Book Review:  The Postmodern Pilgrim’s Progress

“The Postmodern Pilgrim’s Progress” is a great Christian allegory, in the tradition of Narnia, Lord of the Rings and Pilgrim’s Progress.

This is a very entertaining and worthwhile read.  It has a meaningful message that is delivered through a dramatic story, sparkling with mirth.  The title correctly suggests that it’s related to the most-loved and most-read book in Christianity (besides the Bible), “(The) Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyan.  “The Postmodern Pilgrim’s Progress” does walk down the same path, but it is not a cut-and-paste word substitution from the original book.  It is a new book inspired by the classic.  It stands on its own while honoring the Bunyan masterpiece.  The authors (Kyle Mann and Joel Berry) are the creative minds behind “The Babylon Bee” so don’t be surprised by the vivid and humorous delivery of some very serious points.

The fictional protagonists deal with the problems faced by Christian pilgrims in our era.  In the 350+ years since Bunyan, there have been many scientific and social developments.  These often distract the pilgrims of today.  But the underlying question is still the same:  how can a mere human (burdened by a sin nature and surrounded by temptations and tempters) find his way to the supreme and loving God (and to the rewards that God has promised)?

Read the tale of a modern young man who is appointed unexpectedly to take this journey.  He meets some friends and helpers and even more foes and dangers.  It starts well and builds to a strong conclusion.  The book includes many well-chosen quotations from our time and features a narrator whose humorous perspectives have a style somewhat like that of C.S. Lewis in “The Screwtape Letters.”  Enjoy the book, but pause periodically to think about what you’ve just read.

I recommend that you buy and read this book.  Share it with a friend.  Then read the work by John Bunyan (the 2014 Aneko Press edition is reader-friendly and also includes the story of Christian’s wife Christiana).  If you read both books, you will see how they complement each other.  Reading one of them will help you appreciate the other book even more.

What is Truth?

“What is truth?”  Those infamous words came from the mouth of Pilate (the Roman governor), captured in the Gospel of John.  Though Pilate’s ears had heard the truth, his mind and soul wouldn’t accept it.  He feared the mobs and Caesar rather than God, so he assigned Jesus over for flogging, cruel abuse and death by crucifixion (see John 18:28 through 19:16).  Though Satan thought this was a moment of victory, he was wrong.  The Truth, the Light and the Way rose from the grave and now sits by God the Father.  The Bible already records (in prophecy) the future history of our world:  Jesus is coming again and this time He comes as King and Judge.

The nearness of His second coming is evidenced by the symptoms of our times.  Politicians and their stooges in media (actually, maybe both groups are “stooges”) regularly spew lies and insist them to be truths.  When they are caught in a lie, they whisper “misspoke” and “old news, let’s move on.”

Once upon a time (in a previous century), I worked as a financial auditor.  This position required specific education, training and supervision.  Auditors were required to be independent in thought- not biased for or against the company under audit.  We would independently examine the records of companies and seek corroborative evidence that the company’s financial statements presented the truth.  Before expressing our opinion, we did a great deal of work.  Our mantra was “tick, tie and verify.”  Professional standards dictated how we performed audits and how we would share our opinion on the results of the audit.

Now we have folks in the media and big tech who are self-proclaimed “fact-checkers.”  Sadly, most of these folks don’t actually check “facts,” they merely compare public actions and communications to their personal views and to the dogma provided by their (mostly leftist) overlords.  If it does not conform to their distorted view of reality, it gets flagged as not true, or cancelled completely by some media channel.  If they were to be honest, their title would be “Dogma-checkers” and they would flag things as either “Dogma correct” or “Anti-Dogma” (and the anti-dogma would not be censored).

This corruption of “Truth” is a central theme in the novel “The Great New Deal.”  Chapter 3 bears the title “What is Truth?”  It introduces a new media company formed from the current media giants.  The company is based in “Truth Tower” and has the motto “Trust Us, It’s True.”  But some people can see that the emperor has no clothes.  Chapter 9 is titled “The Truth Detector.”  A 12-year-old boy sees through all their nonsense and recognizes real truth when he finds it.

Are you still wondering “what is truth?”  The Bible says plenty on that subject.  Try Psalm 15 for a start:

“Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?  Who may live on your holy mountain?  The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others; who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the Lord; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind; who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.  Whoever does these things will never be shaken.”  (NIV)

That’s a tall order.  You can’t do it on your own.  If you’ve accepted Jesus as your savior, the Holy Spirit will help you as you exercise your faith and work toward sanctification.

