The Sum of Our Gods is available now!
Get it in print from:
or the Google Play Store
or in digital form:
or as a Google eBook
What's The Sum of Our Gods about? Here's the short version, the description you’ll find on the back cover:
“Joe has been cursed. He must meet with Yahweh, the Creator,once a week for coffee and listen to God complain. Yahweh is a crotchety old deity with a pantheon of family problems. His wife, Frigga, has basically stopped talking to Him, except to keep nagging Him about retiring. His son, Jesus, suffers from crippling depression. Jesus’ estranged wife is plotting a terrorist attack to try to start a holy war. God is fed up with all the drama. He’s perfectly tired and infinitely irritable.
Though God doesn’t seem to care about human problems, Joe’s little, mortal life isn’t perfect, either. In fact, it’s a comedy as black as God’s coffee.”
Here's the long version:
Forgive me, Reader, for I have sinned.
That description on the back of the book? That’s true. But it’s also a lie. It’s a sin of omission.
Because the book is about a lot more than that. Sure, the central conflict of the story is Joe’s struggle to free himself from a curse for a crime he had nothing to do with, a curse that will extend to his son (“down to the fourth generation”). And yes, there’s also a subplot involving a terrorist attack using a biological weapon that will wipe out at least a quarter of the world’s population and cause a holy war that will annihilate a lot more. So the stakes are pretty high. And yes, Frigga, God’s wife, wants Him to retire from being the chief deity of the universe while He wants to hold onto his position as CEO for a little while longer. Also, Jesus’ marriage to Inanna, the goddess of the Church, is falling apart. But oh, Dear Reader, there’s so much more to it!
I had to keep the description short enough to fit on the back of the book, you see. Maybe that’s not such a huge sin. Call it a sacrifice to the gods of marketing. I could have included a dozen other gods who play major roles in the book. You like Thor? Who doesn’t like Thor? Thor’s got issues, too. Imagine what it would be like to have a mother who literally knows everything that’s ever going to happen! Plus, Thor’s step-brother, Jesus, wants a world filled with peace and love. Thor is a god of protection who loves to smite his enemies with a magic hammer. What’s he going to do in Jesus’ ideal world? For that matter, Apollo, the god of reason, isn’t too keen on all that touchy-feely stuff, either. The Norse, Greek, Japanese, Mayan, Aztec, and Egyptian gods who populate the book are all obstacles for Meme, the ironic god of post-modern atheism.
I’m telling you, the book isn’t long, but it’s packed.
I’m sure you, Dear Reader, can easily understand and forgive the exclusion of all those other gods from the book jacket. But the sin I really need to confess, the line where the sin of omission crosses into more dangerous deceit, is the implication that the book is a black comedy. This isn’t an outright lie. The book is funny, laugh-out-loud funny sometimes. Every time I try to explain what the novel is about, my wife leans over to me and reminds me, “Don’t forget to tell them it’s funny!” And she’s right. But it’s also sad. And exciting. It’s a story about human beings and the things we worship. It’s also about the pains that cause us to look up at the heavens and cry out for this deity or that one to save us from the very real, inescapable absurdities that fill our normal, seemingly-boring day-to-day lives. It’s about parenthood and marriage and aging and temptation. It’s about the need for recognition and the need for fulfillment and the need for love and the need for surprised laughter. It’s about all these urges that seem to come from somewhere outside of our control, and it’s about all the gods we turn to for satisfaction, whether we admit it or not.
So enjoy the novel itself, and forgive me, Dear Reader, for the book cover’s short description.