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Escape from Heaven [Hardcover]

J. Neil Schulman
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 1 2002
"This is Duj Pepperman and you're on 680 K-TALK."

"Duj, this is God, calling from Heaven. I can't believe I got through. I'm one of your biggest fans!"

With this first-ever call-in from God, an L.A. radio talk-show host is sent on a mission from God that takes him to Heaven - then back to earth - on a rollercoaster adventure that includes meetings with the most famous celebrities in Heaven and on earth. Along the way he learns the origins of our universe, the meaning of life, and how the War between God and Satan will turn out. A comic journey that is bound to be compared to Swift's Gulliver's Travels and Shaw's Back to Methuselah.


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From the Publisher

"Schulman has humour, wit and imagination, and I devoured this latest offering with pleasure." --Colin Wilson, author of The Outsider, After Life: Survival of the Soul, The Philosopher's Stone, The Mind Parasites & many others

"A fast-moving interesting story with surprising developments as Good and Evil face their final struggle. A challenging novel that should annoy all the right folk." --Piers Anthony, author of the Xanth series & many other bestsellers

"J. Neil Schulman's Escape from Heaven is so heretical it threatens a new orthodoxy and so comic that it is one of the most serious novels you will ever read." -- Brad Linaweaver, author of Sliders, The Novel and the Doom series.

"It is the God damnedest thing I've ever read. If C. S. Lewis, Robert A. Heinlein, and Ayn Rand had teamed up to write a novel, something like Escape From Heaven would have inevitably resulted. I say `something like' because this blistering satire of contemporary culture, religion, and politics could only have been written by J. Neil Schulman." -- John DeChancie, author of Witchblade, Castle Perilous, and MagicNet.

"The Pilgrim's Progress of the 21st Century." -- Samuel Edward Konkin III, author of An Agorist Primer.

"It is full of the jokes, puns, and outrageous concepts joyfully explored which will have a strong appeal to the libertarian reader as well as a more general audience. (I recommended it to two Christian evangelical types while I was waiting to change planes in Kansas City last month.) This novel doesn't purport to explain it all to you, rather, it takes you along for a wild intellectual ride. Escape from Heaven is thus far from mundane." -Lynn Maners, Ph.D.

"I stopped reading after I had consumed everything Robert Anton Wilson wrote up to about '92. Escape from Heaven held me as spellbound as the Illuminatus! Trilogy. Though half blind, and knowing I was straining my eyes, I read until there was nothing but a blur. The novel is a brilliant Discordian way of looking at conventional religion. The characters were brought to life and had depth and substance. The plot was fantastic, the meter of the book consistently building to a perfect ending. The lovers are reunited, and you don't know who would have won. Overall I give it a 10." --J.R. Ploughman, author, The Book of the Holy Grail

"What a fun book! I pretty much read it all in one sitting. Escape from Heaven is definitely not orthodox as it contemplates ideas from Christianity, Judaism, and Gnosticism. But it reflects an authentic encounter between Jesus and the author, and Schulman doesn't take cheap shots. The first page grabbed me, and the rest of the book was fast-moving and full of surprises. I enjoyed the book as entertainment, but I found Schulman's ideas on free will theologically stimulating." --Chris B. McKinney of the Philippine Christian Mission

"Escape from Heaven is a masterpiece of satire in the tradition of Mark Twain's Letters from the Earth and The Diaries of Adam & Eve. It is a divine comedy in the original sense of the term. The book may offend some partisans of organized piety whose faith is so frail that it can't take a joke, but I can't think of any other book that is quite so serious about the concept of Christian love and forgiveness." --Robert Schneider, author, Shylock, The Roman

"Nothing but fun except where it was thought-provoking and that was fun too!" --Dyanne Petersen from Laissez Faire Books

"What a deliciously reverential offense! A little heretical blasphemy for all flavors of believers, agnostics and atheists. An edgy little book that defies categorization. A guaranteed mega-bestseller. It ought to make $$$$ like The Celestine Prophecy." -- Teny Rule, Fandom Publicist for Ralph Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings

About the Author

J. Neil Schulman is the author of two Prometheus award-winning novels, Alongside Night and The Rainbow Cadenza, short fiction, nonfiction, and screenwritings, including the CBS Twilight Zone episode "Profile in Silver."

