Written by Carleigh Kate Knight Marietta Daily Journal Staff Writer
Politics, religion and science inseparably merge in "A Search for Reality," a Christian science fiction novel penned by retired Kennesaw State University chemistry professor and Marietta resident Leon Combs.
Drawn from his own observations about church and government, "A Search For Reality" creates a one-world government that controls people through structured, non-Biblical based churches. Virtual reality modules mold citizens' minds to conform all religions into one. The result is a peaceful, nearly perfect world - but one that is manufactured and oppressive, said Combs, age 69.
"The main character is a scientist who starts to question what's real … there isn't any crime, terrorism or poverty because the government controls everything, but it's chipping away at people's minds," said Combs.
"Then a small group of people starts to understand it seems great, but it's not really great."
He started the book about 20 years ago, while working as a chemistry professor at Mississippi State University. A lifelong Christian, Combs felt the church was becoming more of a "social club" than a place of worship. "I started to think about the church of music, the church of football, the church of baseball," he said.
Writing the book was always a back-burner project. He found material for the novel in his professional work. Research brought him to Sweden, where he was exposed to socialism.
"I talked with scientists in Sweden who said research wasn't going anywhere because students didn't have any drive and were satisfied with the status quo," he said.
Combs' focus was quantum mechanics, a theoretical application of science. "The principal is that nothing can be measured absolutely on an atomic level. We can't say where an electron is. It's all probability. That gets into understanding what's real … and that guided me into this book," he said.
His wife, Carol, added that the quest for reality in science is mirrored by the quest for reality in theology. The journey for truth, Combs said, corresponds in science and religion.
"This book pinpoints the need for purpose and hope in life. It strips away the superficial things that only bring temporary happiness," Mrs. Combs said.
For the Combs family, science and Christianity are not at odds. "There is a coherence if both are perfectly understood … people get in trouble because of an inadequate understanding of both," said Combs.
"A Search for Reality," is the first fiction novel Combs has published. He has published many technical papers and writes Biblical commentary and theological essays on his Web site, http://LivingTheology.com.
An avid science fiction fan, Combs learned the conventions of writing such a book from reading them since his youth. After retiring from KSU, Combs dedicated his time to finishing the novel.
He finished the book in July, and Christian publisher Xulon Press published it in time for Christmas.
Now, he's working on a sequel focusing on China, the one country, Combs says, that doesn't give into the one-world government described in "A Search for Reality." He also teaches Bible classes at Midway Presbyterian Church in Marietta.