17.6.12 | By: Megan Langham

Medicina: Guest Post from J. Grace Pennington

My dear fellow scribblers, I have something special for you today—a guest post from talented writer and good friend Grace Pennington. I think you will enjoy it; her subject matter is endlessly fascinating. Also, she will be touching on the topic of her new novel, Firmament: Radialloy. After you've finished reading, pay a visit to either her blog or the book's Amazon page to find out more!

in grace's words

I get interesting looks sometimes when I say that I write medical science-fiction.  I don't know if it's a real genre, and I certainly don't know anyone else who writes it.  But it's what I write.  Not science-fiction that has a medical element in it somewhere, but science-fiction that is centered on some medical idea, medical problem, or perhaps on medical personnel.

My recently released novel Firmament: Radialloy is medical sci-fi, with a doctor's daughter and medical assistant as the main character.  The plot is heavily dependent on medical constructs, particularly the idea of a fatal condition called Langham's Disease (no, I didn't name that after anyone I know, why do you ask?).  Mild medical procedures take place at intervals throughout the story, all in a day's work for the main character.

Why am I so obsessed with the human body, how it fails, how it heals, and what we can do to help it?  I'm not sure I know, really.  I've always been interested, and in the past few years the interest has turned into a fascination. I still haven't come upon a definitive reason, but I have a few guesses.

One obvious reason is just the true remarkableness of it all.  The way every little detail works together so precisely and brilliantly, from the life-sustaining heart to the tiny fighters of intrusion and disease, the white blood cells. The intricacy of the work of the red blood cells, on a mission to supply every tissue with oxygen, the instant reaction of muscles to the warnings and information of nerves.  It's absolutely breathtaking, and the more deeply I get into how it all works, the more I love it.

Another reason is the inherent drama in medical situations.  At its most basic level, the science of medicine is about life and death—the preservation and betterment of one and the avoidance of the other.  It doesn't get much more dramatic than that.  As a romantic, I feed on drama, and my novels tend to be built on it, making life-threatening diseases, fractured limbs, and painful wounds a good fit for my storytelling.  Rushing to save a life, working to overcome extraordinary pain, it excites me and provides me with drama to drive my stories.

But perhaps the most important reason I've come up with thus far is how amazingly the human body shows the power and brilliance of its Creator.  We are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made.  The way every system works together, the way the body repairs and defends itself, the way that everything is so carefully balanced with mathematical precision and yet beautiful creativity, is one of the strongest testaments I know of the love, care, and absolute awesomeness of our God.

I?m sure that all of these reasons are woven together to bring about my attraction to the study and writing use of medical matters, and probably other, smaller reasons that I don't realize.  I try not to let the physiological side of my stories overwhelm the other aspects, but it's very easy to see my affinity for the subject.  My fascination with the details, my perusal of the potential drama, and my awe for what the Creator has done tend to spill over into my writing whether I like it or not.

Thankfully, I like it a lot.

And I hope my readers like it, too.




J. Grace Pennington has been telling stories since she could talk, and writing them down since age five.  Now she lives in the Texas Hill Country with her parents, her eight younger siblings, and her horse, Pioneer.  When she's not writing, she enjoys reading good books, playing movie soundtracks on the piano, and looking up at the stars.  You can find out more about her writing, including the Firmament series, at www.jgracepennington.com

2 missives:

Jonathan Garner said...

I like it. It helps make your writing unique.

Joy said...

This medical element in your writing has piqued my interest, Grace. I am after all, the daughter of a doctor (though I sadly do not relish the study of studying sick bodies, but rather healthy ones...) that's my problem with medicine. I am too sensitive and emotional to really help save a life in that way. But I love studying the biology and am so grateful that there is medicine and doctors out there:).

Blessings in Christ,
~Joy @ joy-live4jesus.blogspot.com

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