September 19th, 2016


Book #45: The Truth is Out There by Thomas Bertonneau and Kim Paffenroth

Number of pages: 272

Thomas Bertonneau is an English Professor, while Kim Paffenroth is a professor of religious studies.This is a book aimed at looking at the apparent religious significance of six classic science fiction TV shows, these being Doctor Who, Star Trek, The Prisoner, The Twilight Zone, The X-Files and Babylon 5.

I was mostly interested in reading this book because of its mentioning of the X-Files, but I read the whole book anyway. Most of the time, the writers treat the shows as religious allegories, although I wasn't entirely sure if this was intentional in every case. In the case of the Prisoner, apparently Patrick McGoohan did do this deliberately, and he sees Number 6 as a superior Christian role model to James Bond.

I found this book to be quite heavy going at times, because there was a large amount of philosophy involved, and occasionally even politics. At times I felt like I was reading a precis of various events from the shows themselves, rather than a summary of their Christian significance.

I could tell this book was painstakingly researched, and I could tell both writers really knew their stuff, both in relation to the TV shows and to theology, but some of the chapters were about shows that I knew very little about, so they were of less interest for me.

Overall, something mostly for hardcore fans rather than casual readers.

Next book: Knowing God (J.I. Packer)
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Book 103

Midnight Crossroad (Midnight, Texas, #1)Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I mostly like Harris's work though there are some I've really disliked. This is somewhere in between. It was good but not outstanding. It took me a while to realize why. It opens with a prologue (oh it's not labeled that, it's not labeled as anything but that's what it is) with someone moving to Midnight, Texas which seems to be the ass end of the middle of nowhere and that all of the few residents are a bit weird and have their secrets. And that's what bothered me, not to prologue per se but the fact that it and the first chapter made me think the newcomer was going to be the focus (the blurb also played into this).

Manfred is not the focal character. The povs are split mainly between Manfred, who is sort of a real psychic (hit and miss talent) and part psychic con man on the internet. He's about 23 with a face full of piercings (it's mentioned often). He was living with his grandmother, a strong psychic who has now passed (and from reading other reviews he's from another series, the one I hated so I didn't even remember him). Then another major point of view character is Bobo (shudders, it was hard to take that name seriously) who runs the pawn shop (granted I'm not sure how a pawn shop is surviving in such a small town as I've lived most my life in small towns and that's usually not part of them) and is a landlord to Manfred along with two other tenants, Olivia (who's real job isn't really clear but she has no problems with killing and disposing bodies) and Lemuel (a vampire who survives on little bits of blood and energy and is the night clerk in the pawn shop when all the true supernaturals come out) And the last major pov character is Fiji, a young with of indeterminate powers.

The second problem was there's not much of a plot especially in the beginning. It just meanders between all these characters and we get to know them as Manfred does. The key point turns out to be Bobo had a girlfriend, Audrey who disappeared when he was out of town and that Bobo's grandfather was a hero to the Men of Liberty, a White supremacist group and that he left Bobo a cache of weapons that Bobo swears doesn't exist (and he is the opposite of a racist, friends even with the Hispanic gay couple in the story) About a third of the way in (maybe more) we finally have a plot: Bobo's girlfriend is found when the whole town goes picnicking, dead by the river.

The rest of it is police investigations, magic and pissed off White Supremacists. The characters were interesting enough (but I was glad this was a library book instead of money out of my pocket). I was glad the real killer wasn't the obvious suspect. On the other hand, I didn't feel we had enough to figure out who it really was. In retrospect there were hints but this character didn't have enough face time really. Ah well. Would I read more? If the library has it yeah.

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