The Messiah Game by Tom Flynn is a science fiction novel set in a future where the human race has spread through the solar system. Although there is a lot going on, the novel primarily focuses of the spreading of Christianity and the new form of entertainment called Spectators. The latter are individuals living in more primitive societies and recording their lives—an anthropological reality show.
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: See Sharp Press
Stars: 3.5 Stars
Reviewer: Michael D. Griffiths
One of the Spectators discovered a man playing at the game of being a messiah. He was good at what he did, but knew he was a fake even if the people he tricked did not. Another thread follows a second Spector which allowed one of her coworkers to be slain by a tribe they had each recorded. A third thread follows the progression of religious leaders who are searching for each new planet’s own ‘Jesus.’
Each of these threads, and a few others, increase in tension as the novel progresses. The messiah begins to believe he possesses divine powers. The second becomes involved in an inner tribal war. While the battle over Christianity becomes deadly.
The ideas here are interesting, if dark. Most of the characters are degrees below evil at best. Action balances intrigue and the author sets up a universe which could house a series, which I think is Flynn’s intention.
Problems with this could include the numerous Points of View for such a short novel. It is being set up as an epic, but one feels they have only read a third of a book before its over. Although in fairness, most of the threads due reach a climax. Also, it was hard to get into the other threads, when they moved so much more slowly than others. I found myself just wishing we were following one interesting tale instead of covering the political arc of this universe.
I enjoyed how the author pointed out the delusion of religion and illustrated how simple it is to fool people or start a faith of your own. This in itself makes this novel useful. Science Fiction fans who like both action and political plots should enjoy this one.