Sunday, 21 February 2016

Book #05

On the Seventh Day by Mark Wilson

God is pissed off. He has run out of patience with humans and decided that our time is over. We've had our chance and its back to the drawing board. "Fuck the lot of them" is his newest gospel. 

Mo, and Jay, best friends who've fucked up in the past, beg him for one more chance to get the humans back on track. Alongside Mr Saluzar, the head of a global charity foundation, and Nick, The Fallen Angel, they hurtle towards Armageddon and their one chance to prove God wrong. They have seven days to save us. 

I had no idea where Wilson was going with this one. I expected anti-religious commentary and lots of implications that religion is the cause of all evil. What I was given was a Scottish arsehole type God, sick of humans and their abject selfishness, who was hellbent on putting an end to the world and starting again. And can we blame him?

Wilson is gentle with his religious commentary; I'd originally thought I'd be unable to recommend the book to some of my religious friends. In actual fact, I think they'd love it. Bible stories are referenced and twisted to help us understand some of Wilson's A-lister biblical characters, resulting in a wonderful range of back stories, development opportunities, and a true grasp of relationships. Where I thought I'd already known how relationships would be portrayed, I was wrong; the Devil loves God and seeks only to please him; Jesus and Moses are best pals who love nothing more than smoking joints and playing first-person shooters; Lazarus the head of a charitable foundation still dies and rises four days later. Although easily deemed controversial, what Wilson gives us is ultimately heartwarming, instructive, and a hell of a read.

Jesus and Moses descend to earth in an attempt to talk sense into the humans, to ensure them God is watching; he's no happy, and if they continue as they are, he will bring destruction to their world. This is particularly interesting, as Wilson compares the visit to the last time Jesus was on earth. We see the power of technology and social media allow Jesus access to far many more people than he'd ever be capable of two thousand years previously. Wilson comments on traditional media reporting warped information in order to mislead and deceive the world. The articles written by the newspapers we're all familiar with were so typical of each of their views, and the tweets sent to Jesus were entirely relatable and hugely funny.

I really enjoyed the exploration of Nick, the Fallen Angel, or as we know him, Satan. The journey which led to his fall was heartbreaking, and it was wonderful to connect with him. What I loved most of all was his hell, Sheoul, where humans would descend after death to be prepared for heaven. Some humans take longer than others to become pure; some are thrown to the bottom level and tortured due to their sins on earth. I particularly connected with (and many others will - although many will take offence) the idea that God-fearing humans who devoted their entire lives to their religion, took longer than most to be ready to face him. The satire is hilarious, and really something to think about.

This absolutely isn't for everyone, and although it was far more subtle than I'd expected, I imagine it will still offend some. If the thought of a God with a Lanarkshire accent who has a penchant for the word cunt mortifies you, I wouldn't pick it up. For all others, I would thoroughly recommend and endorse this.

One commandment: Don't be a cunt.

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