Sonic Boom (an entertaining new video drawn from The Great New Deal)

Sonic Boom (Life imitates Art and Parody becomes Reality)

This new video (available at YouTube, see the link below) presents scenes from the audiobook edition of the novel The Great New Deal.  Images have been added for dramatic effect in this 8-minute video.

This portion of the novel was written in 2020 as parody and fiction.  However, it may seem like something you have seen during recent television news broadcasts- a bewildered president is manipulated by someone behind the scenes and led around by handlers.  A compliant news media provides cover and the newly formed government “fact check” bureaucracy joins in the effort.

Earlier chapters of the novel describe the disappearance of millions of Americans in the twinkling of an eye.  A special federal commission identified the factors that produced this catastrophe, which was compounded by the social unrest and economic disruption that followed.  A recovery plan was developed by the President, Vice President and Congressional leadership, which the President named “Operation Sonic Boom.”  This video presents the first live presidential press conference after these events.

The video includes an “Easter Egg” tribute to the departed comedic genius, Peter Sellers, with nods to an early Sellers movie (“The Mouse that Roared”) and to one of his last (“Being There”).

The complete Audiobook (5 hours and 47 minutes) is available for purchase from Amazon and Audible.  The Great New Deal is also available for purchase from Amazon in Kindle and printed 259-page editions.

The novel provides a (not quite) fictional preview of future history.  This future period may not be as soon as tomorrow, this week or even this month.  Then again, maybe it will be.  The novel employs parody and humor to expose dark political and cultural forces that threaten America.  It connects the events of today to prophecy in the Bible.  Which side will you choose in this great spiritual war?

For more information about the book and audiobook, visit the author’s website www.markctredecim.com. To view the video production of Sonic Boom at YouTube, follow the link below.

It’s A Puzzlement:  Parody or History?

Is it Science Fiction or is it Historical Fiction?

When you create a book or other media, you are asked to choose the category and sub-categories in which your work should be listed (e.g., for purposes of marketing and library catalogues).  Typically, you must choose from a listing of available categories.  And sometimes those provided on the list don’t fit your work.

When I published “The Great New Deal” in early 2021, I faced that dilemma.  The available categories didn’t fit perfectly.  After more than a year of the Biden presidency, the dilemma is even greater.  Though “The Great New Deal” does not specifically reference this administration or this year of 2022, the fictional tale and current reality seem to be converging daily.

Science Fiction uses a fictional narrative to depict things in the future, something the author thinks could occur based on current scientific knowledge or hypotheses.  The books by Andy Weir (“The Martian” and “Project Hail Mary”) and William R. Forstchen are great examples of this genre.

Historical Fiction (not to be confused with alternative history) takes historical events and uses a fictional narrative to provide more “behind the scenes” details (often based on scholarly research) and tell an interesting story.  Many books by C.J. Sansom and Jeff Shaara fall in this genre.

Things that were written in late 2020 (often, before the 2020 election) and early 2021 as fictional parody are coming true.  It seems that my novel is moving from Science Fiction to Historical Fiction.  Allow me to name a few examples.

First, the loss of trust in our public health agencies, parodied in chapters 6 and 7.  The constant gaffes and handler intervention at presidential appearances, parodied in chapter 8.  The battle between censors and free speech, depicted in many chapters (the new “DHS Disinformation Board” sounds a lot like the “Public Safety Fact Check Board” in my novel).  A final example: the current struggling economy and inflation created by massive unfunded government spending and other bad policies sounds a lot like the Existential Crisis which the fictional politicians try to solve in the novel, as parodied in chapter 15.

There are more I could mention, but you’ll have to read “The Great New Deal” and look for them yourself.  As I published this book, I anticipated this administration would likely take us down a foolish path, which is why the novel’s subtitle reads “A (not quite) fictional preview of future history.”

This should lead one to wonder, what’s next?  It seems that some powerful people are using my novel as a play book, unfortunately.  But I’m confident in how this all will end- that’s already recorded in the Bible’s End Times prophecies, which are also described in “The Great New Deal.”  I look forward to seeing those become our reality, too.  “Amen. Come Lord Jesus!” (Rev 22:20)

Laptop from Hell (a book review)

“Laptop from Hell” is a 207-page book from Miranda Devine, a genuine investigative reporter.  I am providing this book review so that you are forewarned- this fact-based book may trigger your gag reflex or your righteous anger.

It presents information taken from the abandoned Hunter Biden laptop.  The book collates and connects the information from the many emails, messages and documents contained in the laptop.  It adds information from other sources to provide corroboration and context.

