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Page last updated at 14:55 GMT, Monday, 7 February 2011
Where faith meets science fiction
Rev Joanna Ray
Reverend Joanna goes where few Anglican priests boldly tread

Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke, Ray Bradbury: these were the young Joanna Ray's literary heroes.

They fired her imagination, and prompted her to write her own tale of an undiscovered planet while still in her teens.

Her fascination with science first led her to a career in microbiology, but by her late twenties she was ordained as an Anglican priest.

For her faith and science - and even science fiction - are all compatible.

The now Reverend Joanna Z Ray is used to the sharp intake of breath which tends to follow the revelation that she writes sci-fi novels.

Her latest: "One of the Good Guys" is the fourth in her Sikharan sequence, following alien warriors who are on the side of Earth in the seemingly mandatory galactic space war.

The new frontier

She sees the hand of God at work in the laws of physics, chemistry and biology, and is comfortable combining those disciplines with theology and creative writing.

She has, discreetly she hopes, endowed her aliens with a faith they are happy to discuss with the humans they encounter. Their services are partly conducted telepathically, and their leader is both soldier and social worker.

Press for further description and you are likely to be told of purplish skin and cat-like eyes ...though no whiskers.

Ask whether her creations are any better at solving social, philosophical, ecological problems than we are, and the answer is yes.

A virtual reality has, it seems, rather less difficulty being virtuous.

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