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July 31, 2005

Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse, Jason Boyett

Relevant Books, 2005.

Wondering what all the fuss about Left Behind comes from? Bewildered as to why different fundies either recommend the books wholeheartedly, or condemn them vehemently, usually for different reasons than the next evangelist along? Well, perhaps this small tome can help clear things up a little.

Starting with a short Apocalyptionary, defining all those niggling little terms like eschatology, dispensationalism and Leonard Bernstein, the next two chapters detail end-of-the-world prophecy from 4000 years ago to now. This section doesn't cover Christianity alone, with examples from Zoroastrianism, Islam and a Hindu contribution concerning a goat which isn't really the end of the world, but was too amusing to leave out.

Then there's the question of who the Antichrist might be. Boyett looks at the main candidates and assesses their likelihood on a 10-point scale of his own devising. Alas, Prattle favourites George W. Bush, Prince William and Arnold Schwarzenegger are strangely absent.

After a more detailed examination of the different types of belief regarding the end times, the long words associated with them, and how believers explain away the inevitable contradictions associated with each one. we finish with a miscelleneous collection of stuff including ways in which the world might really end, whether by natural causes or through human folly.

Boyett makes some obscure bits of theology thoroughly accessible, in a style which is lively and irreverant. And the book's cheap too! Recommended.

April 5, 2005

Sue's Way

Sometimes you send out a book for review, and the reviewer doesn't like it. A decent reviewer will explain what it was they didn't like the about a book. An honourable silence is considered to be the best way an author or publisher can deal with a poor review. Unless you are a small Christian press specialising in evangelical fiction, of course.

Steph, of Steph's Book Reviews, didn't like Leah's Way by Richard Borthelo. Helpfully, she lists some of the things she didn't like about the book:

There are many ways in which a book can be bad, you see: it can be poorly written, with clunky prose and bad pacing; it can be dragged down by uninteresting or badly rendered characters; it can be heavy-handed proselytizing dressed up as fiction. Sometimes, it can be all of these, and more. That's when you get a book like Leah's Way...

...As is common in Christian fiction, the dialogue is painfully awkward, the characters breaking the fourth wall to directly address the reader with long, tearfully earnest soliloquies about their struggles as Christians and their attempts to love God. The pacing is poor, skipping huge chunks of time and devoting too many pages to unimportant scenes in its rush to tell the story of Leah's entire life. And, because this is ultimately religious propaganda, the climactic ending is an absurdly saccharine chat between Leah and her God, affirming their undying love for one another even as she coughs chunks of lung upon a park bench.

Sue Eccleston of publisher Windstream Press was not amused, and chose not the path of honour. She mailed Steph, to demonstrate her Christian values of tolerance, peace, and forgiveness, and eventually lost it completely:

September 30, 2002

The Lost Tribes from Outer Space, Marc Dem

Lost Tribes book cover Bantam, 1977.

YAHWEH, God of Genesis, an extraterrestrial being. YAHWEH, who created man to colonize the planet. YAHWEH, who chose inspectors for a continuing surveillance of earth. YAHWEH who gave Jesus a surprising role in the cosmos. YAHWEH, who set up God's plan, a fateful meeting in space destined since creation... THE LOST TRIBES FROM OUTER SPACE.

Lost, but how? At the whim and behest of Yahweh? Chosen, but how? Here, finally, is the true astonishing interpretation of the Book of Books that successfully explains an exciting new reality... the real beginnings of life on planet earth.

This book, originally published in French in 1974, sets out to answer five enigmas regarding the Bible and the Jews, and in particular who the Jews are really, and why everyone hates them. The truth, it seems, is all in the Bible, as long as you read it literally, without all that mystical claptrap that's been laid upon it.

June 21, 1994

Book Reviews: Ritual Abuse

These reviews were written by Geri Corvus. Ignore any other byline you see!

In Pursuit of Satan by Robert D Hicks
(Prometheus Books 1991 £15.50—available from Prometheus Books, 10 Crescent View, Loughton, Essex. IG10 4PZ, or online at the Prometheus Books website.)

Suffer the Little Children by Dr D.H.S. Reid
1992 (available for £15 inc p&p from MIREC, Step Rock House, St Andrews, Fife. KY16 9AT)

Amazingly there are some Pagans out there who still believe there is some truth in the Satanic Abuse Myth. They should read these two books from cover to cover—together they illustrate the growth of a social panic, its tragic consequences and how easily prejudiced preconceptions can be accepted as fact by people expected to know better.

Book Reviews: Fantasy and Science Fiction

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