Dinosaurs! Gore! Jesus!…wait, what?

I’m soon going to tell you about a story about a dinosaur that wants to take over the world. Intrigued? You should read it then…

I first found out about the book Nevada through my favorite band Showbread. Their lead singer, Joshua Porter (more commonly known as Josh Dies), is a musical and literary hero of mine (the guy’s a genius when it comes to writing lyrics, if you ask me), so when I found out he had started writing novels, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy.

Nevada unfolds the apocalyptic story of America’s ensnarement by a large, talking reptile named Belial. Beginning with the bizarre discovery of a cave inhabited by dinosaurs in Nevada’s desert, Belial reveals himself to the public and sweet-talks his way into the people’s hearts by offering them an ear-tickling doctrine where self is god. Eventually, Belial’s popularity gains him the power to set up the “Trash of God” center in Los Angeles, a place for his faithful to swarm together, with the idea of utopia in mind. And many weird things happen (sorry I won’t spoil it).

While the “end times” theme of this story may come off as trite, Porter employs multiple techniques to keep this book interesting and shocking.

Porter’s narrative through multiple perspectives of numerous characters and “confiscated” pieces of media (like blog articles) gives the book diversity through each different voice through which the story is told. Porter successfully develops at least six distinct, first-person viewpoints through the characters of an adulterous wife, her angry husband, a mildly mentally disabled man, a womanizer, a frantic mother, and a man with anti-social personality disorder. I was fascinated to see how each person’s account worked together to build up the over-arching story.

Side note: Porter also throws in a large handful of celebrity names into the story—e.g. Ashton KutcherAnne Hathaway—writing them in as some of the first to come to Belial’s T.O.G center and help with his projects. I just never thought I would read a book that mentioned Ashlee Simpson. Anyhow…

I also loved Porter’s own writing style: raw, non-sugarcoated narrative with an ability to give extremely graphic descriptions in few words. Since most characters give first-person accounts, their emotions and thoughts are not vague in any way; you will learn what goes on in the heads of each character, including the womanizer and the anti-social man—such unambiguous thoughts are often as disturbing as interesting.

As the story begins with bizarre, it seems to grow increasingly dark, with increasing amounts of gory episodes—one in particular absolutely shocked me (although I should say the highest caliber of violence I’ve experienced is probably among 24 and Gladiator).  But this book is not just some off-the-wall, people-die-in-nasty-ways sort of novel; the spiritual undertones are hard to miss, and Porter never lets his stories end unredeemed.

Though so strange and harsh, beauty triumphs in the end, and, yes, I did cry a little in the end. The books I love tend to do that to me.

If Nevada’s story sounds interesting, you can read an interview of the author here, or buy a copy at Porter’s webstore here.

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You know what’s raw? A free album from SHOWBREAD

Sorry, Josh Dies, but I don’t think you have that phrase copyrighted yet. Besides, I think I’m allowed to use it since I’m going to talk about how your band Showbread is making a new album for FREE as a result of its new partnership with Come&Live! Records–because that’s truly raw.

Come&Live! is a non-profit organization that focuses on equipping musicians to be more missionary-esque, by using a charity-based income to offer free digital music. Here is a short video explaining their vision in a nutshell:

In March, Showbread announced a statement regarding their departure from Tooth & Nail records and their signing on with Come&Live!

“At this point in our lives as Showbread, we have decided to withdraw from many elements of the industry that have been a part of our band for years, sign with Come&Live! and trust God to provide ways for us to offer our music and our performances as free gifts in order to expand the scope of our ministry. By offering our music as a gift with no charge and embracing Christ’s call to give generously we will open our ministry to anyone and everyone who will take any note of it, not just those willing to pay for it. It is our hope to make Showbread more like the work of missionaries than the work of a professional rock and roll band.”

You can read their full statement on Showbread’s site here.

Well, sure, that’s cool, sounds like a good charity to donate to once in a while, free music is fun, yada-yada. Sounds pretty raw, I guess

Wait, I’m not finished yet! The deal here is, not long after they joined the Come&Live! family, Showbread decided to begin a fundraiser for their upcoming album, with the intent to raise enough money to be able to create the album for free, with all the studio charges covered by donations.

The project started in late May, with a deadline for August 14 to raise $13,000. Those interested in supporting the project were allowed to pledge money online, on a site called Kickstarter, with the option of choosing a gift according to the amount pledged (for example, $20 would get a special signed CD/DVD).

Eight days later, the full amount had already been funded…and after the full 90 days had elapsed, the grand total of donations amounted to $33, 322. Now that’s what I call raw.

Personally, I was completely amazed at how God not only matched the band’s goal, but completely surpassed it even when no one could tell if the project had any chance of success. Needless to say, the Showbread guys were pretty excited too: