Van Til Tool

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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Winter: A Supernatural Chiller That Is Way Cool

 Winter:  A Supernatural Chiller That Is Way Cool


A review of  


Keven Newsome Winter (North Shore, New Zealand:  Splashdown Books, 2011)

                            324 pp   $13.98   ISBN: 978-0-9876531-0-9


Reviewed by:  Forrest W. Schultz



     Keven Newsome is a seminary student majoring in Supernatural Theology.  Ergo, it is not surprising that his debut novel, Winter, is a supernatural story, i.e. one featuring paranormal events.


     But, things are not always the way they seem.  A long time ago in church I heard a wise man say this about today's Christians:  "We have been sub-normal for so long, that if someone begins acting normal, we think he is abnormal"  (or, I could add, paranormal)  According to this man's perspective, normal Christian living includes the paranormal; or, to put it another way, God's natural way of working in the lives of His people includes the supernatural.


     This appears to be the perspective of the author concerning the New Testament spiritual gift of prophecy.  His central character, Winter Maesson, has been given this gift, and its exercise is essential for defeating the evil designs of the villain, a demon-possessed man, who is intent on destroying the christian college in which Winter has just enrolled as a freshman student. This college is Tishbe University, named for the Israelite city which was the home town of the exemplary Old Testament prophet, Elijah the Tishbite.


     One thing many people do not know about Elijah is that he was concerned about logic [he accuses the Israelites of being illogical] and that the contest with the prophets of Baal was actually what today we would call a scientific experiment.  And, one thing which is known, but not much commented on, is that Elijah had a lot of fun mocking the prophets of Baal.  So, Elijah, the exemplary OT prophet, was a logician, scientist, and humorist -- a portrait that has escaped the notice of the pietistically inclined.  Now, in light of this, it is interesting to see how Winter exhibits these same qualities -- careful thinking and mocking the villain.  Newsome has crafted his character very carefully.


     Another striking literary device is the contrast between Winter and her college roommate Summer.  Winter is one of the tough new woman who has had a rough life and who dresses in Goth style, while Summer likes pink and frilly clothing and decor.  The resulting interpersonal dynamics clash makes for interesting reading.  And, of course, the Summer versus Winter imagery contrast provides a great topic for the literature professor to lecture on in a classroom or to assign to the student as a topic for an essay or a question on an examination. 


     In addition to this and other personality conflicts, such as the one with her English teacher Prichett, Winter faces her internal spiritual struggles and the external ones against the villainous Xaphan.


     The novel's depiction of the phenomena of the gift of prophecy are a great feat of the imagination, as are the finely crafted characters and the twists and turns of the tale.  There are different views, of course, pertaining to the nature of prophecy and to whether or not God bestows the gift today, but one thing I can say is that this story definitely has verisimilitude -- you really get into it and believe it is happening, and you also would really like to personally meet Winter -- at least I know I would. 


    The excellent cover art depicts Winter in Goth mode, her usual attire.  There is also discussion here and there in the story about the significance of Goth and whether or not it is suitable attire for a Christian. 


     Another reviewer has recommended that this novel be made into a film.  I concur.  In the meantime one can view the trailer on the author's website,


     Newsome is a member of the Lost Genre Guild, which is an email discussion group of Christians writing what is now being called "Speculative Fiction", which includes the science fiction, fantasy, horror, and supernatural genres.  His debut story is a good example of the kind of quality work which this group is promoting and encouraging.  Newsome himself has also founded a group of new authors, , which can be consulted for more information.


     Newsome is now working on a sequel to Winter.  I am looking forward to it.  It will be good to see Winter again.  As the saying goes, she is "way cool"!



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