You may know Scott Adams as the white guy who draws Dilbert and also loves Donald Trump and has lots of, uh, interesting beliefs on various political topics. In fact, Scott Adams’ legacy is much grander.
Bloomberg Businessweek profiles Adams this week, mainly because he wrote so much crazy shit about how brilliant Donald Trump was during the campaign and then he fucking won and now the media is like... maybe this white cartoon guy knows something, after all? (Nope.) I won’t give away the fascinating details of Adams’ diet and home design choices, but I will highlight this sentence, which may surprise you if you consider yourself a true Scott Adams “head”:
He also wrote two religion-themed novellas, published in 2001 and 2004, which, he told me, will be his ultimate legacy—not Dilbert.
How epic must these religion-themed novellas be to surpass the historic import of Dilbert as well as the pickup-artist-style rantings of Scott Adams’ blog posts? To find out, we turned to the trusty Amazon descriptions of said novellas. Here is the pitch for the first title, God’s Debris:
Explore the mysteries and magic of the cosmos with the acclaimed creator of Dilbert.
God’s Debris is the first non-Dilbert, non-humor book by best-selling author Scott Adams. Adams describes God’s Debris as a thought experiment wrapped in a story. It’s designed to make your brain spin around inside your skull.
Imagine that you meet a very old man who you eventually realize knows literally everything. Imagine that he explains for you the great mysteries of life: quantum physics, evolution, God, gravity, light psychic phenomenon, and probability in a way so simple, so novel, and so compelling that it all fits together and makes perfect sense. What does it feel like to suddenly understand everything?
You may not find the final answer to the big question, but God’s Debris might provide the most compelling vision of reality you will ever read. The thought experiment is this: Try to figure out what’s wrong with the old man’s explanation of reality. Share the book with your smart friends, then discuss it later while enjoying a beverage.
It has no violence or sex, but the ideas are powerful and not appropriate for readers under fourteen.
Any American who does not wake up and read God’s Debris on the morning of his fifteenth birthday is no American at all. And here is the plot of the equally if not more impactful second novella, The Religion War:
In this frenetically paced sequel to Adams’ best-selling “thought experiment,” God’s Debris, the smartest man in the world is on a mission to stop a cataclysmic war between Christian and Muslim forces and save civilization. The brilliantly crafted, thought-provoking fable raises questions about the nature of reality and just where our delusions are taking us.
With publication of The Religion War, millions of long-time fans of Scott Adams’ Dilbert cartoons and business bestsellers will have to admit that the literary world is a better place with Adams on the loose spreading new ideas and philosophical conundrums.
Unlike God’s Debris, which was principally a dialogue between its two main characters, The Religion War is set several decades in the future when the smartest man in the world steps between international leaders to prevent a catastrophic confrontation between Christianiy and Islam. The parallels between where we are today and where we could be in the near future are clear.
According to Adams, The Religion War targets “bright readers with short attention spans-everyone from lazy students to busy book clubs.” But while the book may be a three-hour read, it’s packed with concepts that will be discussed long after, including a list of “Questions to Ponder in the Shower” that reinforce the story’s purpose of highlighting the most important-yet most ignored-questions in the world.
If you were to ask whether these two novellas will in fact leave behind an even stronger legacy than Dilbert the reply would have to be “yes, sure.”