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WesternSFA
The Messiah Game
by Tom Flynn
See Sharp Press, $11.95, 242pp
Release Date: April 4, 2012
As you might expect from the man who also wrote The Trouble with Christmas, The Messiah Game (originally published as Galactic Rapture) gleefully reveals the unholy influence religious CEOs – be they priests, mullahs, prophets, or popes – like to exert on politics and social engineering. It has the same sort of fascination that turning over a stone had for me as a child growing up in a damper climate than is to be found in Arizona; each rock revealed a strange world of scuttling, armored, light-shunning life forms that wriggled and burrowed out of sight. Flynn lifts the rock on several religious institutions in the course of his fast-paced narrative of galactic adventure, which features devastating attacks by planet-destroying drones, decadent societies, technological and mathematical advances, media manipulation, and people who seem not to have changed at all in their essentials – there are just many, many more of them, and dozens of species for them to interact with for the propagation of confusion.

I always like it when an author lifts the skirts of History. I especially enjoyed the conversation on page 151, part of a “future history” of the Mormon faith compared to that of a futuristic Catholic Church, which reads like an episode from National Lampoon’s History of the World with such lines as “A church is dying when it stops punishing its intellectuals.”

A bit scanty on internal character development, but chock-a-block full of bigger, badder, faster technologies and interfaces, and a charlatan-who-would-be-a-hero, The Messiah Game is sort of like Heinlein on speed, social commentary spliced with action adventure. ~~ Chris R. Paige

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