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Journal of No. 118


April 18th, 2010

Defeating Demons - a book review twofer @ 10:00 am


I finally got around to Charlie Stross' The Atrocity Archives. Not a perfect work, but I really did enjoy it a lot. Secret UK occult spook outfit battles tentacled monstrosities from beyond space and time. Although I think it wants to be a cross of Le Carre and Lovecraft [actually, the afterword makes it Deighton and Lovecraft], the brooding Cold War-esque feel sooner or later (usually sooner) gives way to extravagant action that's more James Bond-y. And not Fleming Bond, but Moonraker-film Bond. Nevertheless, a corking good read [though I thought the tacked on Hugo Award-winning novella "Concrete Jungle" was decidedly inferior].
The afterword is also interesting reading, especially his conceit that Len Deighton was one of the greatest horror writers of the 20th century: shadowy entities dominate the world, threatening annihilation of the human race. And HPL was one of the greatest writers of spy thrillers: scholars of esoterica root through libraries and data, searching for well-protected secrets, ever in danger of death from the agents of the other side.


I skimmed through my yardsale find of Stairway to Hell, published by Chick Publications.

Sadly, it is not as amusing as I'd hoped. Essentially, it is an enormous chain letter... you know the type: "Bobby listened to a Twisted Sister album, and within five months he was selling his ass to old perverts to support his marijuana habit. Jane was raped repeatedly by her father, and soon spiraled into drug addiction and Satanic sacrifices, but then she accepted Jesus into her heart and her life turned completely around."
Certainly, there are plenty of horrible stories, but the simplistic message of the book is hard to take seriously. I can't imagine the book convincing anyone of anything, much less that Mephistopheles is twirling his mustache behind every tree.
Parents and teenagers can't get along because quietly, behind the scenes, the evil one is doing everything he can to break up homes and destroy parent-teenager relationships.

If you love rock music, the devil's bloody claws are already firmly wrapped around your neck. The longer you listen, the tighter his grip gets.

It's kind of amusing how much the book quotes heavy metal lyrics about hell and going to hell, and says "See? See? These rockers are telling you the truth!" So should the kids listen to their message, or not listen to their message? Anyway, you'd think Satan would be a bit more clever about things.

Although some of his stories are backed up with footnotes, others seem a little more dubious: "A 13-year-old mother from Osaka, Japan was so "obsessed" (another word for "possessed") with the Satanic Heavy Metal rockers, Iron Maiden, that she sold her newborn twin baby girls to buy tickets to an upcoming Iron Maiden concert." The book even quotes a newspaper story about the incident, but does not provide a footnote to said newspaper. Why not?
You can read the chapter on D&D online. Even if we grant that D&D played a role in some of these cases, I think my peer group demonstrates that these results are not typical. But you have to wonder about some of them, like the D&D player who died of auto-erotic asphyxiation. Is that 2nd edition?
"How did the demons get in him? Through the D & D." lol

The book quotes Deities and Demigods: "Serving a deity is a significant part of D & D, and all players should have a patron god." Whoa, that's pretty creepy! And as an atheist player, I didn't have a patron god. Have I been playing D&D wrong all these years? Let's just check that for accuracy, shall we? "Serving a deity is a significant part of AD&D, and all player characters should have a patron god." Fuckin' liar. Let's move on to sex.

"But God did not create sex for those who are not married to each other. For them, it is deadly, both physically and spiritually."

As for homosex, "What a slap in God's face. The only way anyone could find joy and pleasure from that kind of unnatural sex act is to be driven 100 percent by demons." Seriously, if a gay teen was not already convinced he was possessed by demons, how likely would this book be to convince him of that?

OK, I'm getting tired. Less blather, more quotes from here out.

"Once sexual demons move into your body, they will never be satisfied, no matter how much or what type of sex they get you to perform. They will continually drag you to new disgusting lows. You will do things you never dreamed you would.
One young man started off having sex with his girlfriend, but it didn't stop there. ... The demons eventually drove him to the wretched life of a homosexual prostitute."

True Fact: "Experts estimate that between 50,000 and 60,000 satanic human sacrifices take place every year in the United States alone."

"If the thought of gulping down urine and blood doesn't appeal to you, stay away from the occult."

I love this paean to capitalism.

To heighten your paranoia, The Devil "has just as many of his people in key positions in Christian churches and ministries as he has in Heavy Metal rock bands." Fortunately, Chick Tracts will sell you a guide to true Christianity, so you can tell if your church is satanic.

[The parents of a child who played rock music behind a locked bedroom door] "were both totally shocked when I suggested that they get a sledge hammer, smash the door down, then take the hammer to his stereo and records." Of course they were shocked, you psycho.
 
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From:hagdirt
Date:April 18th, 2010 05:56 pm (UTC)
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I can honestly say that Chick tracts, and similar printed materials, contributed to my loss of faith. I remember reading my mom's copy of The Maze of Mormonism, and by the end where they're decoding Mormon ritual to show that it is SRSLY SATANIC!!1!! I was all, you guys are just making shit up, now, and if you're making that shit up, what other shit have you made up? Also, your god's an asshole.

But the cover was awesome: http://www.amazon.com/Maze-Mormonism-Walter-Martin/dp/0884490173
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From:caprine
Date:April 19th, 2010 04:05 am (UTC)
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I have found Stross' Laundry series to be delightful. The plot devices and afterword of The Jennifer Morgue are hilarious.

There is now going to be a role-playing game based on it. I love that the agent on the cover is wearing an xkcd t-shirt.

Journal of No. 118