A couple years ago, I found myself sitting next to an eternal optimist on a plane—which is strange, because he lived in California.
My hipster-glasses-wearing seatmate was convinced, to the core of his being, that humanity was basically good. Most people, he insisted, were good people. Society was evolving, improving, becoming more glorious by the decade, if not the day. As a pastor who has walked with people through unspeakable pain and horror, I love people fiercely, but I could not disagree more. Throughout 2020, I’ve often wondered what that bespectacled positivity champion is thinking now.
It’s true that when life is going well for most people, most people behave mostly decently toward each other. We all know some fabulous people. Put a little pressure on society, though—topple a few support systems and supply chains, make people stay indoors for a few months, polarize our politics, and then light a match, and Ka-Boom! Society starts to implode. As someone finally admitted on my Facebook feed a while back—and this someone wasn’t a Christian—”Humanity is broken.” I couldn’t agree more.
In many ways, my latest book, Pandora’s Doom, wrote itself. Don’t get me wrong. It was a lot of work. But where it went, the themes it explored? I was as surprised at the trail as you will be when you read it (hint, hint!). The title of the novel, Pandora’s Doom, is drawn from the Greek myth of Pandora, a demigod of Greek lore who, unable to resist her curiosity, opens a forbidden box containing unspeakable evil. Once the box is opened, evil spreads irrevocably like darkness throughout creation—an ancient explanation for the problem of evil in the world.
But what if Pandora’s box isn’t out there somewhere, in the worst of the worst criminals rotting in dank prisons? What if it’s in me, in you, all of us? What if, during times of crisis and pandemic and rage, the awful box cracked open to release dreadful evil on the world… is the human heart? I believe in the devil, too, but many days, we make things way too easy for him. As Dean Koontz asks so brilliantly in his famous book, Odd Thomas, “How thin is the veneer of civilization?”
Anger. Brokenness. Mistrust. Dishonour. Destruction. Murder. Accusation. Threats of violence and anarchy. These are no longer fictions for any of us. The question is, now that Pandora’s box has been opened, how can we reverse the frightful tide of cultural night oppressing us?
These are the questions Pandora’s Doom explores, without flinching. I dare you to join me in the journey.
You can order Pandora’s Doom on Amazon today. From the back cover copy:
Pandora’s Box has just been opened. From the inside. Brenden Fouth and his WebForge team have witnessed the greatest technological breakthrough in human history—and it just escaped into the world wide web. Haunted by the entity they’ve unleashed, Brenden and his team join forces with the NSA to battle an enemy that defies their expectations at every turn. If they don’t find a way to stop it, civilization will be rocked to its foundations. But how do you fight a digital being capable of bringing every person on earth to their knees—especially when it brings you face to face with the demons of your own humanity along the way?