I met Aaron Michael Ritchey at Mile Hi Con in 2012, in one of those author mixer venues. At a room party at the con, there were about half a dozen writers standing around drinking and conversing, and the topic of conversation went toward religion and spirituality. In a world that bears the odiousness of the Taliban, the Westboro Baptist Church, and the Catholic Church sex abuse scandals, it was easy for most of us to get pretty snarky on the subject of religion. And then Aaron asked the question of all of us: “Do you think religion has, cumulatively, a positive or a negative effect on the world?” The reply was a unanimous “negative.” Except for Aaron. And what followed was a thoughtful, civil discussion (how often does that happen around this topic?) about religion’s place and usefulness in the modern world, a discussion that left all of us thinking a little more deeply about things.
Aaron Michael Ritchey is a questing soul who likes to ask the hard questions–in real life and in his fiction. Last week marked the official launch of his YA novel Long Live the Suicide King, and reviews are good. This book seems to ask some of those hard questions.