Elmer Granger approaches Dr. Ephraim Ads on his bench at the edge of campus¹.
Elm: “I heard you actually recently met the guy who wrote The Blood of Worlds!”
Ads: “I did.”
…and you’ll have to go through the DOOR for more.
Ads: “Actually, Elm, I’d met him long ago and mostly we talked about what’s new in our lives. Info about his new book was brief, really. And what he said was, well, a bit cryptic. You may be disappointed, knowing you’ve read the story and we’ve gone over it before.”
Elm: “Try me.”
Ads’s former student descended upon the other side of the bench and tried to make himself comfortable. He removed his ball cap and brushed back his red hair.
Ads: “Remember when I mentioned earlier that it was a love story along with other factors that seemed like rabbit trails?”
Elm: “I do. Even the ‘clock catechism’ thing that ended with the story’s last word.
Ads: “Well, then, consider this: When I reminded him that since this hadn’t become a ‘best seller’ yet, and what was he really expecting, or hoping for, he said this: ‘I’m looking for points.'”
Ads: “I’m interested,” he told me, “in reader responses to 3 questions, with 5 points the max for each question: (1) Is this the most (worthy) unpredictable novel you’ve read this year? (2) Is this, despite the horror and tragedy, the most uniquely uplifting novel you’ve read this year? And (3) Is this the best love (as you define it) story you’ve read this year?”
Ads: “He told me that he would feel fulfilled if he discovered a “half-dozen” readers who could honestly return to him a score of at least 14?”
Elm: “You can’t be serious!”
Ads: “I am.”
Elm: “But what if he doesn’t get 6 such responses this year? It’s such a niche book! And marketing…?
Ads: “I asked him the same question. ‘It’s the story I had to write,” he said, “and one that, quite frankly, deliberately challenges a lot of expectations and today’s publishing rules. Further, it’s what I call a “shelf book” that I return to often. I’ve never ever treated another novel like that. If I don’t get “my 6″ this year, I’ll go for it again next year. I’ve still got time”–he smiled–“And really, so far, I’ve had pretty good health.'”
Elm: “Ads, am I missing something here… Any thing else I should know?”
Ads: “Yes, Elm…and here’s my take: The author takes the Bible very seriously as a uniquely worthy book among books…as well as his embracing the very latest astroscience. This may be seem puzzling to many New Agers who aren’t very familiar with either the Bible or modern science. Or how they may comfortably fit alongside other sci-fi they’re familiar with.”
[The next post will discuss this last paragraph more in detail.]
¹ Elm Granger was a recent college English student, along with Shiloh Miller and Ikon (“Ike”) O’klast, of Professor Ephraim Ads, a recent retiree. Dr. Ads has a favorite bench under a towering silver maple on the edge of campus where he occasionally finishes coffee purchased across the street. His life is filled with–perhaps–coincidences, some of which are now-and-then encounters with former students.