This is the information you should have seen before the 2020 election, when this scandal was revealed by the New York Post newspaper.  Some of this information is now being exposed more widely into public view.  But the laptop contents were blocked from public view before the 2020 election in a massive cover-up engineered by the hydra of big tech, big media, big finance and big government.  Later chapters in the book describe the cover-up.

The book documents the smarmy, dissolute life of Hunter Biden, spending many thousands of dollars daily on drugs, hookers and luxury hotels.  It tells of the destruction he has wreaked upon his wives, children and girlfriends.  It documents his shady dealings with bad actors and tyrannical regimes from Russia, Red China, Ukraine and elsewhere.  Hunter needs big money to support his lifestyle but has no marketable skills.  Instead, he has the “Biden family business” to support him- influence peddling (as described in the book).

All of this is made possible, even promoted, by his father and his father’s government position.  The book makes a strong case that his father (President Joe Biden) was involved in some of these ventures and in string-pulling, despite Joe’s repeated denials.  This raises numerous questions.  E.G., does President Biden have conflicts of interests that endanger American national interests?  Has he financially benefitted from these dealings?  Is he vulnerable to blackmail from foes of America?  Could this explain some of his questionable actions while serving as vice-president or president?

“Laptop from Hell” demonstrates what a truly independent investigative reporter can (should) accomplish- expose corruption to public view.  Kudos to Ms. Devine and to the New York Post!  Unfortunately, such real reporting is rare and the hydra seems to keep growing.  Another excellent work of investigative reporting is the book “Profiles in Corruption” by Peter Schweizer.  Read that book for more disclosures regarding the “Biden family business.”

Two quibbles with “Laptop from Hell:”

1.  There are lots of entities involved in the Biden business dealings.  Their ownership, structures and relationships are elusive and shifty, interwoven in complicated ways.  The book would benefit from charts laying all this out.  Hopefully, forensic auditors and criminal investigators are doing that now.  Reportedly some federal investigation is underway, but will it again be swept under the carpet?

2.  The title “Laptop from Hell” is colorful but backwards.  Evil does not come from Hell (it’s not a point of origin).  Hell is a destination for evil and for unrepentant evil-doers (it’s a one-way trip and no laptops are available there). 

“Laptop from Hell” is worthwhile reading for American citizens who care about their country.  But be warned that the world of the Bidens is a disgusting place. Drug addiction and dementia are not acceptable excuses for such betrayals of the American people.

The Deluxe Interstellar Edition is Now Available for Your Enjoyment

Thanks for your patience! I am pleased to announce that The Deluxe Interstellar Edition of “Epilogue for Project Hail Mary” is now available at YouTube on the Mark Tredecim channel. Follow this convenient link to enjoy this video production: YouTube Video

“In the 50th year of the Millennial Kingdom, a faint radio signal reached Earth.  It originated from a special transmitting platform situated outside the heliosphere of the 40 Eridani triple star system.  The signal was highly focused and greatly amplified.  It had been aimed at the anticipated future position of the Earth, considering the signal’s travel time from the platform to Earth.”

Those are the opening words from my short story “Epilogue for Project Hail Mary.”  The short story accompanies my review of the excellent science fiction novel by Andy Weir, “Project Hail Mary” (the total essay comprises 20 pages).

The 39-minute video adaptation of the essay (the book review and the short story) is available free at my YouTube channel.  It was narrated by David de Berg (who also did the excellent narration for the audiobook edition of my novel “The Great New Deal”).  The video includes illustrations by the author.

The great hymn “How Great Thou Art” was written and composed by Stuart K. Hine.  The hymn has a key role within the short story.  The video also features a fine performance of this hymn on guitar and harmonica by Patrice Parker.

You also can enjoy the “Epilogue for Project Hail Mary” essay in printed and audio (mp3) versions and as a Kindle Vella short story. All of these are available free. Visit the Epilogue page in my website for more information: Epilogue webpage

I hope you enjoy this essay! But remember to read the novel by Andy Weir first.

Free Videos from Mark Tredecim- for your enjoyment and edification

It’s good to keep the gray cells exercised by learning something new.  It’s also gratifying when that mental exercise results in a work product that others find interesting, entertaining and beneficial.

That’s been my experience in the past year, thanks to my novel The Great New Deal.  Though I’ve done a lot of non-fiction writing in my business career, it was a new challenge to create a novel.  Especially a novel combining an entertaining fictional narrative, honest political commentary, and Bible-based teaching.  Then came the experience of publishing and marketing the book.  This was followed by the production and marketing of an audiobook edition.  Lots of learning and I’ve made some new friends in the process (people living far away, that I likely won’t meet in person this side of heaven).

