Word Wrangler
ISBN 1-58630-084-9
DIVINE MURDER BY WARD KELLEYOne of the most fascinating elements of reading a fairy tale or a science fiction is the willing acceptance of a magical world where serene angels alight with outstretched wings, birds and animals converse fluently, and uncommon things happen quite commonly. We know the actions are unbelievable, yet we love to believe and accept them as real, and therein lies the success of such works.
        We are to a great extent able to unravel the mysteries around us and apply scientific reasoning to known natural phenomena. Yet we are still persistently drawn the unexplained and the unknown. Religion attempts to offer meaning to the shady areas left untouched by science. However, science refuses to accept any truth that cannot be verified through experimentation and logical reasoning.        
        While reading Divine Murder, one quickly finds that Ward Kelley is not attempting to craft yet another science fiction. In spite of meticulous descriptions of battles involving Star Wars-esque weapons, he book refuses to be contained by a category. Mr. Kelley raises interesting questions about the existence, the role, and the rules of God. "There may only be a small number of laws," Stephen Hawking observes in his book Black Holes and Baby Universes, "which are self-consistent and which lead to complicated beings like ourselves, who can ask the question: what is the nature of God?"        
        In the opening pages of Divine Murder, Warren and Zoe find the Atlantic Ocean disappearing in front of their eyes. Like Alice stepped into the wonderland, they are sucked inside the water world by a door that leads to crimson light and a world of weirdness. After a brief survey, the couple discovers a miraculous table that instantly supplies whatever they wish—be it a Colonel Sander’s chicken, a bowl of broccoli soup or Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Amusing themselves with the unearthly comforts, Warren and Zoe encounter an enchanting pair, Ahriman and Belial, also known as the "Originals". Eventually they begin to understand that the Originals have a "Plan" to eliminate the "First".
        The story here skillfully moves from the sci-fi track to one of compelling religious speculations. The task of Zoe is to fulfill the destiny of the human race by bringing the First—God—to finality.
        Evil appeals with ‘valid’ reasons. Belial wins Zoe’s confidence through logic. We are reminded of Milton’s Paradise Lost, where the serpent cleverly induces Eve to consume the forbidden fruit of knowledge. As in Paradise, Zoe accepts the challenge. She approaches God with determination and finds "his essence waving over her, his spirit beaming through her body". What does God look like? Mr. Kelley’s incarnation of the Creator is "a perfect being of pure light...a pure being whose light was perfect". In meeting God, Zoe accomplishes what noble saints, devout disciples and mystics have been unable to achieve.
        The book emphasizes the power of universal love. Why does God love human beings, the imperfect ones? Mr. Kelley offers that they are "the only beings, besides himself [God], to suffer. And so this was true, they were like him in their capacity to suffer. No other being held this likeness, no other beings could suffer, except the First and the Imperfect ones.And thus, he loved them greatly, so distinctive from a universe of accorded beings".         
        In Divine Murder, the author offers ample examples of fresh thinking about some of religion’s fundamental concepts. Mr. Kelley’s concerns about the alluring nature of evil and the limitations of science can be favorably compared with those of physicist Stephen Hawking: "Science cannot predict the future of human society or even if it has any future. The danger is that our power to damage or destroy the environment or one another is increasing much more rapidly than our wisdom in using this power".
        Mr. Kelley poetics make recurrent appearances. The chapters carry such alluring titles as ‘dancing fireflies of mortality’, ‘the eggshell of her memory’, ‘where hearts are held aloft,’ and ‘dancing cells and shifting skin’. Mr. Kelley draws references from topics as diverse as Zoroastrianism and the Bible. The book vacillates between earth and non-earth, human beings and non-human beings, good and evil, God and Satan, reality and illusion. Divine Murder deserves praise for two major achievements: vivid imagination and the expression of what is, for most of us, unthinkable. An immensely enjoyable work!