Monday, October 20, 2008


The current novel-for-work is a rather good historical-psychological semi-thriller by Alex Scarrow called October Skies, in which a couple of contemporary documentary-makers find themselves on the trail of a deluded breakaway Mormon sect (yes, they've broken away from the Mormon mainstream; I'll leave you to contemplate what sorts of people we're talking about here) led by the standard charismatic yet drug-addicted sociopath who does a lot of chattin' to Gahd. This group is heading west along the Oregon Trail in 1856, just a little too close to the onset of winter.

Scarrow telegraphs a few too many of his ideological punches, which is annoying when what you're reading is fiction and when in any event you could not agree with him more, but he certainly leaves us in no doubt of what he thinks about organised religion in general and, in particular, the tight grip that "faith" seems to have on much of contemporary America.

[UPDATE: I should have mentioned here that the whole plot turns out to revolve around those tablets containing the Direct Word of God that Joseph Smith claims to have found on a hillside. Because that fact is directly relevant to the following paragraph.]

So it was a tad spooky to go outside to look in the mailbox and find in it a single and clearly hand-delivered item: a CD in a clear plastic sleeve of the ten-a-penny supermarket kind and a rather nicely designed label with pastel Persian patterns, entitled 'The Noble Quran: The Creator's Message to Mankind'.

Now, I've already read the noble Quran so I am not in need of it on CD, especially not one labelled 'Free Gift' (as though there were any other kind of gift). But they want to be careful. Round here we've got two big Russian Orthodox churches and one Greek ditto, plus a high-octane Baptist stronghold, all within a few streets of each other, and they're all extremely active and well-attended. I can't really see the local Muslims, the local Eastern Orthodox and the local Baptists going at it hammer and tongs with gardening tools* in the middle of these quiet little old suburban streets, but you never know. If they do, and if you're looking for me, I'll be the one selling binoculars and red cordial.

AFTERTHOUGHT, 3.43 PM: You know, I can foresee several different kinds of not particularly distant future in which having written 'I've already read the noble Quran' on my own personal blog will be enough to get me into some very serious trouble. I really can. But I don't think I'll remove it quite yet. Goddess preserve me in the meantime.

*Or, indeed, hammers and tongs. Der.


fifi said...

I'll put my money on the Russians.

Anonymous said...

Now I've got this mental picture of you a la Terry Prachett's Dibbler, floggin' sausage-inna-bun.

M-H said...

If you give spectators red cordial they'll get all hyper and join in and it will be WWIII. Or is that your plan?

Pavlov's Cat said...

I have to admit, M-H, that I had not quite thought that one through. The hyperness was directed more at the mad warriors.

alex scarrow said... your review of my book. I guess you spotted I'm a Dawkins groupie.

Anyway...thanks for the review, glad you enjoyed it.

-Alex Scarrow

Pavlov's Cat said...

LOL is right.

That's a first. But I should have expected it.

Great ending, BTW. Didn't see it coming till it was almost on top of me.