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The Worship of Mystery

 
Awarded BOOK OF THE YEAR in the category of Speculative Fiction by the Bisexual Writers’ Association!

Four chaplaincy students attend a mysterious alien ritual. Four lives are shattered beyond recognition…

Jun Battacharya’s final tour of duty sends him to a desolate planet where a mining accident forces him to launch his students into their work without any training.

An invitation arrives from an alien priest native to the planet, inviting Jun and his student to their most sacred ritual. Unable to decline, they attend the ritual—which shatters their lives, each in very different ways.

Jun struggles to keep his students safe, even as their lives descend into chaos, leading each of them to an encounter with Mystery that will heal them or kill them, or others.

In the tradition of Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow and Michael Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things, J.R. Mabry’s The Worship of Mystery goes to the farthest points of known space to explore the dark regions of the human heart.
 

 
Reviews

Not Your Usual Clinical Pastoral Experience!
Few outside of religious professionals know about courses in clinical pastoral experience (CPE). They are a critical part of the formation of clergy and chaplains and take place as a supervised chaplaincy in some institutional setting. Add a hundred-and-some years and John R. Mabry takes us to a very unusual CPE situation at a mining colony on a bleak planet occupied by an indigenous sentient species with their own religion. Spiritual worldviews and religions have recognizable roots in our present world but have also undergone changes. The story focuses on the CPE supervisor and his team of newbie chaplains who profess different spiritual traditions. But the planned chaplaincy experience immediately goes radically awry! Mabry leads us and the team into the chaos of conflicts, catastrophes, deception, encounter with the planet’s indigenous species, and the heart of Mystery. Mabry sees to it that we engage interesting, flawed humans and not stained-glass saints versus evil villains (although there is evil stuff going on). The indigenous species, the Kvochit, are fascinating. His novel has a smattering of f-and mf-bombs and some erotic imagery in love interests to stretch more conservative readers. Lord Krishna shows up and is a very cool god. Mabry is an expert in interfaith spirituality and through Jun, the CPE supervisor, handles the issues that arise respectfully and creatively—encouraging us all to take steps into Mystery. – Daniel Prechtel

This novel has everything: Interesting species, tormented souls, and creative ingenuity. Loved the unusual sense of creativity in this truly original novel. The author is well versed in all the necessary background information and poses some intriguing questions for readers to mull over. Although I am not a fan of space fiction, the interesting characters and their stories drew me in and kept me reading. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a geat tale and some fascinating issues that the characters must deal with. – Tasha Halpert
 
About the Author
J.R. Mabry roams the earth like the ghost of Jacob Marley, searching for the perfect omelet pan. He writes thoughtful urban fantasy and science fiction. When not haunting high-end cooking stores, he lives with his wife and three dogs in Oakland, CA. He is allergic to coffee, tea, and alcohol, and for this reason the hills resound with his lamentation. He is also generally a cheery guy. Visit his website at www.johnrmabry.com
 
The Worship of Mystery published by Apocryphile Press

Review & Commentary