Review of Oasis
Getting That Old-Time Religion in Outer Space
I caught the pilot for Oasis last month on Amazon Prime. It definitely has possibilities.
The set-up is something we've seen and read many times before -- an Earth in bad shape just a few decades into the future has apparently discovered faster-than-light travel, and is setting up a colony on some habitable world out there in the galaxy. Also familiar is the discovery that this new world isn't such a nice place, either, and in fact has something very strange and likely deadly about it.
What's different and appealing about Oasis, though, is that the point-of-view character is a Scottish chaplain, which puts Oasis, based on Michel Faber's The Book Of Strange New Things, in James Blish (A Case of Conscience) and Mary Doria Russell (The Sparrow) territory. Now this is more unusual terrain indeed, and one which I explored in my Touching the Face of the Cosmos: On the Intersection of Space Travel and Religion anthology, so I'm especially glad to see it in an Amazon series.
At this point, though -- at the end of just one hour -- it's unclear (as I guess it should be) what's happening to our colonists on this new planet, and what role our chaplain will be play in understanding and combatting it. Since the problem has already resulted in the death of four human colonists, apparently because they're seeing visions of people and animals (a horse, in one case) they knew and loved and left behind on Earth, there's no doubt that Chaplain Peter will have a lot to fathom. And since we do also know that Peter lost his young wife to illness on Earth, and that the head of the colony, now missing, specifically requested Peter's presence before himself disappearing, we can expect Peter to be put to the test personally as well as professionally in applying his faith and smarts to the problem of survival of the colonists and in turn the survival of humanity.
Which adds up to a good reason to want to see more of this narrative, and encourage Amazon to go for a series. See it, and if you like it, check off the boxes on Amazon.
interview with John Glenn, and essays and stories by the Pope's Astronomer, David Brin, Robert J. Sawyer, Marianne Dyson, and many others.
An unusual crew on the first starship to Alpha Centauri -- with just enough fuel to get there.