Category Archives: Book Reviews

‘Jules Verne vs. Stephen King’ (2013)

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I know some of you don’t like Jules Verne, but I do. His 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea captivated me as a little boy and continues to be one of my all-time favorite novels.

I thought Stephen King was great, too, back in the 1970s. But I find it a trial to read him now. What’s the difference between these two authors?

https://leeduigon.com/2013/09/07/jules-verne-vs-stephen-king/

I do get awful tired of Stephen King’s “the college guy is the real man–not those blue-collar oafs” schtick. Whatever made him put that into every book he ever wrote, like, dude–I don’t care.


I Got My Start with a Vampire Story

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This was my first published novel, Lifeblood, vintage 1988. Heidi asked how I made the jump from horror to Christian novels.

Well, first off, it took 20 years. There was a horror boom in the 1980s, and I was part of it. When it turned into a horror bust in the 1990s, I was part of that, too. I wrote a lot of books after that, but none ever got published. It really wasn’t looking like I would ever be published again.

I had four horror novels published. I wrote them in hopes of becoming rich and famous, for my own aggrandizement. Serving God never crossed my mind.

In a radio interview a few years ago, Kevin Swanson asked me, “So what woke you up?” And I answered, “Believe it or not, Bill Clinton! Suddenly we had a president doing sex with an intern in the Oval Office, going all Charlie High school smart guy on us by saying ‘It depends on what is is,’ and getting away with it–and all these people saying ‘Oh, it’s only sex, and lying about sex, and everybody does it, no big deal.'”  It became obvious that our culture had slipped a few big notches downward while I wasn’t looking. Did I want to live in a country where it really was okay for the president to be doing interns in the Oval Office? I could hardly recognize it as the America that was supposed to be my home.

Fear sent me running back to the Bible, back to prayer. I started writing quasi-journalistic pieces for several Christian, pro-family organizations and eventually caught on with the Chalcedon Foundation (and I’m happy to say I’m still there!).

Chalcedon publishes books on theology; but a few years ago, someone wondered if it might not be a good idea if we published a novel or two. And my editor, Susan, said, “But we already have a novelist!” Meaning me.

And it just so happened that I had only recently had a dream featuring a high mountain with the sound of a bell somewhere in the air. It was a very haunting image, and it became the seed of Bell Mountain.

God keeps giving me these novels to write in His service–twelve of them, so far. As long as He keeps giving them, I’ll keep writing them. This is the work I love best, and may it be fruitful to Christ’s Kingdom.


A Wasted Opportunity

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“Thomas Locke” is Bunn’s pseudonymn.

So you’ve got an already-successful Christian author with a large fan base, writing in a popular genre with a wide readership, and a major publisher to produce and market the book–golden opportunity, right? An opportunity to win ground in the culture for Christ’s Kingdom.

Wrong. Instead, all these resources came together to make, well, a bunch of nothing.

https://chalcedon.edu/resources/articles/review-of-christian-novel-emissary

T. Davis Bunn had all this going for him when he set out to write his first fantasy novel, Emissary, three years ago. So he decided to write a “completely mainstream, totally secular” fantasy novel–that is, he cobbled together a thorough collection of fantasy cliches: and the big huge Christian publisher, Zondervan, published it.

Waste, waste, waste.

 


‘New Fantasy by Y.B. Sane Already Rated Best of 21st Century’ (2015)

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You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to satirize certain aspects of today’s pop culture. The problem is, it keeps satirizing itself. No wonder one of my readers, for a moment there, thought this was a real book.

https://leeduigon.com/2015/02/05/new-fantasy-by-y-b-sane-already-rated-best-of-21st-century/

Come to think of it, I didn’t have to stretch a lot of real fantasy novels very far to come up with this monstrosity.


Stand Up and Cheer for ‘Nicholas’

As promised, here’s my book review of Nicholas by Michael J. Scott.

https://chalcedon.edu/resources/articles/book-review-of-nicholas-by-michael-j-scott

This might be the most satisfying book I’ve read all year (not counting old favorites that I read again and again). It’s Christian and Biblical through and through, and would make a great Christmas present for someone you love–or even a present to yourself.

But what am I sitting here gassing about? Click the review!


And Now, Another One…

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What have I done, to deserve all these invitations to review preposterous and sleazy romance novels?

