I took a dive into CH’s back catalog and came up with Richard Cain’s God Hates Me. I remember Vox featured it earlier in the year and though the accompanying text and review highlights made it sound good, I could never get past the cover but I’m glad I gave the book a chance. This really is a case of “Don’t judge a book by its cover”.
When it comes to supernatural fiction I don’t enjoy cheap and gruesome thrills and concentrate on the underlying theological background; think the opening of The Exorcist at an archaeological site in Iraq over the famous “pea soup” scene. Well, Richard Cain has created an intriguing backstory with an unique story line featuring a demon seeking redemption. Unlike The Exorcist, Cain’s book is humorous, so don’t expect a depressing or overly violent read. The demons know their time before judgement is limited and they pass the time in causing as much mischief as they can. If you are going to suffer for eternity you might as well get your money’s worth. Another aspect that comes out is the ennui many demons suffer as they await their fate. Atrocities and inflicting pain can only remain interesting for so long and many demons are heavily involved in hobbies such as running historical reenactments in haunted houses and we meet some that take their LARPing as aliens so seriously they can only be described as demonic otaku.
For the dudes that can’t get over the cover we discuss Richard Cain’s next book in the Q&A which he promises will have a cover easier on hetro male eyes. I don’t have a release date yet but it should be soon and I’ll update this post when I get the word.
Q&A on the next page.
Scott Cole: I have to admit I wasn’t expecting much from God Hates Me, maybe the cover threw me off (more on that later) but it was an enjoyable read and the story line is definitely unique…
Richard Cain: Thank you. Some argue that the demon/angel thing is overdone. It’s not. Like communism, it’s simply never been done right – until now. If you’re expecting Frank Peretti – don’t. He missed the chance for humor in the dark lives of the damned. In God Hates Me, we meet Malach, a put-upon demon unjustly kicked out of heaven, leaving his unfinished rock garden behind. Now he’s stuck in the Kingdom of Darkness, dealing with Nephilim, working for Moloch and having to put up with LARPing demons in UFOs. It’s a sad, sad life for a misplaced angel. To make himself feel better, he possesses random and forces them to tell his story to anyone who will listen. Including Tinder dates.
SC: Where did you get the idea to write about a demon seeking redemption?
RC: I am friends with an exorcist and she hooks me up with the juicy stuff. “Touched by an Angel” ain’t the way it works. Demons are here and they want to party before they hit the flames – except for Malach, who just wants to get back into Heaven. On his own terms, of course.
SC: The demon mentions portals between the physical and spiritual realms which are actually created by humans (e.g. blasphemy, sacrifices, sites where atrocities have taken place). Human souls can’t pass through the portal because they are tied to their physical bodies but entities from the spiritual realm are free to cross over. What does your exorcist friend report as the most likely avenues of possession?
RC: She’s told me that demons hang out where horrible things have taken place. Lunatic asylums, old human sacrifice sites, etc. If someone has a horrible event in their life, that can be a point where a demon jumps in and makes himself at home. If you’ve ever had the hair stand up on your arms when you’re walking through the DMV, you know the feeling.
SC: What can one do to help prevent interaction with demons?
RC: Don’t play around with the occult. Burning witches is always a good idea. Interacting with the spiritual realm is that it is like swimming in the ocean. You are out of your element, with no protection and do not knows what lurks beneath the surface. In fact, you are at the mercy of any shark that decides to come out of the depths and take a bite out of you. There are protections, of course, but don’t play in their field. I’ve seen a guy go from a quiet drunk to a ranting madman when I mentioned the name of Jesus Christ. It was like someone grabbed the strings of a puppet and spoke through his mouth. Even if you think you can deal with them and say the right things, if you’re not allied to the Kingdom of Light, they may strip you naked and beat you senseless.
SC: Let’s talk about the cover. I went on a trip recently and had the book loaded on my AMZN Fire device. When I went to read in the airport lounge or on the airplane I noticed a couple of funny looks when my seatmates would see the romance novel style of cover with the bare chested model on the front. Not sure if the cover is congruent with the story?
RC: Sexual insecurity is a sign of demon possession. Since God Hates Me is rather like CS Lewis meets Douglas Adams, The Supreme Dark Lord naturally decided to give it a lurid homoerotic romance cover. This represents three standard deviations of cover design conceptuality. It’s okay, though. My next book features a scantily clad female on the cover.
SC: Details, please, about your next book?
RC: My upcoming novel Vessel of Venus tells the story of a hopelessly gamma IT professional who discovers a cheesy sorcery app which grants him some strange abilities. He also has a genetic secret which makes him a person of great interest to ambassadors from the long-dead planet Venus. His quest to hone his occult powers and fight global warming as a Venusian ambassador turns into a trainwreck thanks to his possessed girlfriend and his own neuroticism. It’s like Alpha Game: The Novel, except with aliens. And a demonic locust named Timmy.
SC: Does Vessel of Venus tie into the God Hates Me story line?
RC: Somewhat. Both stories are in the same universe but the second story stands alone.
SC: I’m looking forward to it.
RC: It’s 666 times better than the first one. And the first one was damned good.
C: Why it is better?
RC: God Hates Me was my debut novel. Since writing it two years ago, I’ve been honing my pen on other writing projects and deliberately sharpening my writing skills by studying pulp authors as well as writing theory. I’ve easily written 500,000 words in between the time I wrote the first book and finished the second book. Readers will notice the difference. If you liked the first one, you’ll like this one even better.
Talking about writers, who do you read on a regular basis?
RC: On the non-fiction front, Dr. Michael Heiser’s theological writing was quite helpful. As for fiction, two years ago I read through all the works of Lovecraft. I also read the first two Tarzan novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Out loud, to my tank of poisonous toads. They weren’t sure about the anthropomorphic apes at first but still got into the story. G.D. Stark’s Wardog novels are a very good read, although he needs more demons. I also finished reading John C. Wright’s Count to A Trillion series recently – amazing concepts, which he carries over into Superluminary. I’m waiting expectantly for the second half of Vox’s A Sea of Skulls but have entertained myself during the wait by reading all the Arkhaven and Dark Legion comic book titles.
SC: Thanks for your time and good luck with the new release.