We need more theologians that use an allegorical/satirical look at monsters to get their theological point across.
I very much enjoyed Matt Mikalatos’ first book Imaginary Jesus (my review) and I have passed it on to several people. So I had high hopes for the second book.
In both books a semi-fictional Matt is the main character. In Night of the Living Dead, mild-mannered Matt, in his self-appointed role of neighborhood watch coordinator, sees his neighbor turn into a werewolf and then see his neighbor’s wife leave him. Matt, accompanied by the previously introduced Mad Scientist and his robot, attempt to cure the neighbor (Luther) of his werewolf problem.
Along the way they are attacked by Zombies, run into another neighbor that is a vampire and have to avoid the maniac monster killer.
Mikalatos is a very good, and quite humorous story-teller. But the style of story telling is what most interests me. Stylistically he reminds me of Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). But he is consciously writing an allegory about what it means to be transformed by faith.
The characters are very self-aware of the farcical nature and the author has a clear purpose. He is not writing a faintly hidden moral story like a lot of Christian fiction that I am not fond of. Instead, Mikalatos is using fiction to illustrate a transformed Christian life in a way that is not possible in a non-fiction format.
The werewolf is a person that has allowed rage to control them. Luther (the werewolf) grew up in the church and is a pastor’s son but his rage at his father and his inability to ever measure up, have lead to his becoming a werewolf.
The vampire was abused in a past relationship and the life sucked out of her. She then turned and created other vampires and sucked the life out of them. She wants to be free but it is hard to break free of past habits and ways of acting.
The zombies are the most interesting. These are Christians that are neither alive or dead. They mindlessly do what they are told and are following a behavior system and not a savior.
The mad scientists try to control everyone around them and want to solve everyone else’s problems and ignore their own.
What I appreciate is that this book does not pretend that it is not trying to teach us something. But the lesson is fun, well written and important. I highly recommend it!