Monday, February 11, 2019

American Omens by Travis Thrasher

Thrasher imagines the U.S. twenty years in the future. Successive legislative acts have basically outlawed Christianity. Technology has advanced so that people have brain implants capable of receiving messages, showing photos, etc. Unknown to most, they can also be used for monitoring and manipulation. One corporate man is in control of nearly everything in the nation. FBI agents are manipulated to find and kill outspoken Christians. Yet there are a few faithful Christians who are determined to make public the nefarious technological control being perpetrated on the nation's citizens.

The narrative follows three people, a programmer innocently working for the evil technology company, an FBI agent enlisted to find and remove the man leading underground Christians, and a bookseller whose is forced to end his business because he made Christian material available. The main characters in these narratives do not intersect. While all three stories take place at the same time, I felt a little disconnect. I wish the paths of the main characters would have crossed. The character development was a little hap hazard, I thought. We do not learn the background of the FBI killer and the reason he does what he does until the second half of the book, for example.

Readers will have much to think about as Thrasher imagines the future. People have generally drifted away from Christianity. There is little biblical literacy. Thrasher has included good information on recent legislation regarding hate crimes, for example, and how that might be used to outlaw Christian speech. There is a little conversation about spiritual warfare but it is not an active element of the plot.

Technology futurists will like the ideas of digital drugs, floating serving trays, robot baristas, self driving cars, and more. There is a strong sense of the dangers of technology being used for evil intent, however. The brain implants can be programmed to influence an individual, a projection of the use of algorithms in social media today.

This novel concentrates on imagining a possible future for the U.S. but contains little suspense. It has nothing to say about Christianity worldwide. I found that odd since there are some areas south of the equator where Christianity is flourishing. The novel does remind readers to be faithful in living Christlike and be aware of the impact we have on others.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Travis Thrasher is a best-selling author who has written more than fifty books. He lives with his wife and their daughters in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area.

Multnomah, 352 pages.

I received a complimentary advanced reading copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

No comments: