveling. Back when I started Wayback, I was driving to Pittsburgh a lot (a 5 hour trip from Philadelphia). Ever since high-school, I had always wanted to write a book, but career and family and everything else pushed it out of the way.
On one particular day when I was doing that 5 hour drive, I decided to turn off the radio and the CDs and just think through a very strange, but fascinating idea that I had: “What would it be like to go back to the Pre-Flood era?”
As I drove, more and more ideas and characters came to my mind, by the time I was four hours into the trip I had to pull off at a service plaza and start writing down the ideas or I was afraid I would lose them. The vision of the book was brilliant and I tried to execute what I saw in my mind on paper to the best of my ability. It took two years from first sentence to publication.
2) How much life experience and research went into your writing?
A lot of the technology in the book is real and I work in the high-tech field, so much of that was easy for me. The research was very taxing and virtually every chapter required hours and hours of research. What was the landscape like? How many people would be alive? Where was the Garden of Eden? What was man capable of building and organizing? How did the Flood happen? There’s a lot of great work done on all these ideas and I wanted to coalesce it into an adventure story. There’s a real trick to taking science and research and making it digestible in a novel.
3) What is your hope for Wayback and its influence on our culture?
First, I hope the story is enjoyable and interesting. No one likes a book that’s boring. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, but if they finish the book and the story makes them think, then I have accomplished something of substance.
Second, my hope for anyone that does finish the book is that they realize that we don’t know it all, but God does. Our children are taught that we came from billions of years of evolution and that we are an accident that eventually became optimized by the process of natural selection and mutation. So, we are basically mistakes, with no overall design. We live, we die, that’s it. There are no repercussions of our actions here and there is no truth, except for how we perceive it. Science can save us—it must, because there is no other way.
On the flip side, we teach our children in Sunday School that the ark was a crowded vessel with giraffes and elephants all crammed into a barely sea-worthy boat and a rainstorm came up. Is it any wonder that our children grow up and think of this as a myth? We can do better. We must do better.
4) How has God changed you through the path of publication?
Personally, I have a new appreciation for the book of Genesis and its importance to our faith. It tells us everything that science cannot: Who made us. Why we are here. What our purpose is. Where we are going. Why the world is the way it is (in every way).
Also, I have learned that we have a responsibility to use the media of this world to explore these ideas and share our faith. We have done this with printing presses, television and movie and music. We are doing this with books and still we see more media to leverage. We have the best opportunity of any generation to share our faith clearly and honestly with the world.
*If you comment on this post, you will be entered into a drawing to win a free copy of Wayback. We will choose the winner next Friday, January 22.