Sunday evenings were a strange experience for me as a child.
On the positive side, it was the time when I got to read that week's issue of Marvel UK's weekly Planet of the Apes comic and eat a packet of Munchies - the only sweet I can think of that's exactly the same now as it was forty years ago, even including the wrapping.
On the downside, I always had to endure missing the first fifteen minutes of each episode of the Planet of the Apes TV show because we were forced to listen to a Radio 2 sitcom called The Family Brandon, starring sometime Radio 2 DJ Tony Brandon who seemed big on pretending to be comedy legend Tony Hancock. This affectation wasn't as bad as the nightmarish Radio 1 DJ Adrian Juste who notoriously used to edit Tony Hancock out of his own radio sketches and then insert himself in his place. An act on a par with drawing over the Mona Lisa with a crayoned sketch of Miley Cyrus.
Well, mere days ago, I made mention of the fact that, among all the one-off tales Marvel UK's Planet of the Apes comic printed, there were two that stuck out for me more than all others. One was He That Hath Wings, the tale of what happens when you're daft enough to chop your wings off in order to enhance your job prospects. Needless to say, I learned a valuable lesson from reading this tale and shall never again chop off any modes of transportation my body may possess, merely for crass profit.
In it, a bunch of astronauts scour planet after planet, trying to find evidence of the existence of God.
Instead, one by one, they get killed by the various monsters and nasties they encounter on each world.
But then, at last, they find signs of intelligent life, as they stumble across a world with an abandoned city on it.
And then, when yet another monster turns up, one of them shoots it...
...only to discover he's made a bit of a boo-boo and killed God, meaning the universe is now doomed as death oozes and spreads outwards from the deceased deity's wound.
Needless to say, any story that features God being killed is bound to stick in the mind, if only because you wonder how they ever got away with distributing that sort of thing in the more religious parts of the USA. Obviously, in Britain, where people generally kick up much less fuss about religion because we're too busy hitting each other outside nightclubs every weekend, it was never likely to be as controversial. But, all these years later, what do I the reader make of it?
Obviously, in terms of logic, there is the question of why God's living on a world full of monsters and can you really kill God with a ray gun? But it's probably best to sweep such obvious concerns under the carpet and just appreciate the sly, dark humour of the resolution.
PS. Thanks to those who expressed concern during this blog's short absence. I can confirm that it was a relatively minor problem and painlessly sorted out with a brief message to Google.
Keep Those Things Away From Me - Novel
1 year ago