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[GUEST POST] Laurence MacNaughton on Science, Angels and Explosions (+ Giveaway!)

Laurence MacNaughton is the author of Conspiracy of Angels. His articles and stories have appeared in Writers’ Journal, The Rocky Mountain Writer, Pyramid Magazine, Cabal Asylum, The Inkwell and Noir Journal. He teaches fiction writing at For more information please visit

Science, Angels and Explosions

Honestly, I never intended to stir up any science-versus-religion controversy with my debut novel, Conspiracy of Angels. I simply started writing the book after one of my trucks blew up.

Mind you, I’m not talking about a funny noise under the hood. I’m talking about a roaring, shrapnel-flinging ball of flame. My job was to test-drive and report on prototype vehicles, and sometimes things went wrong. Which was how I ended up with my own miniature version of the Tunguska Event.

That was, by the way, an explosion in 1908 that leveled nearly a thousand square miles of Siberian forest.

Thinking about that brought to mind the Book of Ezekiel, from the Old Testament: “Behold, a sweeping wind came from the north, and a great cloud on it. There was brightness round about it, and gleaming fire.” Ezekiel goes on to describe creatures coming out of the light, destroying cities and threatening to extinguish the human race.

Which is how I ended my book. But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, let’s talk about the weird science of consciousness after death.

Recent scientific studies show us that death might not be an event that occurs at one exact moment in time. It might be more of a spectrum. At one end is “definitely alive,” and at the other is “definitely dead.” But there seems to be an unsettling swath of gray area in between.

Apparently, someone might be “dead” as we know it, without any brain activity at all, and yet still be conscious. And further, they can occasionally retain memories of events that happened after they technically died. Even more chilling (or exciting, depending on your beliefs), is that descriptions of near-death experiences are fairly consistent around the world, across all cultures.

This was weighing on my mind one dark night as I read about scientists discovering new extreme life forms, such as bacteria living in pores in Antarctic rock, or thriving in volcanic vents at temperatures hot enough to sterilize lab equipment.

All at once, these seemingly unconnected ideas collided in my head. What kind of life forms could exist at the far end of the spectrum of death? How could we study them — or protect ourselves against them? What if the Book of Ezekiel wasn’t just a religious text, but a warning from an ancient witness to a Tunguska-like event?

And with that, I found myself writing about two people trying to stop the end of the world.

Somewhere, I stepped out of the realm of science and into the realm of faith, and I’m not sure anymore where the line really divides them. Because it’s not about choosing faith or science. It’s about our faith in science.

I’ve had readers flat-out ask me if I believe in angels. I tell them that’s not the point.

The point is that this book might just challenge what you believe is real. And if it does, then maybe I’ve told a story worth reading.

GIVEAWAY: Win a Digital Copy of Laurence MacNaughton’s “Conspiracy of Angels”

Courtesy of the publisher, SF Signal has 2 eBook copies of Laurence MacNaughton’s Conspiracy of Angels to give away to 2 lucky SF Signal readers!

Here’s the synopsis…

Just out of prison, ex-convict Mitch Turner is determined to put his life back on track and find out the truth about his daughter’s mysterious death. But when his daughter’s best friend, Geneva, discovers a cryptic piece of top-secret technology, the two of them are thrust into the cross-hairs of a deadly living weapon.

It’s known only by a code name: Archangel. It’s fast, invulnerable, inhuman. And its next target is Mitch.

But the Archangel is more than just a relentless killer. It’s a gatekeeper of the dangerous boundary that divides this world from the next. And it’s Mitch’s only chance of learning the dark truth about his daughter’s fate.

Outnumbered, outgunned and on the run, Mitch and Geneva race to outsmart an elite force determined to silence them. Can they uncover the conspiracy before the Archangel unleashes its deadly secret on all of humanity?

You can sample the first chapter here, or watch the trailer below…

Here’s how you can enter for a chance to win:

  1. Send an email to contest at sfsignal dot com. (That’s us).
  2. In the subject line, enter ‘Conspiracy of Angels
  3. In the body of the email, please specify your preferred format (ePub or mobi) or the name of your eBook reading device.
  4. Geographic restrictions: This giveaway is only available for residents of the U.S. and Canada.
  5. Only one entry per person please. Duplicate entries will be forwarded to Archangel. If you’ve won something from us in the past, please give someone else a chance. (You know who you are!)
  6. The giveaway will end Wednesday, October 10, 2012 (09:00 PM U.S Central time). The 2 winners will be selected at random, notified, and announced shortly thereafter.

Good luck!

4 Comments on [GUEST POST] Laurence MacNaughton on Science, Angels and Explosions (+ Giveaway!)

  1. ” I never intended to stir up any science-versus-religion controversy with my debut novel, Conspiracy of Angels. I simply started writing the book after one of my trucks blew up.”

    A very fine introduction to any pondering on cause and effect 🙂

  2. Thanks, Don! It wasn’t just the explosion. The characters in the book were also inspired my test drives. My routes took me to some crazy places: abandoned factory buildings, mud-choked back lots, railroad yards covered in graffiti. Occasionally, I’d see someone who stuck in my mind, and I’d make up a story for them.

  3. Sounds like Miracle Max was way ahead of the scientific curve. Spoiler alert, these creatures on the edge of death only want to blave.

  4. It’s true, there’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead.

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