Monday, February 21, 2011

CSFF Blog Tour: The God Hater by Bill Myers

We don't really have Bill Myers in the UK. I thought he was the bloke from Austin Powers until Professor Google put me straight.

A quick look at told me this about the book we will be featuring on the tour this month:
A cranky, atheist philosophy professor loves to shred incoming freshmen of their faith. He is chosen by a group of scientists to create a philosophy for a computer-generated world exactly like ours.
Much to his frustration every model introduced from Darwinism, to Existentialism, to Eastern beliefs fails. The only way to preserve the computer world is to introduce laws from outside their system through a Law Giver. Of course this goes against everything he believes and he hates it. But even this doesn't completely work because the citizens of that world become legalists and completely miss the spirit behind the Law.
The only way to save them is to create a computer character like himself to personally explain it. He does. So now there are two of him—the one in our world and the one in the computer world. (Sound familiar?)
Unfortunately, a rival has introduced a virus into the computer world. Things grow worse until the professor in that computer world sees the only way to save his world is to personally absorb the virus and the penalty for breaking the Law. Of course it's clear to all, including our real world professor, that this act of selfless love has become a complete reenactment of the Gospel. It is the only possible choice to save the computer world and, as he finally understands, our own.
So, we have a sort of cyberpunk-esque allegory, with the nebulous concept of sin represented by a computer virus... which, by a curious coincidence, is the exact plot of my first novel, penned (literally!) some time in the mid-90s when I first thought about writing fiction. Seriously. That bit about 'a rival has introduced a virus into the computer world'? I did that. Look, you can see it on my WIPlist - I had thought about revisiting it when I was a better writer, but couldn't make the thing stand up properly in a post-Matrix world.

So the question is, has Bill Myers done a better job of it than I did? Well, given that The God Hater is his umpteenth published novel, as opposed to his first left-in-a-desk-drawer novel, I would certainly hope so. In a dramatic break with tradition, I have actually read this book (thanks to the Tour organisers and Howard Books) and will post a proper review on Wednesday.

Interestingly, the idea I once dismissed as cheesy and derivative, that bloke from Left Behind described as the best idea Myers ever had. Make of that what you will: maybe Jerry Jenkins hasn't read that many really good 'idea' stories, or maybe Bill Myers' other ideas really were pants. Maybe Bill and Jerry* will agree that, in fact, this just means that I am a creative genius. If that were the case, I couldn't possibly argue, of course. Especially not with the man who gave us Shrek.

So, now you've read my rant, why not see how many of these bloggers have their own versions of Bill Myers' stories gathering dust a drawer somewhere:

Noah Arsenault Red Bissell Thomas Clayton Booher Keanan Brand Kathy Brasby Rachel Briard Beckie Burnham Morgan L. Busse Carol Bruce Collett Valerie Comer Karri Compton CSFF Blog Tour April Erwin Amber French Andrea Graham Tori Greene Katie Hart Ryan Heart Joleen Howell Bruce Hennigan Becky Jesse Cris Jesse Becca Johnson Jason Joyner Carol Keen Emily LaVigne Shannon McDermott Matt Mikalatos Rebecca LuElla Miller Mirtika MollyBuuklvr81 John W. Otte Sarah Sawyer Chawna Schroeder Andrea Schultz Tammy Shelnut Kathleen Smith James Somers Donna Swanson Jessica Thomas Fred Warren Dona Watson Nicole White Dave Wilson

*don't they have an ice-cream business on the side?


Tori said...

Are you sure your novel is still gathering dust in your desk drawer?? Maybe you should check :)

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

OK, that's too weird. I think you have written about this premise before. Or maybe I'm imagining it.

From time to time I run across elements in books that I've used "first" (of course, I have no idea when the writers first thought up their version of the idea), and it does sting a bit.

Still, everyone executes ideas differently. If that weren't true, there would only be one boy-meets-girl-and-they-dislike-each-other romance, one murder mystery, etc.

I do have to say, the idea might sound like obvious allegory, but I thought Myers did a lot with it and I didn't think it read like allegory at all.

But even if it did, allegory isn't cheesy just because it is allegory. ;-)


Jason said...

Steve's posting an actual review? Boy, that is something to stay tuned for!

I wish we could keep you more involved, but know that your humor and insight is always welcome as we keep plugging away at the tour.


UKSteve said...

Thanks for stopping by guys, I only hope my review lives up to your expectations now...