Today I’ve been invited to review “a sensual and supernatural journey” featuring a torrid romance between a “dragon king” who is, inevitably, “darkly handsome,” and a “beautiful and mysterious woman”–they’re all mysterious, in more ways than one–with the loopy name of “Arianrhod Deatherage.” Says the perky publicist, who obviously has an abysmally low opinion of my literary taste, “Happily-Ever-After Meets Modern Empowerment in a Steamy New Paranormal Romance.” Lemmeouttahere.

I wonder what effect it has on the brain, to consume vast quantities of books like this. What does their very existence say about our culture?

Nothing good!

Violet Crepuscular come back, all is forgiven.


‘Another Red-Hot Sex Book for Me not to Review’ (2015)

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I don’t know what publicists must think of me. They’re always inviting me to review books that might give you a disease if you handled them. Here’s one from three years ago.

https://leeduigon.com/2015/10/15/another-red-hot-sex-book-for-me-not-to-review/

I bring it up again because its formula seems to foreshadow the #MeToo movement, delivering a weird mixed message of unbridled sexual acting-out with the most severe consequences if anyone complains. Talk about a divided heart!

Pornography has been with us for thousands of years, but it doesn’t come in a plain brown wrapper anymore.


My ‘Bell Mountain’ Interview

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It was eight years ago, but I think this is still the best interview I’ve had–largely due to the thoughtful questions asked by Chalcedon’s Andrea Schwartz. Here’s the audio for the whole thing, about 23 minutes long. I apologize, in advance, for my slow way of talking. As for my voice, it’s ideally suited for mime.

https://chalcedon.edu/resources/audio/lee-duigon-bell-mountain-notable-people

At the time, I had three Bell Mountain books in print, with No. 4, The Last Banquet, ready to go to press. Here in 2018, I’m waiting for No. 11, The Temptation, to come out, and writing No. 12, His Mercy Endureth Forever. 

How many more to come?

As many as God gives me to write.


I Am So Sick(!) of Buxom Wenches…

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I’ve just received my copy of Visions of Light and Shadow by our esteemed colleague, Allison Reid (we know her here as “Weavingword”), Book No. 3 of her Wind Rider Chronicles. I’m looking forward to reading it as soon as I catch up on some other assignments. I know it’ll be good–in fact, a good book to read in bed.

One of the things I love about her books is that Allison has female protagonists who don’t conform to fantasy cliches, but instead are kind of normal people, albeit interesting ones,  who happen to be caught up in extraordinary events. This helps me to believe in the story as I’m reading it.

The fantasy genre–these books are fantasy novels–is smothered in cliches. For an art form that leans so heavily on the imagination, these toweringly unimaginative touches constitute literary crimes. The genre is notably poverty-stricken in its cast of female characters.

I can’t decide which female fantasy cliche I detest the most–The Invincible Female Warrior or The Buxom Tavern Wench. Their presence in so many fantasy novels is almost mandatory. From the moment each is introduced, you know exactly, down the most minute detail, what she is going to say or do in any situation–because you’ve already seen it hundreds of times before. They tend to form tag-teams with the male cliches, like The Thief With A Heart Of Gold or The Brawling Lusty Barbarian Warrior Who Can Drink Any Norse God Under The Freakin’ Table. These are not the only trite and overdone characters in fantasy, not by a long shot–The Know-It-All Fantastically Handsome Elf springs to mind–but it’s a rare story which doesn’t stifle the reader’s imagination with these.

Anyway, Allison’s books are all available in paperback now; and if you enjoy fantasy but hate cliches, try ’em, you’ll like ’em.


More Left-Wing Pseudo-Christianity

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Back in 2006 I reviewed socialist Jim Wallis’ The Call to Conversion. It’s as revolting now as it was then.

https://chalcedon.edu/magazine/a-review-of-the-call-to-conversion-why-faith-is-always-personal-but-never-private

Wallis was much more prominent in 2006 than he is now. Back then, he still clung, however feebly, to Biblical sexual morality. But after he took the plunge for “gay marriage,” that made him just another liberal with no distinguishing marks; so his stock as an oracle has gone down.

This little book of his is a spectacular example of the leftids’ use of straw men in an argument. Wallis has a black belt in the martial art of knocking down opinions that no one actually holds.

False prophets abound. This is one of them.


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