What is so funny about the apocalypse?


I don’t know if it is my twisted sense of humor, or all this talk of the impending end of the world come this December or the fact that I am surrounded by religious zealots, but I have been reading humorous books about the apocalypse recently.

A little background may be in order. I suffered through Catholic school from grades K-6 in the northeast. My parents weren’t particularly religious, my mom in fact told me outright that she didn’t fully believe in what we (myself and my brother) were being taught, she just felt the education we were receiving in Catholic school was better than in public school (she was right).

Until I moved back to the South, I had never been exposed to evangelical Christians or Mormons or anyone who took the Bible literally. I never actually believed that Satan was a real person or entity that was out to “get” people or had the ability to effect change in a person’s attitude or actions.

Right now I do not go to church and I’m quite happy with my state of spirituality.

My husband, however, went to Catholic school all through high school, has read most of the Bible, and carries what I call “Catholic guilt syndrome”. Our discussions on religion are quite interesting.

I should mention here that if anyone is particularly devout to any religion, you should steer clear of the books I am mentioning in this post. It will just make you angry and upset. The reader should have a sense of humor about religion in particular and realize that these are fictional novels and meant in no way to offend.

I came across “Mercury Falls” again on that site I love so much that comes with the smiley boxes. I think it was 99 cents at the time. A rogue angel who is content to sit back while the world falls apart? Sure..I’ll read it. The sharp wit and quick humor of Robert Kroese kept me captivated page after page. I absolutely love the character of Mercury, the rogue angel who decided he just doesn’t want to play his assigned role in the apocalypse. He is joined by journalist Christine who, after covering doomsday cults and other whackos for years, finally stumbled upon the real thing.

Kroese paints a vivid picture of Heaven, Hell, and all areas in between. He completely offered a new perspective to my thinking of the afterlife. He also offers a faith shaking glimpse into a Heaven and Hell that are not too different than the DMV. The red tape that Mercury and Christine have to wade through provides comic relief, but is a bit scary and puts the thought in the reader’s head: what if it really is like this?

The pace of the novel is very fast. I am a quick reader and usually very quick on the uptake. But many times throughout the book, I had to reread passages in order to fully appreciate the humor created.

“Mercury Rises” is book number two in the Mercury trilogy. It basically starts where the first book leaves off. Again, the apocalypse is nigh, Christine has been shaken up by her experiences in the first book and wants to help a charity in Africa. More characters are introduced in a government agent and a media tycoon. Again, sharp wit, quick pace. The reader should read the first book before reading the second.

Kroese also released short stories “Mercury Begins” and “Mercury Swings” this past summer. Obviously “Mercury Begins” can be read prior to all of the other books. “Mercury Swings” can be read in whatever order desired. As always, very humorous, very quick, very satisfying reads.

The final book, “Mercury Rests” will be released this month. I can’t wait, but will be sad to see the adventures of Mercury come to an end.

Another book that is quasi-apocalyptic but insanely hilarious is “Satan Loves You” by Grady Hendrix. It doesn’t necessarily take place around the apocalypse, but events in the book could be pointing to the apocalypse. Poor Satan is burned out (ha ha!). He is so stressed he can’t even come up with any new tortures for the damned! And Death screwed up a major job and somehow hundreds of people slated for termination are now walking around with hideous injuries that should have ended their life, but didn’t. So Satan had to fire Death. And Death was his best wrestler in the upcoming wrestling match with Heaven. And the demons are threatening to strike. And he needs more sulfur for the sulfur pits and no one is taking his checks anymore. And a woman from the United States is suing him in court. Wow its a hard job running Hell!!

Hendrix relies on a version of Hell described by Dante Alighieri in “The Divine Comedy”. Although I read this in high school, I mainly forgot which circle of hell had which tortures and which sinners belonged where. I would have appreciated a chart or illustration as a refresher. But it was a very amazing idea nonetheless.

Hendrix’s Heaven is not very appealing and kind of sad. I’ll leave it at that. He also really skewers the Catholic church through the character of Sister Mary. No one is safe in this book.

Throughout the book there are very shocking descriptions of events playing out as a result of Satan’s actions. I was caught off guard. Just a warning.

Overall, I enjoyed this read, even if it is a bit cynical. I actually found myself liking Satan and feeling sympathetic for him. It is amazing when an author can actually paint the Prince of Darkness as a sympathetic character.

I love my apocalypse books. Its great when you can laugh about a situation. And since we have a little over two and a half months left til the next predicted doomsday date, might as well start laughing now!

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Update!!! | The Eclectic Bookworm
  2. Trackback: Book Review: Starship Grifters by Rob Kroese | The Eclectic Bookworm
  3. Trackback: Book Review: Schrodinger’s Gat by Robert Kroese | The Eclectic Bookworm

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