Through a ‘Bad Glass’ darkly: a short review

I don’t mind books/film/art that challenge my worldview. I welcome them in fact, as testing proves authenticity.

Wandering the shelves at B & N the other night, I picked up Richard E. Gropp’s BAD GLASS. I did my ‘Front/Back/First Five Pages test’ and went to the register. I can see why it won a Del Ray writing contest; it’s an unusual, well-written story.

Finished it last night and concluded it’s also a true, post-modern spec-fiction novel. Gropp’s solid writing captures damaged, confused characters struggling to make sense of bizarre, para-normal phenomenon in Spokane. More grotesque horror than sci-fi, there are no answers, there is no resolution, no stability – just a seeping dread at the loss of meaning and trust as even fundamental laws of physics decay.

The book is a challenge to status quo perspective – I’m fine with that – but the constant drug and alcohol abuse, an empty same-sex exchange, the creeping madness, joyless characters losing themselves and each other… I found to be simply tragic. If there is no meaning, no meta-narrative, all that’s left are ashes and tears. It’s a story about slow, inevitable despair at the frayed edge of reality, and the protag (and author) being an amateur photographer, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was a shap-shot of this generation’s take on metaphysics.

I’ve been accused of proselytizing in my fiction. Fair enough, I guess. I bring my ‘worldview’ with me where ever I go in the hope it will accurately reflect something of Jesus’ redemption. All I can say is ‘Bad Glass’ left me with a deep sorrow for the characters and the author.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
1 Cor. 13:12

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