Last God Standing by Michael Boatman

Last God Standing - Michael Boatman

After presiding over humanity for over 2000 years, God has decided to abdicate and live as a human. No, this isn't like when Jesus was born of a virgin; this time his only motive is to simply let humanity get on with it. With Yahweh out of the way, humanity's now lesser deities like Zeus want to step into his shoes and become powerful again.  The battle lines are drawn and now God, stuck in the body of Lando Calrissian (yes, that Lando Calrissian from Star Wars) Darnell Cooper has a war on his hands that he might no longer have the ability to fight.

Last God Standing has a very interesting concept. With all of the horrors in recent history it is hard for some to believe that there is an all knowing being up in the sky directing the hot mess we currently live in.  From the concentration camps, to natural disasters, global warming, environmental decay and income inequality, even the most optimistic amongst us has to believe that humanity is in trouble.  As far as a premise goes, Michael Boatman picked a winner.  Unfortunately, that is the last good thing I can say about Last God Standing.

At times, Last God Standing made absolutely no sense whatsoever.  The entire plot was incredibly rushed and even with that, I found myself struggling to get to the end.  At about the 1/3 I sincerely considered DNFing this book for it's sheer incomprehensibility.  The characters had absolutely no development and felt like cartoons rather than representatives of real people.  Last God Standing is little more than a long winded joke, which when finally coming to end, has no damn punch line.  My deepest regret is that I will never retrieve the hours I invested reading this story hoping that it would at some point live up to its premise.

Not only is Last God Standing poorly written, it is offensive on almost every level you can think of.  It quickly became a written guide to homophobia with f@g appearing constantly without any indication that such hate speech is problematic. When the word gay was not being used as a pejorative, it was operationalized as the punchline of many jokes. Last God Standing heavily implied that real men most certainly were not gay or effeminate. In one passage, Herb refers to gay as a "lifestyle", something that irresponsible men of colour are free to engage in like the "White Man's children," now that African-Americans have made some civil rights gains.  For almost the entirety of this novel, there were no GLBT characters, that is until "Barbara declared herself a "Happy Lesbian," sold her taverns and moved to the Pacific Northwest with her therapist to open a rehabilitation facility."  Boatman filled his novel with homophobia and no GLBT characters until page 300, as though this could somehow redeem the problematic language he engaged in throughout the book.  Just no. No. No. With passages like the following, there can be no doubt that Boatman means his homophobia to pass as comedy.

“It’s OK,” I said. “No reason to be embarrassed.”“Embarrassed? You think I’m effeminate, don’t you, Lando? That it? You think McFarlane’s a big flamer?”I laughed. McFarlane didn’t. He glared at me, his steel gray eyes suddenly as cold as a frost giant’s netherhole.“Are you calling me a fag, Lando?”“No!”McFarlane’s face turned orange, then bright red. Then he punched me in the stomach.

You would think that because Boatman is a Black man that Last God Standing would at least not be racially insensitive, but you would be wrong. Lando is constantly told to get his hair cut because he looks like a "spear chucker." Of course his afro looks unkept, everyone knows that natural hair cannot possibly look good /snark. When Lando isn't being called a "spear chucker", he is being called a "bush baby" and this is all supposed to be comedy.  I understand people wanting to reclaim words to steal power from the oppressor but this is all about turning these offensive comments into comedy, as though there is no historical pain associated with them.



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