“Hey kids! Doomguy here. We talk a lot about ripping and tearing in this action-packed computer game, but what I really want to rip and tear are your secular prejudices, to make room for the wisdom of the Church of Latter-Day Saints!”
That passage doesn’t actually appear anywhere in the 1995 novel DOOM: Hell on Earth by Dafydd ab Hugh and Brad Linaweaver. But it should be plastered on the cover like a Surgeon General’s Warning. It should be stenciled all over a bulletproof layer of shrink wrap that fully encases this grimy sci-fi paperback like the heat shield on a space shuttle. This book should come with an exit interview by a CIA deprogrammer.
You stalwart HOTDOGGERS may remember that a few months back, I spent entirely too much time picking apart the first book in the DOOM series, which took the popular video game DOOM – an action shooter about a space marine’s violent wind sprint through the armies of Christian Hell – and deleted every word from that description except for “Christian.” The authors boldly transformed the game’s mute protagonist Doomguy, a relentless engine of gratuitous destruction, into Flynn “Fly” Taggart, a repressed ghoul who seamlessly weaves alarming tirades about religion and the military together with ham-handed anti-drug messages that would embarrass McGruff the Crime Dog. He does this while nursing excruciating erections about every single female he encounters, including the dead ones. However, the primary target of his silent turgidity is his BFF and squad mate Arlene Sanders. At least twice every chapter he struggles with the concept of being friends with a woman, a paradox that thunderously confounds him at every turn. He is neither the hero we needed, nor the one we deserved. But he was the one foisted upon every unsuspecting DOOM fan who picked up these books thinking they’d be fun sci-fi horror adventures.
I won’t recap every weirdly Christian moment or uncomfortable burst of sexual frustration from the first novel, Knee Deep in the Dead, because I already did that, and that’s what the internet is for. Suffice to say that the book lays the groundwork for transforming DOOM into something closer to Kirk Cameron’s The Road Warrior than the gonzo heavy metal bone circus that is the video game.
So, when I kicked in Brockway and Seanbaby’s door and threw my badge and gun into their faces, screaming, “Kick me off the force if you must, but I’m going through the rest of these books and there’s not a goddamned thing you can do about it,” I thought I knew what to expect. (Please note that if “Fly” Taggart had been present, he would have immediately chastised me for my blasphemy.)
But what I didn’t expect – what I could not know – is that the second DOOM novel is a fully unmasked tome of Mormon propaganda. Specifically, a Christo-fascist apocalypse fantasy that dabbles in right wing conspiracy theories and white supremacist talking points. In other words, it’s a page-turner in the worst possible application of that phrase. Where Knee Deep in the Dead was a cheap sci-fi horror novel full of PG-13 horniness and confusing diatribes about Catholic school and whether it is immoral to inject yourself with liquid cocaine to kill scores of monsters more successfully, Hell on Earth is 230 pages of patronizing monologues defending the Mormon church. Occasionally, a monster shows up.
I cannot stress this enough – most of this book is entirely devoted to Mormonism; more specifically, to attempts at convincing the reader that Mormonism is the coolest. It has the exact energy of a youth pastor spinning a chair around backwards to sit down and tell you about how Christ was the original MC. MC JC, probably. This book has real rappin’ Jesus vibes, is my point.
Fly and Arlene crash-land on Earth after the events of the first novel to find the planet overrun by demons that aren’t actually demons but are really aliens pretending to be demons, because that way the authors won’t get in trouble with their parents. The two marines make their way to the Mormon stronghold of Salt Lake City. There, they team up with a sniper named Albert who engages Fly and Arlene in at least fifteen theological debates every chapter; and a fourteen-year-old computer hacker named Jill, who Fly simply cannot wait to fuck. I wish that was a joke. I truly do.
The four are sent on a mission to Los Angeles to do some fucking thing, deactivate a shield I think, so they can escape to Hawaii and do some other fucking thing. Listen, I tried to follow the plot, but the book devotes about ten percent to the actual events of the story and ninety percent to delivering an entry-level course on the core tenets of the Mormon church. They get to LAX and manage to steal a plane, but are forced to separate, leaving Albert and Jill skybound for Hawaii, and Fly and Arlene on the ground trying to figure out what to do next.
It sounds like a bad story that sucks, because it is, and it does. Not even the authors were terribly concerned with the plot. I know this because Fly and Arlene do nothing but quiz each other about the Mormon church for the first sixty pages.
It goes on…
“You see, Fly, after learning everything I could about Mormonism, I became convinced it was bad. And my prejudice is the real problem.”
Nothing says “bad-ass space marine” like scolding your friend for making fun of a make-believe angel.
Although Fly admits to not knowing much about Mormons, he constantly corrects and scolds Arlene about them. Again, even though the book quickly establishes that she has studied the Mormon Church exhaustively, whereas he read a magazine article about them one time.
“How dare you call Mormons patriarchal?! I count three women right there! TAKE IT BACK!!”
