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Faith in Science Fiction: 'Wrestling with Gods (Tesseracts Eighteen)' Table of Contents Reveal and all day online Author Chat scheduled for Monday, February 2nd

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EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing

For Immediate Release.
Special announcement...

Table of Contents Reveal and all day online Author Chat
scheduled for Monday, February 2nd
(12 pm MST to 9 pm MST)

Wrestling with Gods (Tesseracts Eighteen)
edited by
Liana Kerzner and Jerome Stueart

(Calgary, Alberta, Canada) As editors and authors prepare for the official online “Table of Contents” reveal and Author Chat to be held Monday, February 2, 'Wrestling with Gods (Tesseracts Eighteen)' editors Liana Kerzner and Jerome Stueart share some details of the new anthology.

“Wrestling with Gods (Tesseracts Eighteen) is the first in the long-standing Tesseracts series to explore faith and religion in Science Fiction and Fantasy,” says co-editor Liana Kerzner. "This very unique and thought-provoking speculative fiction anthology gives readers a chance to see faith from the believer and the skeptic in worlds where what you believe is a matter of life, death, and afterlife.”

“Wrestling is a part of faith.” says co-editor Jerome Stueart, “Jacob wrestled with an angel in the night, earning him the name “Israel”, which means “struggles with god.” Buddha wrestled, and the hero of the Mahabharata wrestled too.”

Authors from across Canada were invited to create characters who wrestled with faith—any faith, real or created for the story—who both believed and yet doubted, or who went back and forth between the two. 25 stories/poems were selected to go between the editor's essays on faith in science fiction and fantasy.

'Wrestling with Gods (Tesseracts Eighteen)' features stories and poems by 26 Canadian authors:

Robert J. Sawyer, Matthew Hughes, Steve Stanton, Erling Friis-Baastad, Megan Fennell, John Park, Tony Pi, David Clink, S. L. Nickerson, Janet K. Nicolson, Mary-Jean Harris, Mary Pletsch, Jennifer Rahn, Alyxandra Harvey, Halli Lilburn, John Bell, David Jón Fuller, Carla Richards, J. M. Frey, James Bambury, Savithri Machiraju, Jen Laface and Andrew Czarnietzki, David Fraser, Suzanne M. McNabb, and Derwin Mak.

“While there have been scifi anthologies that have published stories from one belief system (or different Pagan beliefs),” says Liana Kerzner, “this anthology is different. It strives to be diverse and inclusive over a broad view of faith. Fantastic elements are integral to all major faiths—they have their gods, fantastic creatures, miracles, blessings, power and magic.”

Some of characters found in 'Wrestling with Gods' include:

Jesus in a Shinto shrine, a Muslim woman trying to get closer to Allah through surgery, a pro-fighter trying to get out of his contract and into Nirvana, a Catholic priest verifying an appearance of Fatima on Mars, an African village both fearful and dependent on the Scorched Man to guide the dead, a vampire in a Residential School, and a woman who talks to a coy mermaid about theology while teaching her to read.

According to co-editor Jerome Stueart, who teaches a college course about Faith in Science Fiction, classic SF has wrestled with religion many times—with good reason.

“Science Fiction has not shied away from showing us the places where religion and faith might be hurting us. Novels and stories have pointed out faith’s sometimes blind obedience, or reckless violence associated with religion, and can't help but bristle when faith and science clash. I think speculative fiction is doing just what it does to every part of culture: highlighting the places where we might need to change our minds, our tactics, and offer us some ideas.

“Robert Heinlein's 'Stranger in a Strange Land''s saviour-esque main character challenges religion's ways of controlling faith and living, even the ideas of God. Roger Zelazny’s Lord of Light speculates advanced humans might pretend to be Hindu gods on another planet to rule a more primitive population. More recently, Mary Doria Russell’s 'The Sparrow' has Jesuit missionaries making some severe miscalculations when investigating a new planet. Self-deification, manipulation, hubris—science fiction can show us the places religion might want to rethink.

"On the other hand, beautiful reassurances of what it means to have faith emerge, as in Walter M. Miller, Jr.’s 'A Canticle For Leibowitz' which imagines monks keeping society and science alive after a nuclear holocaust,” says Stueart. "Their faith is in mankind's ability to do better. Tolkien’s 'Lord of the Rings' certainly has faith in goodness, innocence, and perseverance against evil. Molly Gloss’ 'The Dazzle of Day' speaks well of Quakers on a generational starship facing Change bravely, and for Octavia Butler’s 'Earthseed' books, God is Change.”

Popular TV series like 'Star Trek: Deep Space 9' incorporated a culture’s deep faith during seven seasons, and 'Babylon 5' often talked about faith, especially to one characteristic that writer J. Michael Straczynski kept coming back to: forgiveness. Though an avowed atheist, he wrote a lot of religious belief into 'Babylon 5', saying, “I think it behooves us to treat our characters’ beliefs with some measure of respect, whatever they believe in.”

“We need people who can look at spirituality with a critical, discerning eye and still believe. We need people to write about that in science fiction and fantasy without fear that they will offend someone. We need people who still believe in the magic and mystery of the universe—an untold treasure of surprises that keep surprising us, time and again. We can't know everything that's out there—so we write to explore.”

Fiction a perfect medium for examining faith:

“There is, however, one advantage that writing about faith in science fiction and fantasy has over, say, a critical essay about religion.” says Stueart, “Fiction allows a reader to suspend disbelief for a moment—and new ideas can present themselves in a safe way. 'Wrestling with Gods (Tesseracts Eighteen)' is just that. It’s the perfect medium for examining faith and religion. Readers can say it's just a story. But the story lasts in their minds.”