His first nonfiction book was Stopping Power: Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns, of which Charlton Heston said, "Mr. Schulman's book is the most cogent explanation of the gun issue I have yet read."

Schulman's next book, Self Control Not Gun Control, was his magnum opus on personal, political and spiritual power. He has been published in the Los Angeles Times and other national newspapers, as well as Reader's Digest, National Review, Reason, and other magazines. His books have been praised by Nobel laureate Milton Friedman, Anthony Burgess, Robert A. Heinlein, Colin Wilson, Walter Williams, and many other prominent individuals.

Schulman is a popular speaker on a variety of topics, and a frequent radio-talk-show guest. In 1992 he hosted and produced his own weekly radio program, broadcast on KPRO AM, Riverside, California. He was on ABC's World News Tonight as an expert on defensive use of firearms during the 1992 Los Angeles riots, and in 1999 was interviewed twice on the Fox News Network for the fifth anniversary of the Brown-Goldman murders, regarding his alternative theories about the crime.

J. Neil Schulman is a pioneer in electronic publishing, having founded in 1987 the first of two companies to distribute books by bestselling authors for download.


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Madcap, Manic, Midrashic, and Fun! Feb. 2 2003
Format:Hardcover
This amazing--and FUNNY--book begins with the last earthly hours of radio talk show host Duj (rhymes with judge) Pepperman, as he receives an unheard of call-in from God, and is summoned home to heaven. There he receives an unexpected assignment and learns some surprising things about God, including the fact that God looks just like him. And that's just for starters.
Soon Duj is involved in the climactic battle of God and Satan, conducted as a political campaign, with assistance from some of the greatest minds in history, not least of which is a man author Schulman has always admired--Robert Heinlein. All this is related in snappy, irreverent dialogue that will keep you laughing. But there is more.
In fact, there is lots more, and I won't spoil it for you. Schulman turns all the major religions upside down and shakes them. His ideas about God, Jesus, Satan, Adam and Eve, are totally unorthodox. What is he doing? It sounds a lot like midrash--a kind of teaching story that Jewish scholars use to teach theological principles. What is he saying? That God is really, really good. That God took a tremendous risk in creation, and in giving us free will. That God wants us, his children to be free and creative and--well--godlike.
Is Schulman a mystic, teaching us Kabbalah or Gnosis? Is he doing midrash cloaked in outrageous humor? Or is he just having fun? You will have to decide for yourself. And I hope you will. This is a marvelous book and I hope you will read it. Maybe more than once. Reviewed by Louis N. Gruber
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Old Deity Peddler Dec 16 2002
By Skeptic
Format:Hardcover
I read the first part of ESCAPE FROM HEAVEN for free on line. That's the way J. Neil Schulman hooks you in. You're reading along, enjoying the story, getting into it, than right at the most exciting part, he cuts your water off. Sort of like Tom Lehrer's "Old Dope Peddler":
He gives the kids free samples,
Because he knows full well
That today's young innocent faces
Will be tomorrow's clientele.
I'm not complaining, though. I just had to read the rest, because it was such a rollicking good story and funny as, uh, hell. I especially appreciated the little inside jokes and references for science fiction fans, libertarians and gunnies. It kept me glued to the screen until I had read it "cover" to "cover."
A couple of caveats; if you think you don't like anything but "hardcore" science fiction, this is probably not the J. Neil Schulman book for you. (Though I strongly recommend you give it a chance--hey, it's free.) Ditto, if you take your religion too seriously. (Schulman seems to agree with Heinlein's observation "One man's theology is another man's belly laugh." ESCAPE FROM HEAVEN has something to offend everyone's religious sensibilities, therefore plenty of belly laughs.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Old Diety Peddler Dec 16 2002
By Skeptic
Format:Hardcover
I read the first part of ESCAPE FROM HEAVEN for free on line. That's the way J. Neil Schulman hooks you in. You're reading along, enjoying the story, getting into it, than right at the most exciting part, he cuts your water off. Sort of like Tom Lehrer's "Old Dope Peddler":
He gives the kids free samples,
Because he knows full well
That today's young innocent faces
Will be tomorrow's clientele.
