WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Book Review

Nightflyers by George R.R. Martin has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Karoly d’Branin is fascinated by an ancient alien race called the volcryn. Many myths surround the mysterious group. Some think they are refugees from a distant galactic war. Others believe they are messengers of God or shadows from hell, warning of impending terror and destruction.

D’Branin assembles a small team, including linguists, telepaths and other specialists for a scientific expedition to study them. The only ship available belongs to a man named Capt. Royd Eris, who is almost as mysterious as the volcryn themselves.

Eris is the sole crewmember on the Nightflyer. He lives in a locked-off section of the vessel, projecting his voice via speaker and only showing himself to d’Branin’s team in the form of a hologram. Eris’ strange behavior alarms the team. The captain secretly watches them through cameras in every corner of the ship.

The team’s telepath begins to crack and reveals he’s feeling a sinister alien presence on the ship. The already-uneasy team members wonder whether it’s just the telepath’s imagination or something more.

D’Branin and a genetically enhanced woman named Melantha Jhirl converse with Eris more than the others do. Eris enjoys d’Branin’s company and likes hearing about the volcryn. Jhirl is as curious about Eris as he is fascinated by her. Jhirl and d’Branin learn before the others that Eris is watching the team’s every move. Jhirl urges him to turn off some of his cameras, and he complies.

D’Branin and the team’s mental health professional decide the ranting telepath needs to be sedated. They opt for a mild drug at the outset. When the other team members find out, a heated discussion ensues. Some say the telepath shouldn’t be sedated at all because he’s trying to warn them of a legitimate threat. Jhirl suggests they administer a powerful, more dangerous drug that may give the telepath greater clarity and help them determine what he is actually seeing. They administer the drug, and the telepath’s skull explodes.

The team members now feel angry, terrified and traumatized. They take the telepath’s headless body to one of the holds and try to clean up the carnage in the lounge. Two female team members decide to override the ship’s computer system and take control. Both are killed and do extensive damage to the ship in the process. Eris makes the rest of the team suit up and leave the ship on space sleds so he can do the necessary repairs.

They see their aging captain for the first time from space. As Eris tries to fix the ship, a half-drunk, angry team member who has lost trust in the others sneaks into the cargo holds. He hopes to take charge of the ship himself, but a mysterious force turns his own laser against him. The others hear his cries. Despite Eris’ warnings, two more teammates go in after him and die.

Eris finally admits his dead mother’s spirit controls the Nightflyer. He can overpower her at times, like when he activates the ship’s gravity. But most often, he can do little to stop her from behaving as she pleases. Eris explains his mother had telekinetic abilities as a child, which others saw as a threat. She was forced to undergo hypnotraining, electroshock and drug therapies in an effort to cure her, and she was institutionalized for five years. She grew to hate, fear and react violently toward people.

Still outside of the ship, d’Branin and the last remaining team member see the volcryn and marvel at the bright, pulsating entity. D’Branin tries to describe it for posterity. The teammate dies and readers hear d’Branin speaking in awe of the light. Eris and Jhirl don’t see or hear from d’Branin again.

Inside, Eris and Jhirl fight off the animated corpses of team members and try to alter the ship’s gravity to lessen Eris’ mother’s power. Eris dies in the process, but his spirit lives on in the ship. Jhirl stays with him to protect him from his mother’s spirit, play chess with his hologram and keep him company. They continue to follow the volcryn, researching and trying to communicate with the mysterious race.

Christian Beliefs

None, but the first line of the book says: “When Jesus of Nazareth hung dying on his cross, the volcryn passed within a year of his agony, headed outward.” A scientist who once studied the volcryn was now said to be “as distant and dead as Jesus of Nazareth.”

Other Belief Systems

Some believe an ancient alien race called the volcryn is a messenger of God or shadow from hell, warning of impending terror and destruction.

On D’Branin’s team, there are telepaths. The team’s telepath begins to crack and reveals he’s feeling a sinister alien presence on the ship. The already-uneasy team members wonder whether it’s just the telepath’s imagination or something more.

Eris admits his dead mother’s spirit controls the Nightflyer. He can overpower her at times, like when he activates the ship’s gravity. But most often, he can do little to stop her from behaving as she pleases. Eris explains his mother had telekinetic abilities as a child, which others saw as a threat.

Eris and Jhirl fight off the animated corpses of team members and try to alter the ship’s gravity to lessen Eris’ mother’s power. Eris dies in the process, but his spirit lives on in the ship. Jhirl stays with him to protect him from his mother’s spirit, plays chess with his hologram and keeps him company.

Authority Roles

Eris’ mother was forced to undergo treatments and institutionalization to cure her of her power. As a result, her spirit remains angry, skeptical and violent toward people. Eris’ secretiveness as the ship’s captain unnerves the team. He is trying to protect them from his mother’s spirit and regrets having put them in this position.

Profanity/Violence

The words b--ch, crap, d--n and h--- appear several times. Crewmembers die in gruesome ways: Heads explode. Limbs and organs shoot through the air, blood splatters over whole rooms and bone shards stab people nearby. Dead, limbless, broken bodies reanimate and chase the living. Several illustrations depict bloody faces and dismembered bodies.

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Eris watches his passengers have sex with each other through his cameras. The team members pair up often with different people, sometimes people of the same sex. Jhirl is particularly sexually active and proud of her sexual prowess.

Eris is fascinated as he watches her sleep with all four men and two women on board, within the first three weeks of the trip. Jhirl owns a whisperjewel, which contains the sensation of one of her past sexual encounters. When she has sex or exercises vigorously, she can feel and experience the memory locked in the whisperjewel. Eris and Jhirl talk about sex a number of times, and she says she will sleep with him if they ever resolve their mess. Eris’ physical body dies before this happens.

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

18 and up

Author

George R.R. Martin

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

Bantam Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC; the edition of the book reviewed was published in 2018

Released

On Video

Year Published

1980

Awards

Locus Award, 1981

Reviewer

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!