About six months ago, Michael Juge stopped by the Post-Apocalyptic Forum to tell us about his debut novel, Scourge of an Agnostic God. I immediately bought it for my Kindle, but I never got around to reading it because I really didn’t know what it was about or what kind of book it was, so I never knew if it would suit my current mood.
Michael described it by saying “How would Metro Sapiens wired for instant gratification and global connectivity cope in a post-apocalyptic reality? Unwittingly living out a mordant version of the movie Groundhog Day, Intelligence Analyst Chris Jung, tormented by panic-fueled obsessive thoughts, stumbles toward suicide until a mysterious series of electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) strikes across the globe and plunges the industrialized world into darkness.”
The title, and the part about Groundhog Day, combined with the book’s cover, which just shows a guy on a subway train, made me think it was some kind of metaphysical or satirical take on the apocalypse. Boy, was I wrong, and Michael? You need to get a new branding consultant.
Yes, several of the characters had deep personal issues, and their own demons to confront, but the depth of their internal battles only added to the story. Seeing how they were able to succeed in their struggles only made them more real and easier to relate to.
But overall, Scourge of an Agnostic God is a straight up EMP-event post-apocalyptic novel, complete with societal collapse, starvation, plague, and normal everyday people taking up arms to protect their homes and their families from bands of invaders bent on enslaving them and taking what little they’ve managed to scrape together after the lights go out permanently.
I saw a lot of Dies the Fire in Scourge, and even more of One Second After, with just a sprinkle of the movie version of The Postman. It was also chock full of pop-culture jokes and references, some of them very geeky. I mean, how many times have you seen a US Marine wished “success” in Klingon before heading into battle?
I’m definitely sorry I put off reading it for so long. It’s a great addition to the genre, and my favorite book of the last several months. And like I said, don’t let the marketing put you off; if you’re reading this, then I really do think you should read Scourge of an Agnostic God as well.