This is not the last time the book will wistfully invoke the Holocaust.
Suggesting the Jews would’ve “won” the Holocaust if they’d only fought harder is a classic white supremacist argument!
“Bet you can’t name all the books of the Book of Mormon, kids!”
If the first level of DOOM the game had been Doomguy in a deep V-neck t-shirt bragging about how much Bible he’d read, I would have done much better in school.
“They’re not apocalyptic, you ridiculous woman! They’re patriots!” Incidentally, the book almost immediately contradicts this argument when Albert shows up:
“We’re not apocalyptic, we’ve just spent the last several decades preparing for a doomsday war against the vague concept of evil.”
At one point, Fly tucks in for the night by doing some casual reading of the Book of Mormon, just in case you thought I was overstating how much of this sci-fi horror yarn is devoted to teaching adolescent DOOM fans about the benefits of the Church of Latter-Day Saints:
It goes on…
These excerpts may seem tedious, because they are. But they grow even more tiresome when the pair finally meet Albert. The book desperately wants you to think Albert is a stone-cold badass with a heart of gold, the savior of humanity, the kind of person we should all aspire to become. A literal angel, and I’m not making that up.
(Note: This is Doomguy talking.)
How do they convince us Albert is cool? By telling us more than once that he was a decorated sniper in the drug wars.
At one point, Albert admits that he flat-out murdered people for the CIA:
“Headshoot boom, in Jesus’s name, Amen.”
Albert also inherits Fly’s disturbingly chaste horniness and manages to make it even more uncomfortable by immediately fantasizing about impregnating Arlene:
Don’t worry – he pauses this sinister daydream just long enough to admire how sexily Arlene kills monsters:
But if you thought Albert was just some god-bothering burgeoning serial killer, think again! Not only does he constantly fantasize about “taming” Arlene, but he also engages in pages upon pages of bad faith arguments designed to make Arlene’s extremely correct and pointed criticisms seem like “female hysteria.” Because the other thing this book wants you to believe is that women are dumb shrews, and men are level-headed slabs of logic and reason.
I promised you the Holocaust would come up again, and unlike the authors of DOOM: Hell on Earth, I keep my promises. Although I suppose the novel does technically live up to the promise of its title.
Referring to the Holocaust as a “divine test” is also a white supremacist talking point!
Speaking of white supremacy, Albert also makes sure to explain Dispensationalism to his new friends:
In short, Dispensationalists believe that the Bible is literally true, and that a biblical apocalypse must and will occur before the second coming of Christ. Some modern dispensationalists like Ronald Reagan believe that the apocalypse will be nuclear (that’s probably true), but that it will be a good thing, because it will wipe out all the nonbelievers and leave only the pure, noble Christians.
Dispensationalism frequently overlaps with white supremacism!
The book also really wants you to understand that it’s actually heroic and selfless to take multiple wives:
The experience of reading this DOOM novel is one of constantly having to remind yourself that you’re reading a DOOM novel.
I mentioned earlier that a fourteen-year-old computer hacker named Jill is unjustly thrown into the group, and that Fly immediately starts drooling over her in an oblique but no less felonious way. By now you should have learned that while I am prone to exaggeration in every other area of my life, when I’m speaking about the DOOM novels, I speak only the unvarnished truth:
A “foxy little item” who is in the eighth grade.
Relentlessly, it continues…
Sweet mormon jesus, it continues…
For the love of everything I have ever cherished, it continues…
The book does great pains to convince us that Jill is an adult, and both demands and deserves to be treated like one.
Hm, I wonder why this book keeps vaguely sexualizing the teenage girl while simultaneously insisting she be considered as adult as her warrior companions?
Arlene tries to share the above Doomguy Fun Fact™ with Fly, but is immediately shouted down:
“I’m not even going to address the teen marriage, because what’s really disturbing is your prejudice, Arlene.”
But it’s all okay, because Fly decides he’s the safest person to befriend Jill because his brain will allow him to completely dehumanize her at any moment:
This is actually a powerful argument as to why she shouldn’t be anywhere near you, Fly. This book is so unhinged, I can’t understand how the pages remain glued to the spine.
I made nearly 100 screen grabs of different excerpts of full-hoot lunacy, which, had I included them all, would’ve ballooned this column to well over 100 pages. So in the interest of saving valuable internet space and not requesting another extension on this deadline, I made the final stretch of this column a potpourri of some of my favorite moments of fig-shitting derangement.
Did you think this DOOM novel was going to contain a mini-rant about how Linus, the Peanuts character, is a filthy Communist? Because I didn’t!
Hey. Hey. Listen – fuck calendars. Wristwatches are where it’s at.
Authentic teen speak!
Predicting CompUSA would survive into the 22nd century might be the most irresponsible thing this novel does.
I genuinely do not know whether that’s a typo.
This article is brought to you by our fine sponsor and Hot Dog Supreme: Sean Chase, who holds the record high score in Jehovah’s Witness Quake II.