In horror writer John Shirley’s new book, The Other End, he takes a break from the blood and guts and gore to address a more philosophical question in rebuttal to Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins’ evangelical Left Behind series. While some may think this an intended backlash against the various stories and predictions of the rapture and other end of the world prophecies from various Christian denominations, the story comes off as more of an interesting “what if” at first that, by the end, becomes more contemplative and questioning of those of certain beliefs.
The world as we know it is going through some changes, at least for some people. Strange visions are being experienced across the planet, with colors and lights, and once over, the person is changed, except its affecting people of a certain nature, who can best be described as bad or evil or selfish or greedy, or all of the above. We’re talking about corrupt politicians, child slavers and traffickers, genocidal warlords and soldiers, people harboring illegal immigrants under deplorable conditions, corrupt and greedy CEOs and board members, even abusive people, who experience this strange event that from that moment on find themselves fundamentally changed into good and decent and caring people, looking to change the damage they’ve already wrought and put things to right however they can, even if it cost them their lives.
And then the prophesied end time arrives, taking those deserving off to a paradise, and leaving those less deserving – at least according to the rules of this world as set by Shirley – to suffer and deal with each other back on Earth. The Other End is far less preachy than one might expect, as the reader follows Jim Swift, a reporter for the Sacramento Bee, his family, and his tough and somewhat paranoid friend, Ed Galivant, who look to find out the truth behind these strange happenings. While this print edition does contain a few typos, Shirley’s writing style keeps readers hooked, wondering what’s to happen next.
Originally written on June 27, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.