The notion that the human race has grown more powerful than its gods is an interesting theme. I wish that Slade had chosen to explore that instead of churning out a badly written piece of masturbatory warporn. Armageddon is poorly written from a technical perspective. Slade utterly fails to inject any sense of drama in his story or build up any tension (that is partly attributable to the premise). Furthermore, the characters are flat and fail to be anything other than devices to convey the plot. Add in shoddy dialogue that fails to distinguish the characters and the problem becomes clear: the author’s grasp of the craft of fiction is comparable to that of a marginally talented fanfic writer. I occasionally see the “documentary” defense in response to criticism about the failures of basic craft. This doesn’t hold water; the foremost concern of a work of fiction is to be interesting and compelling. Realistic technoporn and diamond-hard science are gimmicks, and do not make up for bad writing. While there are clearly people who enjoyed Armageddon as written, it is quite likely that people who would have enjoyed the story’s technical accuracy and action were turned off by the poor craftsmanship. The “Fuck God Dead!” theme has been done numerous times, and I feel confident saying that Armageddon is not an exemplar of the genre. The premise that God is evil and colluding with Satan is not masturbatory. The premise that the legions of hell would get steamrollered by modern warfighting technology and tactics is not masturbatory. I have little doubt that a bronze age army, no matter how massive in scale, would get massacred by modern forces. What I find masturbatory is that Slade felt it appropriate to take these premises turn them into a novel of epic proportions. There is perhaps enough material here for a novella; if the story had ended with the defeat of the initial demonic incursions the premises might have worked. As is, anyone not interested in miltech porn or a cack-handed treatment of religion gets to slog through a book where it is clear from the beginning that the protagonists will win handily. While we could infer their victory from our meta-knowledge of literature, a decent piece of writing allows the reader to suspend that knowledge and ride along with the heroes’ struggles and imagine that they might fail or suffer for their victory.
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