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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
No One Gets Out Alive: Morality, Terrorism and IPA by Harry Tinders is a deep dive into the world of philosophy, morals, ethics, relativism, and aliens as it attempts to answer the biggest of all the age-old questions: Why are we here? What difference do we make? and are we alone? Michael was a man on a mission. He had come to Canada when he was just a boy, as a refugee from the Middle East and yet now, ironically, he was desperately fighting to keep further immigrants out of HIS Canada. Fervently religious, Michael had two great passions; stopping what he viewed as the pernicious spread of a new religion, The United Churches of Abraham, which aimed to bring together all the disparate religious sects, who all believed in the ONE God, under the same banner. Michael believed these people were perverting his true religion. Second, he was determined to meet and put to the test, Frank, whose mission in life was to spread the word of atheism and anti-religion as far and wide as he could via his website, his blogs, his podcasts, his Vlogs, and his writings. Throw into the mix a bunch of aliens who just want humanity to stop, take stock of the mess they’ve made, and get onto the right track for future development before the next “filter” event that will potentially wipe them out and you have the makings of a deep, philosophical dilemma.
No One Gets Out Alive is a funny and, at times, slightly cynical look at the human condition. Author Harry Tinders has created two wonderful characters in Michael and Frank who are both instantly recognizable if we look around at our associates. They are both drawn to extremes and somewhat intractable which, if we are honest, describes most people’s stances, views, and attitudes in this sharply polarized world we live in today. I loved the fact that the author used the terrorism situation as an opportunity to ask those questions about morality, ethics, relativism, and what is the “greater good?” I found myself just devouring this story and was saddened when it came to an end so quickly. I particularly enjoyed the perspective that the alien brought to the conversation and the corollaries he used to help Frank and Michael understand their place in the Universe. The message that resonated with me the most was the idea of race, religion, nation, and culture all being totally human constructs and that they had no real meaning within the wider sphere of the Universe, the human condition, or the future. This is a highly readable book that questions everything you’ve convinced yourself may or may not be right about life and makes you think about it as part of an interesting fictional story. This lifts the book above its compatriots in the genre – philosophy mixed in with a bit of action. You can’t go wrong with that. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can highly recommend it.