Archbishop co-authoring science fiction novel

.- Archbishop John Myers of Newark is well known for his authoring of numerous pastoral letters on subjects from the Eucharist, to the family, to terrorism. But the archbishop has put his pen to paper to tackle a different genre of writing — science fiction.

The avid fan of "Star Trek: Next Generation" and the "Dune" novels by Frank Herbert, began working with longtime friend and author Gary K. Wolf, creator of "Roger Rabbit," about three years ago to co-author a new science fiction novel, reported the Star-Ledger Staff.

"Space Vulture" is a fast-paced intergalactic tale about a heroic marshal and a con man, who team up with a widow and her two children to fight Space Vulture, the "most villainous marauder in the cosmos," Wolf told the newspaper. Wolf already has three other science-fiction novels under his belt.

The co-authors were friends in middle school, where they discovered their mutual interest in science fiction. The men, who grew up in Earlville, Ill., stayed close while their careers took different directions. Myers became a priest and then a bishop, and Wolf worked as an author.

The archbishop said he worked on the book at night, when he didn't have appointments, or at his summer residence. The two would tease out themes and devise plots over the phone, and would edit text via e-mail.

Myers told the newspaper that he tried to weave moral themes through the text, but it is not written as an overtly Christian or Catholic book. The characters pray when they’re in tough situations and there’s also a conversion of sorts when the con man has a change of heart and decides to care for the young boys who come into his custody.

Wolf and the archbishop will split the money for the 400-page book, which is scheduled to be published by Tom Doherty Associates later this year or early in 2008. The total deal is in the low six figures, said Moshe Feder, the book's editor.

According to the Star-Ledger Staff, Archbishop Myers, 65, said most of the money from the book will probably go into college funds for his nearly three dozen nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.

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