Book 1 of the Father Joseph
Click here for a sample.
The Tribe inhabits a
planet many light-years away completely out of contact with
the human race. Unfortunately for The Tribe, that human
race is slowly colonising their world and The Church sends
two missionaries live among them.
Father Raphael is an
innocent who just wants to do some good. Father Joseph is
an experienced priest who has fallen foul of the internal
politics of The Church and is questioning his faith.
They have been
sentenced to their exile by Prelate Kent who continues to
send them new technological developments to test. These
inventions often cause more problems than they solve and it
is often left to The Tribe, and their spiritual leader
Speaker-to-Ancestors, to deal with the fallout.
The book is really a
collection of stand-alone short stories, each between 5,000
and 10,000 words. These form a continuing narrative
underwritten by the story Father Joseph’s banishment and his
conflict with Prelate Kent.
Each story starts and
ends with the same text with a small variation to show what
has been changed by the events in the story.
The outlines were
originally written as the pitch for a TV series.
SF is always popular
on TV, even the worst received of series develops a
fanatical following, thousands of webpages and solid DVD
sales. Comedy SF (Hitch-hikers Guide, Red Dwarf) is
The problem with SF is
that it is expensive to produce.
Mysterious Ways is an
example of artefact SF (e.g. Eureka, Warehouse 13) which is
currently popular. This is because it is cheap to
produce. Also, a single set of a hut interior that could be
re-dressed and some huts put in a field (or added by a
re-usable CGI) should keep costs down.
and thoughtful Priest, a true believer but healthily
cynical. It is his banishment that has brought civilisation
to the tribe.
One of nature’s
innocents but only wants to do good. Provides much of the
The leader of a
tribe without leaders
intolerant, bigoted and The villain of the piece
And some were built on Stony Ground
The priests arrive in
the village and are left with hi-tech habitats that are
supposed to meet their every need. The devices do not
function properly and the priests are forced to live in the
tribal huts which prove far more comfortable. (Note: The
above version of this story is edited to fit this volume.
The complete story contains more of what happens to Father
Themes: The often
petty nature of religion, the good and bad points of
Our secret sins in the light of his presence
Prelate Kent brings a
Pihound. This is a multi-legged dog that can smell how
pious a man is. After identifying most of the characters as
sinners, it falls foul of The Tribe’s attempts at animal
husbandry and is eaten.
intolerance. The nature of sin and the right to decide who
In the beginning was the word.
Following a gay
wedding, the Prelate brings a device which instantly allows
all The Tribe to read. The Tribe then reads The Bible and
tries to live by the rules they find within it, especially
the madder bits of the Old Testament. This leads them to
demand that the inventor of the device is stoned to death so
he reverses the process.
Every beast of the earth
The Beast is the King
of the Jungle and Prelate Kent decides to hunt the creature
with a gun that cannot miss. The plan backfires – literally
– when Father Joseph shoots Prelate Kent
and the environment. Man’s urge to kill.
mysteriously appears in Father Joseph’s hut. It appears
that he is testing a teleportation device. Unfortunately,
whenever he uses the device an identical amount of matter is
transported to another place as he finds out when a visiting
bishop is teleported into space.
Science without conscience.
The root of all evil
The sudden demand for
chess sets leads Father Joseph to invent money. Suddenly
all the tribe become millionaires. Fortunately, Father
Raphael has a secret that will save the Tribe
Communism and Capitalism.
The Tribe accepts
abortion as acceptable and is challenged by the Church.
Father Raphael and Father Joseph become pregnant and have to
deal with horrors and joys of maternity but it is when
Prelate Kent becomes pregnant that his views on abortion
intolerance. Abortion. Woman’s right to choose.
And they shall cover the earth
When a plague of
locusts levels the village, Prelate Kent brings a device
that creates food out of air. Unfortunately, the device
cannot be switched off and the village is soon swamped.
Fortunately, the locusts return and clear the village.
Bad science. Ecology
Deliver us from temptation
One day, Prelate Kent
appears having lost a great deal of weight. He has taken a
miracle slimming drug. Unfortunately, the moment he stops
taking the drug, the weight comes back on and the drug
causes extreme flatulence.
Addiction. Brain foods
The eyes of the Lord
Prelate Kent has had
access to a device which allows him to see into any space
within its range. He has forgotten that the device could
also be used on him. Father Joseph turns the tables and
becomes the new Prelate.
Themes: The right
to privacy. Big Brother society
Mysterious Ways and its constituent stories all work as
stand alone tales, some thought has been given to what
happens to Father Joseph, Father Raphael and the rest of the
Tribe. The overall story arcs of the following books have
already been plotted out and some of the content has been
has already been written.
Now that Father
Joseph is the new Prelate, he must return to the mission in
Bisho. Speaker-to-Ancestors and some of the tribe decide to
join him. They are an instant hit, becoming celebrities,
but this fame puts strain on both the Tribe and the rest of
civilisation and it is questionable which, if either will
The coming of
the RoboPope is not popular everywhere, with many believers
refusing to follow his accord. Some believe that the Tribe
represent the true word of God and our heroes find
themselves in the middle of an intergalactic jihad. The
true origin of Speaker-to-Ancestors is discovered and Father
Raphael becomes Pope.
Everything There is a Season.
and the Tribe are summoned to New Vatican and presented with
an intriguing offer. Would they like to meet Christ? The
invention of time travel will allow the Tribe to visit
various great events in the past. After visiting Christ at
his birth, his death and (to the confusion of Pope Raph) his
resurrection, they decide to visit other events in Earth’s
history. Slowly they come to realise that someone or
something is time travelling with them. Is it God?