The first manned mission to Mars. An explosion en route leaves the four astronauts with only enough oxygen for one. NASA's solution: Put three of them in a coma and let the fourth take care of them all the way to Mars. But one of them is probably the saboteur....
Oxygen, first published in 2001, wraps a thriller around some powerful theological reflection on the nature of faith and its relationship to doubt and uncertainty. It also deals with the science-versus-faith dance and attitudes toward "fundamentalists" (a term as ill-defined in the book as in our society).
It's also a fun, nerve-racking ride.
I highly recommend it to any and all believers, particularly those dealing with doubt and skepticism. I would also love to get it into the hands of non-believers, especially scientists leery of being pigeon-holed if they're open to Christianity.
Unfortunately, Oxygen was put out by a Christian publisher and is unlikely to end up on any shelf not in the "Christian fiction" section of a bookstore. It's the problem of the Christian Ghetto (or Country Club if you prefer). There's nothing wrong with in-focused works to help fellow believers, but those things will have little to no impact on the rest of the world. I'd give anything for this book to have been put out by Bantam instead of Bethany.
But that has no bearing on the book itself. Oxygen is a great story and would be a great gift for just about anyone.