November 08, 2006

The Power of Belief

Pete Hautman, like most writers, is an intrepid explorer of the "what-if" story—what if this or that happened? What if we lived in such-and-such a future—how would it affect an individual's story? In Godless, Hautman explores a very thought-provoking proposition: what would happen if a group of bored small-town teenagers decided to make up their own religion?

Jason Bock, disillusioned with his parents' unrelenting Catholicism and bored with the uneventful summer, is hanging out with a friend at the local water tower one day when an intriguing question pops into his head: if God can be anything and anywhere, what if God is the water tower? After all, without the contents of the water tower, life as they knew it would be completely different. Water was the source of all life, wasn't it?

To Jason, the Church of the Ten-Legged God was somewhat of a joke—albeit a defiant one—something that would help fill the long, boring days of summer with climbing expeditions up the water tower with a couple of friends (his fellow Chutengodians, as they called themselves). However, he soon finds out that it doesn't mean the same thing to everyone else that it does to him. His friends aren't necessarily the people he thought they were, and what started as a philosophical discussion ends up affecting the lives of his friends and his family in drastic and unexpected ways. The resulting story is fascinating, scary, and all too plausible.

No comments: