Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Going Back Cold by Kelley Rose Waller

Going Back Cold by Kelley Rose Waller is set 110 miles from Antarctica's largest base, McMurdo Station. The start year is 2022. This story spans 4 years, 4 summer seasons at Semotus Base, Antarctica. Semotus Base houses Lucas and Jane Whyse, their son, other scientists and several labs during each 4 month summer stay in the region as they implement their Split Horizon Project of which Jane, a physicist, is the leader. For almost a decade, Lucas and Jane have been working with NASA on their idea of piezoelectric jet propulsion. Piezoelectricity is defined as electric polarization in a substance, especially certain crystals, resulting from the application of mechanical stress. In other words, an electrical field is created when certain crystals are squeezed. Lucas has modified his quartz crystals so that they will produce enough of a surge for faster-than-light travel (FTL) when paired with Jane's capsule design. They are in Antarctica to study the cold temperatures which will hopefully bring them a step closer to simulating the deep freeze of space.

Going Back Cold by Kelley Rose Waller
Going Back Cold Image Used by Permission from Kelley Rose Waller
*Going Back Cold by Kelley Rose Waller was provided by Kelley Rose Waller in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to give a positive review of the book.

At the beginning of the first summer, Lucas, Jane, and the rest of the crew at Semotus Base have had a few days to acclimate to the Antarctic climate. They are ready to start working. Everything seems to be going as planned until Jane is delivered surprising news . . . very surprising news.

Going Back Cold by Kelley Rose Waller


Having read Kelley Rose Waller's previous novel, The Senator's Youngest Daughter, I expected an exciting level of suspense. As I settled into the story, all of the characters seemed sincere and trustworthy. I kept wondering when I might become suspicious of a character's motives. Then, it happened. I had a character to distrust . . . maybe.

Going Back Cold takes place only a few years in the future. It took me a little bit of time to understand the science in this novel (and there is a lot of it) but once I got the hang of it, I enjoyed the science and the lingering suspense that somewhere, somehow, something is soon going to go very wrong. I hadn't expected a twist in the story that made my heart cry as I remembered my own personal pain from a very similar situation. For a while, Jane's heart and mine were beating to the same rhythm of sadness and grief.

The grief that Lucas and Jane endure brings to surface a truth of which we as believers are sometimes not aware or we choose to ignore. Sometimes our faith is tied to our circumstances. It's easy to trust in God and praise Him when everything is going well. It's easy to have faith in God when your faith has never been truly tested.

Sometimes, when a person's faith is truly tested, not as in a failed test grade after praying to ace it kind of test, but the kind of test that leaves a person so engulfed in agony that he or she can't breath - that kind of test - sometimes after that kind of test, a person might no longer believe in a God who could allow such hurt. Lucas and Jane are scientist. They aren't the kind of scientists who deny the existence of God, but the kind of scientists who KNOW there is a God BECAUSE of what they have learned about the universe through scientific study. Even after tragedy, they believe because "His fingerprints are everywhere they look."
“You just said you still believed,” Lucas pointed out.

“Yes, I do… but it’s not like I could possibly face the universe now thinking no one was in charge and that nothing happened for a reason,” she said sadly. “I understand too much real science to possibly shake the idea that there’s a Creator. His fingerprints are everywhere I look. (Going Back Cold by Kelley Rose Waller)
Another passage revealing the truth that science proves a Creator:
“More than that,” Lucas said. “Science. Science doesn’t surprise me because I know the Creator.”

“That’s a big perspective.”

“I guess,” Lucas replied. “But it’s the only one that makes sense for me. The deeper you get into this stuff, the more obvious God becomes.” (Going Back Cold by Kelley Rose Waller)
Several chapters into the story, I realized that this story is not about a government secret, a spy, a traitor, or government sabotage.  This story is a story about great loss and how we respond.

Although this is a story about loss, it does include a certain degree of suspense. The reader, especially readers who love sci fi stories, will absolutely love the science in Going Back Cold. At first, I thought the science was the main focus, but after a while, I realized that the science of traveling faster than the speed of light and the possibility of time travel were the background stories. The main focus of the story is about dealing with tragic loss. The main focus of the story deals with the popular question about how a loving God could allow such a terrible thing to happen, especially to people who are faithful to Him.

Lucas and Jane must come to terms with accepting God's plan for their life together even if it isn't the plan they had in mind. There was an element of time travel in Going Back Cold that I had never thought about when lining it up with God's plan for the universe. Well, I've never actually tried to line up the idea of time travel with God's plan for the universe but this story made me do that. Even if time travel was actually possible, how could it be right?

In the story, Lucas asks Jane, "Is it OK for us to determine that we are going to redo something that God has already ordained?"

This gives us something to think about in today's reality. The next time I wish I could go back and change something, I'll remember that time belongs to God. He ordains our steps.
The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. - Proverbs 16:9
I have endured 22 years of grief over the same kind of tragedy as Jane and Lucas. At the time, if I could have gone back in time to change the outcome, maybe I would have; but if I had, would I have been living in God's established order? No.

At one point in the story, Jane asked the question, "How can there ever be real hope for tomorrow when today is spoiled by yesterday's heartbreak?"

I think that's a good question and many people whose hearts are suffering might be asking that same thing. We must place our hope in the One who owns all of time and everything in it.

Even when tragedy changes our plan and causes great suffering which might never completely go away, we must trust His plan because even though God does not cause tragedies to happen, He allows them. When He allows hurt, we must endure it knowing that we are living in God's established order.

Lucas and Jane find comfort in a special Bible verse:
The Lord's loving-kindnesses indeed never cease for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness. - Lamentations 3:22-23
They learn that it is OK to move forward without moving on.

Candace, another character in the story has a secret of her own. She bears her own heavy burden alone, but must find a path to peace and forgiveness.

With all the sci fi and heavy hurt in this story, I should mention that there is plenty of humor in Going Back Cold as well - suspense, humor, tragedy - all set in front of a background of science fiction excitement.

By the way, I had to look it up but I leaned that piezolectricity is a real thing.

To sum up: Set in front of a background of exciting science fiction, Going Back Cold is a story of the reality of hope, forgiveness, and healing after great hurt. It is a story about a faith that sustains through suffering and a sovereign God who will never leave us.

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Going Back Cold by Kelley Rose Waller
Image Used by Permission from Kelley Rose Waller

Kelley Rose Waller
Kelley Rose Waller
Kelley writes fiction to imagine new life experiences. Her debut novel, The Senator’s Youngest Daughter, was released October 1, 2016. This conservative political thriller pits a young woman and her family against a media tycoon backed by the president of a very different United States.

Kelley’s day job as a marketing strategist offers her the opportunity to write and plan for clients in diverse fields. Kelley and her husband are Pennsylvania foster parents. She lives and writes to uplift and glorify the name of Jesus Christ.

Kelley is a ridiculous fan of science fiction and board games. She has a B.A. in English and lives in Lancaster, PA, with her husband, three sons, and their dog.

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