The Dawning of Doom by Barry Hutchison

Barry Hutchison

To celebrate the release of his new novel, The Book of Doom, Barry Hutchison has decided to do a ‘Blog Swap’, instead of a traditional blog tour. So, while Barry is peddling talking about 😉 his new book over here. I’m over there trying to convince you to read another book entirely!*

* Not entirely true, I thought The Book of Doom was fantastic and is well worth reading!

The Book of Doom by Barry Hutchison

The Dawning of Doom

So… blog swapping, then. It’s the soon-to-be new big thing.

Probably. Today I’m here, when I’m normally there, and all very lovely it is, too.

The first rule of Blog Swapping is that there are no rules of Blog Swapping. The second rule is “no smoking” because it’s a filthy habit. You can write about anything you want on a Blog Swap, but being a capitalist pig-dog I thought I’d write a bit about my new book, The Book of Doom, which is dead proper funny an’ that, and part of the award-winning Afterworlds series. Award-winning, mind.

I remember the moment when the idea for The Book of Doom first occurred to me. I was seventeen years old – more years ago than I’d care to count – and was experiencing living in a city for the first time. Although the city in question – Aberdeen – isn’t exactly a massive metropolis by anyone’s standards, for a boy from the remote Highlands of Scotland it felt pretty massive indeed.

I was waiting for a friend of mine outside a shopping centre, milling about, minding my own business, watching the world go by. A man in his early thirties approached me, smiling so warmly that I assumed I must have known him from somewhere. I smiled back, and this was his signal to strike.

“Can I talk to you for a moment,” he asked, “about Jesus?”

Caught off guard, I was forced to resort to my default stance of being friendly and polite at all times. So I said, “OK.”

Now it was the man’s turn to be caught off guard. He looked surprised by this response. Shocked, even. It quickly became clear that he had never thought this far ahead. He stumbled over his words for a moment then said, “Oh. Right. Well… what would you like to know about him?”

Boom! The ball was back in my court, and he’d managed to wrong-foot me once again. I must’ve panicked, because I have no other way of explaining my response to his question.

“Everything,” I said.

There followed a lengthy conversation. Well, I say conversation, but I didn’t really do much of the talking. The man told me lots about Jesus, God, Heaven and Hell that day, and much of it immediately slipped straight back out of my head as 1% of my brain focused on nodding in the right places, while 99% tried frantically to figure out a way to get the hell out of there.

One thing stuck in my head, though.

“God knows everything,” the man told me. “He knows everything you’ve ever done and everything you’ve ever thought. More than that,” he explained, “he knows everything you’re ever going to do, and everything you’re ever going to think!”

I got a bit paranoid then and said, “What… just me?”

But the man told me that no, it wasn’t just me, it was everyone. God knows every thought and action of every living thing from the beginning of time until the end. He knows every cloud formation, every shift of every grain of desert sand, every crinkle of every leaf as it ages and dries in the sun of his creation.”

I remember thinking “how does he remember all that?”. And then I thought, if God’s anything like me (and he probably is), I bet he writes it down. Immediately an image of God writing everything in a big book popped into my head. He would call that book “The Book of Everything” I thought, and it would hold all the knowledge in all existence. It would be omniscience in paperback form.

And because it contained all the knowledge in existence, and because knowledge is power, the book would be the most powerful object in creation, and the enemies of Heaven would lust after it and desire it for their own. Were they to get their hands on the book that would spell disaster for us lot on Earth, hence the tome’s alternative title: The Book of Doom.

Of course, I didn’t tell the man that at the time. I eventually just feigned a nosebleed and ran away. But if I met him again today I’d shake him by the hand and thank him for that long, monotonous chat followed by that brief, brilliant moment of inspiration.

Then I’d look at my watch, pretend I had to be somewhere, and leg it before he kicked off again.