badbadbad’s current cultural references are many and fun. Expressions such as the First Church of the Church Before Church tickle the reader’s funny-bone. Here, the author is taking potshots at contemporary denominations’ tendency to invoke ‘that old-time religion,’ i.e. whose doctrinal tenets are more like the church of the first-century. And the Reverend Bartholomew Puck’s sermons are dead-bang parodies of religion’s rewardism – if you do this, then you’ll get that.
Garcia enjoys poking fun at the silly behaviors of human beings, yet at the same time there’s an underlying sympathetic theme, as if Garcia is saying, “It’s okay. You’re fragile. Go and sin no more.” In other words, human beings, even though they’re all messed up, are likable and worthwhile. They just take a little getting used to.
In the end, badbadbad comes across as the combined literary effort of Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut, and Robert Anton Wilson: subtle word play, bizarre humor, and unorthodox paradoxes, packaged in sizzling verbal pyrotechnics. Which translates to one heck of a good book.
On the Read-O-Meter, which ranges from 1 star (ugh) to 5 stars (wowee), badbadbad receives 5 stars for wonderfully bad behavior.