My newest venture- creating short videos for internet distribution (currently through YouTube).  My focus continues to be the “Three E’s” of entertain, educate and evangelize.  I’m not monetizing (making money) from these videos and I don’t endorse any products offered in the commercial videos that you might see online.  But I do hope that my videos will introduce new readers/buyers to my writings (Kindle, printed books and audiobooks).

Thus far, I’ve produced three short videos, all available free at YouTube:

“Prologue to The Great New Deal”  — Dramatizes the Prologue and Foreword from the audiobook edition of the novel.

“Far from Shangri-La” — Dramatizes a slightly-abridged chapter 20 from the audiobook edition of The Great New Deal.

“Jesus Loves All the Children in the World” — A simple but profound truth, adapting the popular classic song “Jesus Loves the Little Children” by C.H Woolston and G.F. Root.

I hope you will enjoy these videos.  If so, please give them a “like” at YouTube and share them with friends.  If you subscribe to my YouTube channel, future videos will be available at your fingertips.

You can access my channel at YouTube by entering “Mark Tredecim” in the YouTube search box or by following the convenient link provided below.

Mark Tredecim – YouTube

Video dramatizes the Prologue of “The Great New Deal”

This week I have published a new video called “Prologue to The Great New Deal,” using the audiobook version of the Prologue and Foreword from The Great New Deal and adding dramatic images.  I hope that you will enjoy it and that it will lead you to read or re-read the printed and audiobook editions of the novel.  A convenient link to the video is provided below.  It’s on the “Mark Tredecim channel” at YouTube (I invite you to subscribe to this channel).

Authors use prologues to set the stage for a book.  The prologue to my novel looks back to the dark days of 1939, when the whole world was staggering under the Great Depression.  Japan’s brutal war in China was continuing.  The fascist nations of Germany and Italy and the Communist Soviet Union were oppressing their populations, absorbing their neighbors and threatening to bring war to Europe, Asia and North Africa.

A new American movie, “The Wizard of Oz” provided moments of joy and inspiration during those dark days of 1939.  The Prologue honors this great movie and its colorful characters.  Then it leaps forward 80-some years to another era of struggle, conflict and danger (the period in which the novel unfolds).  In this era, Progressives have gained total control of government and the media.  They blame all problems on Covid, conservatives and Christians but can’t solve the many challenges facing America after multiple catastrophic events.  Crime is rampant, the economy is collapsing, and foreign enemies and plagues threaten America.  Government overreach and tyranny are growing.  But God is still in charge and ordinary Americans are learning the truth: the great battle called the Day of the Lord has begun.  Have faith not fear, God’s still in charge!

The novel provides a (not quite) fictional preview of future history.  This future period may not be as soon as tomorrow, this week or even this month.  Then again, maybe it will be.  The novel employs parody and humor to expose dark political and cultural forces that threaten America.  It connects the events of today to prophecy in the Bible.  Which side will you choose in this great spiritual war?

Convenient link to the video “Prologue to the Great New Deal.”

Special video preview:  “Far from Shangri-La.”

I greatly enjoyed working with David de Berg to create the audio version of The Great New Deal (released in December 2021).  Audiobooks are a great way to enjoy a book, especially while you are “on the go.”  To introduce more people to this audiobook, I’ve created a 10-minute YouTube video from one of the chapters in the audiobook.  It’s titled “Far from Shangri-La.”  For additional dramatic effect (and to accentuate the parody), this has been enhanced with illustrations.

As I created this video, I was reminded of how life can imitate art.  So many things that I wrote (in late 2020 and very early 2021) in The Great New Deal as fictional parody have become reality in the past thirteen months, or seem to be looming on the near horizon.

You can find this video under the “Mark Tredecim” channel at YouTube.  A helpful link is provided below.

Operation Sonic Boom!

In my novel, “The Great New Deal,” the President announces a recovery plan to address the impact of a cataclysmic event called “The Great Surprise.” That event has nothing to do with any pandemic (though the usual “experts” claim otherwise). The recovery plan is called “Operation Sonic Boom.” Sounds impressive, right? It’s a safe bet that most of the media would say so. But sonic booms are just a big noise, associated with the shock waves created when an object (such as an aircraft or meteor) travels through the air faster than the speed of sound.

The big noise of a sonic boom temporarily gets a lot of attention, but it doesn’t actually produce any benefit or accomplish anything. It may even cause some damage (such as broken windows). Thus, it perfectly described the plan promulgated by the fictional President in the novel. As life imitates art, it might also be the perfect metaphor for the current administration’s plans and accomplishments.