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Reviewed by Cecelia Hopkins for Readers' Favorite
My First 10,000 Years in Heaven by Vance C. Kessler tells the story of a man called Thomas who dies and goes to heaven. God then asks him to write a memoir of his experiences and send it back in time for people to read. Thomas arrives in heaven, is given a new body, and watches Judgment Day. Thomas feels privileged to be present as the Earth is created anew. Then he meets Jesus and is introduced to people from different times and cultures. Next, Thomas tastes the food and gets to name a few animal species. He learns how his new body works and sees many wonders. He is given a job sculpting friezes for the Jerusalem Gate, and the opportunity to explore the universe. This is interspersed with memories of his old life: marriage, rejection by his father, and parenting his son.
My First 10,000 Years in Heaven by Vance C. Kessler is an exceptional example of Christian speculative fiction. The premise is interesting and thought-provoking. Kessler attempts to build a picture of what heaven might be like and satisfies the reader’s curiosity. I particularly enjoyed the way he linked Thomas’s experiences in heaven to the flashbacks of his life on Earth. Kessler touches on a very pertinent concern for modern Christians when he explores the parent’s grief that his children had not chosen a life path leading toward heaven. The resolution Kessler creates is comforting and hope-inspiring. I recommend My First 10,000 Years in Heaven for individual inspirational reading and small group discussion.