When considering great novels, Ad Limina comes quickly to my mind. The story is a spectacular display of humanity. The writing was phenomenal; drawing its readers into a futurist world so easily it was almost unnoticeable.
The story begins when the first native bishop of Mars is called to go to Rome—to make the Ad Limina. On his journey, he is forced to use two very different transportation systems. In one he is tempted to use a modern drug/video enhancement experience to make the journey more palatable. He is also confronted by a strange event. A suicide with loose ends piques his curiosity. Soon, the bishop finds a fascist group that is determined to destroy one of the greatest nemeses to the Catholic faith—and indeed any ethical standard. This nemesis is science—science that has no bounds, that has long since disregarded the possibility of a soul in the things they manipulate. The bishop becomes privy to the horrors that occur when science abandons ethics in a reckless pursuit of becoming God. The mix of human and animal genetic material leads to the creation of intelligent life that wonders if it has a soul. The bishop of Mars thinks—“We are filling the emptiness with our emptiness.”
And yet is this fascist entity, relentless on its course to destroy the world—to purify it—any better? When the bishop is invited to visit the dictator, he finds the answer is no. One would think humanity would learn its lesson well from the dictators Hitler and Mussolini and the nightmares they conjured. But humanity is apt to revisit even their most fatal mistakes.
Ad Limina is a story worth reading. In its pages we look at humanity in the future—falling for old foibles yet again. We see even upright people struggling against the temptations of a world that has forgotten God. Still we glimpse incredible faithfulness—a bishop of a Catholic flock on Mars that remains true… a bishop that remembers that God will be with us even to the end of the ages.