A Pagan's Nightmare
Hardcover: 256 pages
"A tongue-in-cheek look at contemporary culture through the eyes of a screenwriter who pens a hit about the last unbeliever on Earth navigating a thoroughly Christian world.
An unwary "pagan" discovers he's one of the last remaining unbelievers in a world populated by Christians. Or so imagines Larry Hutch, a screenwriter with hopes of writing a hit movie. While struggling in his faith and dealing with personal crises, he imagines a strange new world where song lyrics are altered to conform to "Christian" standards (the Beatles belt out "I Wanna Hold Your Tithe") and French fries, newly labeled "McScriptures," are tools for evangelism. Larry's screenplay is a big hit with his agent, Ned, but Ned's Southern Baptist wife is less than amused. Both men's futures will be on the line when the world witnesses A PAGAN'S NIGHTMARE."
Ray Blackston takes on legalism in this light but satirical, novel within a novel. It's a difficult thing to set out to write something funny that will poke fun at your own social group and I give Ray a huge amount of credit for his moxie on taking this on.
Though at times the humor fell flat in my opinion, I did find myself chuckling on occasion at paradoxical references to pop-culture, ie: instead of e-harmony, it's e-marviny (Marvin is the incarnation of legalism), and the discount a landlady offers for the now premium cable channel, TBN.
Ray did a good job on finding a way to expose cult-like thinking masking Christianity, without being offensive. I think, however, that he may have missed an opportunity to really dig deep and make fellow Christians examine our non-biblical rituals, motivations and assumptions and really get to the heart of the matter. Though it would have been a much darker & more sarcastic book had he--which may not be who this author is.
I did walk away from A Pagan's Nightmare encouraged that others are smiling to themselves about some of our modern-day Christian rituals that can be downright silly at times.
BTW, Kudos on the cover. It's clever and suits the book well.
Though this isn't my favorite Blackston novel, he's a talented writer and I look forward to his next.