A Revelation for the 21st Century by John C. Bonner

THE LAZARUS PARABLE: A Revelation for the 21st Century

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Bonner spins out a biblically fueled, apocalyptic, intergalactic cautionary tale.

Into the sleepy little burg of Onyx, Miss., come five strange strangers. Strange because two among them have orange skin with raccoon bands across their eyes, and the lone woman is green. They claim to be interstellar travelers, on Earth to make new friends. But the clever Rev. Jimmie Jordan has seen them before in the Bible. Indeed, two of them are descendants of Cain, come to warn Earthlings of the looming threat of the Froecutters, vengeance-seeking extraterrestrials persecuted by Adam (of Adam and Eve) before he was cast down to Earth for intergalactic transgressions. There follows a fairly intriguing, if somewhat dry and stilted (“It’ll be hard to be friends to the people who treat their friends the way you treated us,” complains one extraterrestrial) sci-fi story in which the United States becomes a deep-space powerhouse, unfortunately bringing its bullying ways along with it, thus spelling its doom, twined with an analysis of events as seen through a selective reading of biblical passages by Rev. Jordan. The reverend’s detailed interpretations are where Bonner most clearly enjoys himself; the bad boys locked in sidereal warfare are often merely straw dogs. Skeptics who enjoy studying the Bible, its lacunae and contradictions, will enjoy Bonner’s constructing a reading of the Godhead mystery, explaining the true faults of Sodom, revealing the Earth as Hell (“The Moon is the headstone therefore the Earth is the grave and the dead are those to be saved”). The Lazarus parable, wherein Satan lures man out of the tomb before his time played against the Earthlings bumbling cosmic peregrinations, has far less oomph than the simple parable of Hell on Earth, where love and peace fall before greed and power-mongering. Bonner’s writing has more ease and jump when rummaging through the Bible: John the Baptist “received limited press in each of the gospels.” The ending, though, in which Judgment Day is left hanging, is unsatisfying.

Not much for sci-fi enthusiasts to gnaw on, but gravy for inquiring Bible readers.

Pub Date: Aug. 8th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-595-45234-7
Program: Kirkus Indie
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