For further information, e-review copies, or to book interviews with the editors, or authors please contact:

Janice Shoults
Marketing and Events
EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing
P.O. Box 1714, Calgary, AB
Canada T2P 2L7
Email: [email protected]
(403) 254-0160 (Calgary office)
(780) 569-1756 (Edmonton office)

'Wrestling with Gods (Tesseracts Eighteen)'
edited by Liana Kerzner and Jerome Stueart

ISBN: 978-1-77053-069-0 ($5.99 US/CDN - Available now)

Print Book:
ISBN: 9781770530683 ($15.95 US/CDN - Forthcoming)

The 'Wrestling with Gods' anthology will be featured on Facebook for a Table of Contents reveal and author chat on February 2, 2015, from 12 pm MST to 9 pm MST (North America). Authors will have an opportunity to talk about what inspired their contribution to the anthology. For details, and a link to the event please visit

'Wrestling with Gods (Tesseracts Eighteen)' is available now in Kindle format, and launches in paper in March (Canada) and April (US).

About the Editors:

Liana Kerzner

“Religion made me pretty miserable when I was a kid.” Kerzner recalls. “I did a lot better with Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippen before I connected with Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah. So now my husband and I have “geek seders” where we have superheroes on the seder plate and do the four Passover questions in languages from Star Trek and The Lord of the Rings as well as the traditional Hebrew. We're not making fun of our religion. We're having fun with our religion. I believe God has a pretty great sense of humor.”

Liana is an award-winning TV producer & writer who has also stepped in front of the camera as the co-host of the legendary late night show 'Ed & Red’s Night Party', the Canadian comedy award-winning 'This Movie Sucks!', and Ed the Sock’s 'I Hate Hollywood!' An episode of 'I Hate Hollywood' was lauded by mental health workers for destigmatizing mental illness. Another early episode was well-received for its look at religion in Hollywood.

Liana is the host/writer of 'Liana K’s Geek Download', heard weekly on the internationally syndicated radio program Canada’s Top 20. She has edited and contributed writing to a comic book mini-series: Ed and Red’s Comic Strip. Liana also writes for

She has hosted and produced Canada's Prix Aurora Awards ceremony three times.

Her stranger achievements include: modeling for video games, having her superhero toy & art collection featured on TV’s Space channel, researching and presenting a paper on Mormon Cosmology in the Twilight Saga, and having a DC Comics character named after her. Liana is an avid cosplayer and her costume work made her the face of Western cosplay on Wikipedia.

Jerome Stueart

Jerome Stueart lives between the Yukon Territory and Ohio. He's done his own critiquing of his faith by challenging evangelical Christianity's stance on LGBT believers, not without some tussles.

Hailing from Missouri and West Texas, Jerome travelled to the Yukon to work on northern science fiction. He fell hard for the place and became a Canadian citizen.

Stueart is a graduate of Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Workshop in San Diego (2007) and of the Lambda Literary Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices (2013) and holds degrees in English.

He has been published in Fantasy, Geist, Joyland, Geez, Strange Horizons, Ice-Floe, Redivider, On Spec, Tesseracts Nine, Tesseracts Eleven, Tesseracts Fourteen and Evolve: Vampire Stories of the New Undead, and soon in Queers Destroy Science Fiction. He earned honorable mentions for both the Fountain Award and Year’s Best Science Fiction 2006. He co-edited Inhuman. His first novel, One Nation Under Gods, is due to be published in late 2015.

As a cartoonist he was featured in the Yukon News, and as a journalist he wrote for Yukon, North of Ordinary, Air North’s in-flight magazine. He’s worked as a janitor, a trolley conductor, an embedded reporter in a remote northern research station, a Religious Education director, and a marketing director. He wrote five radio series for CBC, and one of them, Leaving America, was heard around the world on Radio Canada International.

Jerome has taught creative writing for 20 years, and taught an afterschool course in fantasy and science fiction writing for teens for three years. He teaches a workshop he designed called Writing Faith in churches across Canada and the US.

About the Series:

If you are just discovering the Tesseracts Series for the first time, or reacquainting yourself with this Canadian literary legacy, here are some key points to remember:

The Tesseracts series is focused on speculative fiction: science fiction, fantasy and horror.
The first Tesseracts anthology was edited by the late Judith Merril.
Each year EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing chooses a team of editors—which keeps the collections fresh, new and ever changing—from among the best of Canada’s writers, publishers and critics. The editors then select innovative and futuristic short fiction and poetry from established and emerging voices of Canadian speculative fiction.
Since its publication in 1985, more than 315 Canadian authors, editors, translators and special guests have contributed 529 short stories, poems, editorials and forwards to the series.
Each volume of the Tesseracts series features established as well as emerging authors. Some of Canada's best known fiction writers have been published within the pages of these volumes—including Margaret Atwood, Susan Swan, and Hugo and Nebula award winning authors Robert J. Sawyer, William Gibson, and Spider Robinson.
The entire series includes Tesseracts One through Eighteen, plus Tesseracts Q, which features translations of works by some of Canada's top francophone writers of science fiction and fantasy.
The series has won the prestigious Canadian Aurora Award.

Praise for 'Wrestling with Gods (Tesseracts Eighteen)'

“This anthology has confirmed my belief that some of the best theological writing is happening in the science fiction and fantasy genres. Who are we? Do gods—or does God—exist? What is Truth? And does it matter if we believe in any of these things, or does it only matter how we act? These are questions of faith, and these are some of the questions that are raised, and sometimes answered, in these stories. Taste and see; decide for yourself. You will find that for which you seek.” — The Rev. Sharon Sheffield, Episcopal priest, long-time speculative fiction fan.

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