Sunday, November 13, 2011
They say you're not supposed to comment on reviews, but this is just too interesting to me. I just came across an Amazon reader review that cautions GLOW is a Christian novel. I was quite surprised by this, since Publisher's Weekly said GLOW has a "strong anti-religion theme."
In a strange way, these divergent opinions are proof that I succeeded in my project. In writing GLOW, my intention wasn't to take sides one way or the other about religion, but to show how divisive religion can be in a society under duress. Some people want to run to the pulpit, looking for comfort when tragedy strikes. Some people find tragedy to be proof that the pulpit makes nothing but empty promises. When these two types have to work together, the politics get interesting.
In America we have a separation of church and state which, I feel pretty sure, is part of why we've been such a successful nation. Our founding fathers recognized how dangerous things get when the government sponsors one religion over the other, sometimes going so far as to kill off anyone who doesn't bend the knee at the proper altar. But why should this be so? What is it about a person's private beliefs about the nature of existence, whether it was created or whether it evolved, that brings out such ire? GLOW and the rest of the series will explore the relationship between religion and political power, looking at both sides, good and bad. A society that shares one religion tends to have a unified vision that can achieve such marvels as the Great Pyramids in Egypt, but can also stoop to such lows as the Spanish Inquisition. These extremes are interesting to write about, and I hope interesting to read about too.
Just like the guy at the dinner party who bores you by asking rhetorical questions that he answers himself, books that explicitly answer the questions they pose aren't very interesting. This might be why readers have such extremely different impressions about the book, because they're expecting answers where there are none. THE SKY CHASERS asks the questions. It's up to readers to decide for themselves.