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Not The End of The World, by Christopher Brookmyre

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Not The End of The World (Christopher Brookmyre, 1998) is, on the face of it, pretty much your standard millennial doomsday thriller – there’s a dastardly plot to cause a massive tidal wave to engulf Los Angeles (I don’t think I’m spoiling anything here: the True Nature of the Dastardly Plot is pretty obvious to anyone who reads say, the first three chapters) but the point of the novel is a tirade against religion in general, and Christianity in particular, and it is the tirade aspect of the book that is by far the most effective, imho.
The plot’s… just a plot. There are missed opportunities, of course, in both story and character devolopment – not that there is ever much point in whining about missed opportunities when reviewing a novel – and some of the dialogue falters badly (LA cops using words and phrases that I doubt very much LA cops would ever use) but when Brookmyre gets into rant mode, the writing really takes off. The porn star’s withering denunciation of the TV evangelist – don’t worry, you’ll know it when you see it – is an absolute delight. I think I might have had to wipe away a tear.
Would I read more? I might. Brookmyre gives good outrage, and the rhythm of the sections told from the viiew of the Scottish photographer (with whom Brookmyre clearly and unapologetically identifies, no blame there) are more successful than some others. Perhaps I’ve just started with a book in which he’s slightly over-reached himself; I’ve seen suggestions that this is actually the least successful book that Brookmyre has published, so I’d very much like to see what he did with subject matter that’s a bit closer to home.
(thanks to Charlie Stross for the recommendation. An earlier version of this review, with more typos and curious punctuation, is to be found, amongst a great many other things, at enthusiasm)

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