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Blameless in Abaddon Hardcover – August, 1996
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The two-mile frozen carcass of God found in this novel's predecessor, Towing Jehovah, is now the main attraction at a theme park called Celestial City USA. As the 80-million-ton Divine Body is maintained in a comatose state on the world's largest life support system, Martin Candle, Justice of the Peace of Abaddon Township files a complaint against God in the World Court at The Hague for crimes against humanity--ranging from the momentary suffering of innocent babies to the horrors of the Holocaust. Opposing Candle and his prosecution team is a devout Christian apologist who argues for God's goodness in the face of manifest evil. Interestingly enough, it is the Devil who acts as narrator.
From Publishers Weekly
God isn't dead after all. He's just in a coma. The angel who announced the Creator's demise in Morrow's World Fantasy Award-winning Towing Jehovah (1994) was simply wrong. God's body is no longer controlled by the Catholic Church, either. Strapped for funds, the Vatican has sold the Corpus Dei to the Baptists, who (shades of Stanley Elkin's The Living End, 1979) have turned the body into the central attraction at a religious theme park. Then a Pennsylvania justice of the peace named Martin Candle gets prostate cancer and loses his beloved wife in a freak automobile accident. Outraged, Job-like Martin decides to put God on trial before the World Court in The Hague. As in Towing Jehovah, Morrow combines black comedy with theological speculation in an often painful examination of God's possible responsibility for human suffering. There are some powerful and surreal scenes here, as when Martin, gathering information for the prosecution, enters God's brain and finds himself on a packet steamer captained by Saint Augustine, their destination the Garden of Eden. Along the way, they run into various biblical characters, many of whom applaud Martin's actions. Much of the narrative is heavy going, consisting of detailed discussions of "theodicy," the "attempt to reconcile the fact of evil with the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent Creator." Equally hard to deal with, though for emotional reasons, are the extended descriptions of human suffering, ranging from the gas chambers of Auschwitz to Martin's cancer. Ultimately, this is a dark and powerful sequel, but one lacking subtlety as well as the surprise and adventurousness of the original.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
No such criticism is merited for this book. In another wild tale with a new set of characters, God ends up being sold to the Baptists, who plant him in Orlando next to Disney World. They are making tons of cash as believers show up by the hundreds of thousands to pay respects and/or be healed. Enter our hero, Martin Candle, dying of prostate cancer, who somehow manages to get God put on trial by a world court in The Hague, Netherlands, for allowing evil to predominate in our world.
Fantasy prevails as our hero gets to discuss theodicy issues (Theodicy: a vindication of God with respect to the existence of evil) with Abraham, Isaac, The Ram, Noah, Jesus, Job, Satan, Adam, Eve and others. With clever dialogue interspersed (INRI means "I'm not returning immediately"), Morrow maintains an irreverent tone throughout the book.
Opening arguments for the prosecution: ..."They said God was merciful, loving, and just...The prosecution intends to show that exactly the opposite is true...we shall prove that whatever debt we may owe the Defendant for our existence, He has continually acted in a fashion that must be called criminal..."
This paves the way for Morrow to present real arguments, carefully worked out over the centuries by great religious philosophers. The defense attorney presents the equivalent opposing views. The trial is a mini-course on the subject of theodicy for those who wish to be educated on this subject and builds lots of suspense toward the climax.
This inventive yarn shows considerable theological scholarship. Warning: Fundamentalists who stick it out and finish this book may be offended by perceived "sacrilege," and a few neurons and synapses may be singed in the "religion modules" of their brains. First rate book!
However, my favorite is the second of the trilogy, Blameless in Abaddon, where God's brain activity is not quite dead and theodicy is made flesh. (Theodicy is the theological study of the problem of evil - "reconciling God's goodness with the world's evil", or at least explaining His apparent indifference to suffering). In the manner of the biblical Book of Job, small town and small time magistrate Martin Candle - afflicted with prostate cancer and widowed - seeks to have the Corpus Dei towed to the World Court and prosecuted for the problem of evil or suffering of the world. (The trial itself is funded by G.F.Lovett, a children's book author based on C.S.Lewis - on the condition that Candle prosecutes it and Lovett argues the defense). The trial itself is preceded by Candle exploring the original form of Creation in God's mind (or spelunking the infinite), where everything exists in its ideal Form - God, it seems, was a Platonist - including, touchingly, the ideal Form of Candle's deceased wife (and for that matter, himself). And of course, this novel of the problem of evil is narrated by none other than Satan, also resident in God's mind...
Most recent customer reviews
For me, it bogged down in the middle.Read more