There was this episode of Night Court where Bull wrote a book. It was like his life story or something.

Anyways he went around trying to sell copies of it, but nobody wanted to read it. And as it turned out, he had paid some shady publisher like $1500 or so to print up a bunch of copies.

I think Harry was all, “Bull, you mean to tell me *you* paid the publisher to print your book, and not the other way around?”

That was back in the late ’80s, early ’90s, maybe. If I am remembering that episode right, which I may not be. Not sure if this is the episode I am thinking of or not.

But yeah, I self-published a novel like a year and a half ago. It didn’t cost me anything, though. Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing is a free service. Had Kindle been around way back when, Bull wouldn’t have gotten conned by the one guy.

Or maybe he would. I dunno. There are still pay-for-publishing services out there, and while I am confident they are not all shady as the one guy on that one episode of Night Court, I don’t think it’s a good idea for me to print up a bunch of copies of my novel, at least not right now. If I ever have a few grand I don’t mind losing, well, maybe.

I can order single paperback copies of my novel from Amazon, anyways.

It’s a pretty good novel, I think. You should check it out sometime.

Anyways, as promised (what, you didn’t read this post? Shocking. 😉 ), I am going to review my own novel, “The Path UPWARD,” one chapter at a time. Since there are 25 chapters in that novel, there will be 25 posts in this series. (26, actually, if you count “part zero,” which is linked to above.)

So here we go:

Each chapter begins with a quote from a character in the novel. My intent in doing this was to introduce various characters and themes, as well as to advance the plot. This technique has been used fairly often, I think, notably in Frank Herbert‘s “Dune” novels. When I started “The Path UPWARD” I had recently read the first four “Dune” novels, and I guess my use of quotes was an homage to Frank Herbert.

Here is the opening quote:

“Anyone who thinks God doesn’t exist has never had the… experience of meeting Him.”

– Bahbi Singh, second grader at Joe Osterman Elementary in North East, Pennsylvania

It should be noted up front that “Bahbi” is not, as far as internet research has led me to believe, an actual name. I just made it up. It is, however, quite similar to the Hindi word “Bhahbi.” I found that out about halfway through writing the novel, and considered changing “Bahbi” to something else, but decided to leave it in. Since it isn’t a real name (as far as I know), I hoped that anyone who tried to look it up would find the same things I did, and if they were to do so, this would lend uncertainty and ambiguity to the narrative.

The opening quote was designed to do that, as well. In fact, the genesis of this entire novel came about when an older relative who is much more educated and well-read than I am happened to mention the concept of the “unreliable narrator” to me in an online conversation.

The things F. DarrylPink FloydMullin talks about in the first chapter and the rest of the novel are all true, at least from his point of view, but he makes fantastic claims and (as the reader sees later) sometimes has to retract certain things.

Might be worth mentioning that the opening line, “My name is F. Darryl Mullin,” is an homage to the first line of Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick”: “Call me Ishmael.

And yes, referencing famous literary novels (and yes, I consider “Dune” to be literary, at least the first one) in my own obscure, self-published little novel is more than a little pretentious. I accept that, and I would encourage anyone who puts a sincere effort into their artistic pursuits to do the same. I.e. don’t sell yourself short, don’t compromise your vision just to make it more palatable, and strive to place your work alongside the work of people who inspired you.

Not that I think “The Path Upward” is on the same level as “Moby-Dick” or “Dune.” It isn’t, and I don’t.

And to be honest, I am the last person in the world you should be taking advice from, if you want your work to sell.

Herman Melville died in obscurity, I think I read once. I probably will too, but that doesn’t mean I am as good a writer as Herman Melville. But since I am drawing parallels between him and me, here’s one more: the Wikipedia article linked to above says that people initially confused Ishmael and Melville, because “Moby-Dick” is a first-person narrative.

At any rate, I would like to state this up front, before I go any further: I am not F. Darryl Mullin, and he is not me. He is a fictional character in a novel I wrote. I will get back to that novel now:

The first chapter sets the scene a little, and it reveals the basic premise of the novel: a small Indian child (Bahbi Singh) with a gift for physics has created a teleportation device. This device allows people to go to the afterlife and then return to the real world. The narrator of my novel is writing a book about Bahbi and his device.

Chapter One also mentions that Bahbi is (or believes himself to be) the reincarnation of a white American physicist named Herbert Klimpton. Klimpton built a device similar to Bahbi’s in the 1950s at Los Alamos (in the context of the novel), but Klimpton’s device failed to bring him back to the real world, and he got stuck in the afterlife.

He managed to get himself reincarnated as Bahbi Singh and build a better version of his device. The details of how Klimpton was reborn are fleshed out in a later chapter.

Anyways, it’s a pretty good novel. You should read it.

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