I’m pleased to say that my next book (and final one of a compilation style) is ahead of schedule. The Blue Testament should debut on Amazon in June of this year. Like my other compilations it will be a self-publication; I am still debating whether to pursue proper publication for my larger, standalone projects in the coming years.
The front cover art will feature a painting by yours truly, a scene from the biblical Desert Temptation wherein the Devil offers Christ the kingdoms of the earth if he will worship him. I depict this with Satan front-and-center as a monstrous beast, presenting a levitating projection of the globe in his left hand, with Christ standing stoically by his right shoulder. Christ wears a halo to juxtapose with the beast’s crown.
The back cover art features a lovely pencil drawing by my little brother of a key location in this work–a tower called the Ziggurat. More on that in a moment.
The text will open with at least three and possibly more poems. Two of these are religious in nature, with the first, ‘A Duel Arranged,’ complimenting the Desert Temptation theme.
Out wilderness they came like dreams in fever
Shepherd accompanied by a Caesar
Short stories follow, with topics ranging from the import of dreams, to a future where sexbots are the norm, to Bodhisattva Buddhas, to the battle of Armageddon and the events preceding it.
The Galilean sands whispered conspiratorially as Afula smoked two miles northeast, exhaling myriad campfires. Mount Tabor huddled at the city’s flank like a timid child clinging to its mother’s skirt hem. Our last orders were to dig in and prep the old 50 cals—non-electrified Barretts from the early 2020s. The atmospheric EMP hit minutes later; no telling which side did it. I liked it that way, to be frank—since we weren’t going anywhere, it just meant they’d have to come to us on foot.
Best of all, in my estimation, are the three novellas collected herein. The first, Mondegreen, is my first try at something in the style of a children’s story, and it has piqued my interest to have another go in the future.
While Mama tended the garden and Papa plied his trade in town, Branch and I would study on the cottage porch. Occasionally, when my little head began to hurt from all the letters and numbers whirling about inside of it, Branch would end the lessons early so that I might help Mama in the sunlight and fresh air. Sometimes I wondered why Branch rarely joined us out-of-doors, for he was not at all lazy, and I concluded that his leg and tail must hurt far more than he let on. Nonetheless, he would always put on a cheerful face whenever we waved in his porch-ward direction.
The second is my personal favorite of the lot–a generational story wherein a fellow millennial finds himself host to an oddly familiar stranger.
“So what’s your story?” asked Roman, biting into a dollar-menu burger.
“Oh,” replied the man, “I’m sure you’ve heard it all before.”
Roman shook his head, wiping his lips with his sleeve. “No judgement from me man. I just can’t believe this shit’s allowed to happen on the streets of America.” He motioned to the array of burgers, fries and soda before them. “I worked here for a first job. You know they make so much they throw a lot of it away at closing time? But if you take any they’ll call the cops.”
The stranger pondered this, munching.
Roman dipped a fry in ketchup pensively. “I can’t believe they accepted all that loose change.”
“Um,” said Roman. “Well. I don’t know. Some money’s better than other money, I guess. I mean, soon there won’t even be cash. It’ll all be digitized. And then we’ll have, like…”
“Yeah,” Roman agreed. “Like chipped dogs.”
“Will you take it?”
“Oh. Well shit, man.” Roman leaned back, considering. “I don’t know. What choice will we have?”
“There will be a choice,” said the stranger emphatically, sipping his soda.
“Hm,” Roman intoned doubtfully.
Thirdly there’s The Ziggurat, this compilation’s longest feature, a story that envisions the aftermath of a third world-war wherein humanity decides to give all control to an “infallible” Artificial Intelligence.
Then the overhead bulbs would flicker on with a menacing hum always a millisecond before, garishly revealing the cavernous den of identical cots hemmed in by labyrinthine slabs of weary beige. The accompanying involuntary squint would signal a fleeting opportunity to clap cupped palms over ears before the call penetrated one’s fragile skull.
The heavy sleepers amongst them were panicked ghosts—flurries of sheeting borne aloft—as the distorted decibels wrenched them from slumber. Eventually they would extricate themselves to join the others in ramrod-straight attention, columns of naked, emaciated figures shivering betwixt the sparse bedding to heed the very voice of God.
We then conclude with an essay accurately subtitled, “My Best Guess at Metaphysics.”
The total length should be somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 pages, and as always I will be keeping the price for a physical copy as close to $5.00 as Amazon’s pricing allows.
I hope you enjoy it!