I'm not complaining, though. I just had to read the rest, because it was such a rollicking good story and funny as, uh, hell. I especially appreciated the little inside jokes and references for science fiction fans, libertarians and gunnies. It kept me glued to the screen until I had read it "cover" to "cover."
A couple of caveats; if you think you don't like anything but "hardcore" science fiction, this is probably not the J. Neil Schulman book for you. (Though I strongly recommend you give it a chance--hey, it's free.) Ditto, if you take your religion too seriously. (Schulman seems to agree with Heinlein's observation "One man's theology is another man's belly laugh." ESCAPE FROM HEAVEN has something to offend everyone's religious sensibilities, therefore plenty of belly laughs.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Review from Rational Review's bookstore page July 31 2002
Format:Hardcover
Full text available :[on line] readers of libertarian fiction and non-fiction are familiar with J. Neil Schulman, whose classics Alongside Night and The Rainbow Cadenza have long stood as examples of how it's done and whose pioneering of the e-book field with Pulpless.Com changed the paradigm of publishing.
This time around, Schulman takes on God, and it's a read you'll remember. I'm a fan of fiction that deals with issues of religion. Don't ask me why -- it's just a fascination I have.
I'm also pretty much set in the notion that comparing a writer to Heinlein is nigh unto blasphemy in most cases. There was only one Old Man, and his like shall not pass this way again. Or maybe he shall. Maybe that's the point.
The only writer I recall comparing to Heinlein prior to now has been L. Neil Smith. I've made that comparison because, in my judgment, El Neil "gets" some of the same things that Heinlein "got" in a way that most writers don't.
With Escape from Heaven, I'm adding J. Neil Schulman to that list of one, for reasons that are both different and similar. I'm also thinking about naming my next kid Neil in case there's meaning in the trend.
What J. Neil "gets" -- what makes this book genuinely Heinleinesque -- is the wonder of creation, life and existence from a spiritual point of view. El Neil tends to "get" Heinlein's politics and moral philosophy. J. Neil obviously "gets" Heinlein's religious cosmology or something very like it.
Escape from Heaven is on a par with Heinlein's Job: A Comedy of Justice. It's the other side of the coin that Victor Koman flipped in The Jehovah Contract. It could be the new Screwtape Letters.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Journeymanlike
This is not Schulman's best work. Unfortunately he has never really come up to the standards set by his first novel, Alongside Night. This book is readable, but not great.
Published on Dec 8 2002 by Matthew Asnip
5.0 out of 5 stars The Gospel according to J. Neil Schulman
I heartily recommend this book to all those who love Robert Heinlein. The Grand Master himself appears in this book, and is paid great tribute. Read more
Published on Aug. 30 2002 by Mike Ruff
5.0 out of 5 stars Egos are software
I was intrigued by the idea that God's being might have a backup copy. Vastly amused by the idea of who Lucifer was (is?). The technology for ressurection is inspiring! Read more
Published on Aug. 3 2002 by Alan Ackley
5.0 out of 5 stars Satirical cosmology surprisingly astute
"Escape from Heaven" reads like something J. Neil Schulman had too much fun writing. That can be tricky ground for a writer, but the results here are splendid. Read more
Published on July 7 2002 by Beth Elliott
5.0 out of 5 stars Theological Fantasy -- Really!
J. Neil Schulman, known to many freedom-minded individuals as a scifi author, has written an intriguing theological fantasy. Read more
Published on June 25 2002 by sunni-snake
5.0 out of 5 stars Cosmology with a Wow!
Ok. First off, BELIEVE THE DISCLAIMER. If you are too hidebound in your religio/philosophical bent to think outside of the box; break out the beads and pray rather than reading... Read more
Published on June 16 2002 by B. Potratz
5.0 out of 5 stars Bet you didn't know that God is a fan of talk radio, too!
I'm a big fan of talk radio and I know how important it is to our country; but this is the first time I realized how important talk radio is to the Cosmic scheme of things! Read more
Published on June 7 2002 by R. Herrst
3.0 out of 5 stars Irreverence Cubed and Squared
Mr. Shulman manages to extend the boundries of irreverence when it comes to poking fun at the mythology produced by Judaism and it's two derivative faiths Islam and... Read more
Published on May 28 2002 by Charles Fuller
5.0 out of 5 stars And now for something completely different...
Right-wing religious fundamentalists will be offended because J. Neil Schulman has the audacity to imagine and bring God and Heaven down to Earth -- literally. Read more
Published on May 28 2002 by Cynthin Highcracker
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