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This novel was bought in a Christian bookstore in the 90s. A paperback, in American English. Cover was light colors, mostly white. I think there was a spaceship on the cover. Found in my parents basement on a visit as a "new book" to me at the time - I had voraciously read everything they had before 1990. My mom always bought from the same bookstore, now closed.

In the novel there was an evil galactic empire, with a small plucky group of people who (mostly passively) resisted its rule. These stand-ins for persecuted Christians wore blue stones as jewelry around their necks. When they were in close proximity to another stone (and therefore another believer), both stones would glow. Later these believers found a planet to hide on with lots of these stones. They discovered that the stones could be used as spaceship fuel, better or at least faster than that used by the evil empire, enabling them to escape when they were eventually discovered.

The final confrontation was against a Darth-Vader-like big bad that fought with a glowing red rod against the blue-stone-powered weapon of the main character. The big bad lost when he accidentally hit the dark altar that was the source of his demonic power, causing said power to turn on him.

I saw it as a star wars ripoff at the time for 3 main reasons. 1. It was an implied sprawling space empire with no reference to earth or to any real-world country or nationality. 2. Overwhelmingly powerful evil empire versus small good group of rebels. 3. The lightsaber-like fight at the end. Hopeful glowing blue against darkly throbbing red.

I suspect it was the author's only novel, and published under a generally Christian book imprint like Zondervan or Revell.

  • Are you sure that it was a specifically Christian book? – Stormblessed May 3 '19 at 13:57
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    Not specified as such, but pretty obviously so (at least it seemed that way to me at the time), and bought in a Christian bookstore not known for carrying nonchristian books. I'd say a step or two less "specifically Christian" than the Narnia series. I suspect it was the author's only novel, and published under a Christian book imprint. – MikeC May 3 '19 at 14:05
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    Does the bookstore still exist? Can you contact them and ask? – Valorum May 4 '19 at 7:24
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    Wow, great question! They closed permanently years ago. – MikeC May 4 '19 at 8:13
13

The book you are describing is Captive Planet, by Gregory J. Smith. It's a Christian YA science fiction book published by Bethany House in the 1980s. (There is a sequel, called Operation Master Planet.) I first read the book in the early 1990s, then forgot the title, and spent about 20 years trying to rediscover it.

Cover art for Captive Planet by Gregory J. Smith

Your memory does not fail you--you got it right on every major plot point. And it's totally filled with things that are almost-but-not-quite Star Wars. Check out this detailed plot summary.

There's an evil galactic empire called the Dominion.

The evil Dominion rules the galaxy. Its cruel leader Kurdon enforces his iron will through a cadre of elite Doomen, soldiers who possess psychic powers to read minds and communicate telepathically among themselves. A space fleet capable of destroying planets helps, too.

The heroes find a planet to hide on:

Lam offers to take the Tsuians to a hidden sanctuary planet often used by space pirates who are looking to lay low and evade the Dominion.

The good guys have blue glowing stones that turn out to be great for powering spaceships:

The Le-in's glowing rocks are monobarite stones, or m-stones for short. The planet has huge deposits of them. Lam and the Tsuians study the m-stones and discover that the stones amplify any sort of energy applied to them. Fitted to their spaceships in place of redlyn rods, the m-stones provide incredible acceleration, firepower, and even a glowing blue energy shield. It's an awesome secret weapon. Cool.

There's a definite Christian allegory. Or rather, a religion that is Christian in all but name.

Lam has never been a spiritual man, but the Tsuians worship a god called the Source and the Power. Lam's experiences since meeting Padeus make him wonder if there is something to this, if the Source and the Power are real. Certainly he can't explain recent events in any other way.

And it turns out the Le-in also worship the Source and the Power. But their theology goes on step further: instead of a god in two persons, they worship a trinity: the Source, the Power, and the Friend. Lam cries out to god for help, and God gives him a vision: the Friend appears to him, speaks to him, reveals Himself. Lam believes.

And yes, a light-saber battle at the end.

There is a showdown. Lam ends up fighting Kurdon in single combat at the foot of Kurdon's throne--Lam and his glowing blue m-stone enhanced cane vs. Kurdon and his glowing red rod. (Totally not blue lightsaber vs. red lightsaber. Totally not.) Lam is about to lose, but Kurdon accidentally smashes his own throne, breaking it and releasing the evil power contained within. (It's Satan, I think.) At that very moment, all Doomen everywhere cease to function. They were reanimated corpses all along, controlled by the satanic power that Kurdon served.

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  • Nice! I hope the asker is still around to see your answer. – Moriarty Jan 23 at 0:05
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    I am amazed! Yes, this is it. Thank you! – MikeC Jan 23 at 14:04
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    You're welcome. For years I thought I was the only person on the internet searching for that book. (I'm the one who wrote that detailed plot summary. Until I found the book and wrote that summary, there was basically nothing on the internet about Captive Planet. Not that I could find anyway.) It warms my heart to know that I'm not alone, there is somebody else on the internet who read and remembers Captive Planet. – Kenny Jan 23 at 15:14

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