Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Romance of Infinite Space, Infinite God

It all started with a date.

Rob and I sometimes go out to dinner without the kids. It's one of those thing that the marriage "experts" always recommend as a chance for couples to have time to really concentrate on each other and building good communication.

Except Rob and I have a naturally strong marriage and good communication. Our personalities are such that our goals are in sync, and we'd learned how to discuss our days and dreams around changing diapers and feeding toddlers. So what could we talk about over a private dinner?

We're writers. We talk stories.

This particular date found us in unusual places, interest wise. I'd been researching religious orders for The Wyoming Catholic Register, and Rob was involved in Artemis society, a group dedicated to getting a commercially/privately funded colony on the Moon. For us, it was just one small step to think of nuns in space.

But what would they do? So often, we only think of nuns as teachers or nurses, but they do so much more. Women religious (as they are sometimes called) are research scientists, writers, social workers, pioneers, and businesswomen. They've suffered incredible hardships, rolled up their habit sleeves and done manual labor, and explored the frontier, usually paving the way for more civilized society. They were gentle (jokes about Sister Mary Margaret and her knuckle-breaking ruler aside), but they were tough.

We knew it'd be a long time before families made it to space, and we wanted a presence there earlier. So what could a religious order do that a commercial interest could not? The answer lay with money. We needed a vital service that a company could command a high price for that the sisters could do for "air, supplies and the love of God." Space search and rescue was our choice.

Since that date a decade ago, we've got to dinner armed with a spiral notebook and talked about "our future": a future of spaceships and daring rescues, faith and miracles. As we indulge in our escapist fun, a synergy grows between us. We come back from our dates relaxed and ready for the everyday challenges of life on planet Earth.

So when I say that writing is a romantic venture, I do mean it.

Once we started writing stories of the Order of Our Lady of the Rescue, we naturally wanted to see them published. Of course, there's not a lot of market (in terms of magazines) for Catholic sci-fi, so we began the search that led us to editing the anthology Infinite Space, Infinite God. But that's another story.

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