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HOW TO SUCCEED AT THE PEARLY GATES JOB FAIR, Adult Fantasy - Travis N. Travis


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Name: Travis N. Travis

 

Novel Title: HOW TO SUCCEED AT THE PEARLY GATES JOB FAIR

 

Genre: Adult Fantasy (81,512 words)

 

Comparables: Good Omens, Library of the Unwritten, and The Good Place

 

Hook:

 

A man perfectly content not dying must navigate the hell that is finding a job in the heavens while trying to save his drunk G.U.A.R.D.I.A.N. Department representative from a pre-pubescent creation god.

 

Pitch:

 

Religion was formally banned in the districts of heaven when a monk, a priest, and a rabbi walked into a bar and nothing funny happened. Probably for the best.

 

Charlie Tackle is Dead. Full stop. Which is what he would have liked to have said to the driver of an 84’ Plymouth as he stepped off the sidewalk on the corner of Mulberry and Broome. It would also come to his surprise that the other side of the bright light is in fact not eternal bliss, but the Pearly Gates Job Fair. The single most exciting event for the recently deceased human resources worker, and a thorn in the side for anyone who looks at a resume as if it were the devil incarnate. Meaning in the districts of heaven is as hard to find as it is on earth, and Charlie struggles to find the perfect job in the great beyond.

 

While Virgil is still off helping Dante figure out how to be less broody, Charlie has the pleasant misfortune of getting a drunk G.U.A.R.D.I.A.N department representative and an atheist to help guide him through the heavens. But after stopping at a dumpy little B&B that houses The Forest of Pristine Untouchability, Charlie finds out that there is an insidious secret that lurks behind his untimely death and apparent failure to succeed in his search for meaning.

 

Some of the gods are as cruel as a kid on an anthill with a magnifying glass but the consequences of crossing them are a fate worse than death. After his G.U.A.R.D.I.A.N rep. insights the anger of a lesser creation god, Charlie must make a choice: to continue his quest for employment or try to save his G.U.A.R.D.I.A.N, even if it means being dragged into purgatory by sirens in pretty pink tutus.

 

500 Word Sample:

 

The Forest of Pristine Untouchability has been labeled a creation heritage site by the Society to Preserve the Creation of Others. This being the case, visitors were explicitly forbidden from entering the site but were allowed to view the valley through a series of telescopes and binoculars that were haphazardly placed alongside the edge of the far wall inside a bed & breakfast & gift shop constructed beside it. Many of the telescopes were inoperable or covered with ripped paper and old tape that had turned brown with the years. They were a poor display for the awe-inspiring beauty and craftsmanship that lay just beyond the glass covered with a thick layer of dust and dirty handprints left by wayward children. This state of disarray is due to the fact that the Society to Preserve the Creation of Others was more concerned with labeling things than preserving them. The sign, however, was magnificent.

 

The Forest was created, maintained, and expanded upon by one of the lesser creation gods, a child, and was only meant to be a training exercise. The park was the equivalent to his first week of pre-school, that is, the point where snot running down one’s nose is acceptable, but not knowing where your cubby is located is an irreconcilable faux pa. Inside the Forest was a valley comprised entirely of gems every size, shape, and color. Each gem was individually carved and placed into a grand synthetic menagerie bursting with life. Each city, town, forest, and ocean were crafted from precious stone. Each more intricate than its neighbor, fully functioning, and animate to include ruby and sapphire pedestrians going about their day. Someone could get lost for a lifetime gazing upon their beauty and never get bored.

 

If one stone in the valley were to be moved a micron, the entire valley would be thrown into disarray. Each new gem added had to be hand-carved in such a way as to fit seamlessly into the micro macrocosm that defied any normal notion of urban development. Each piece was like an ant in line to a picnic basket on a cool April day. They were systematically positioned for one well organized and complex mission. To steal the crumbs of your picnic cookies. While no one fully understands the underlying sugar to this whole ant heist, I can tell you one thing. It’s worth a visit if you ever have the chance.

The owners of the bed & breakfast containing the Forest happened upon the valley after becoming incredibly lost after a particularly fun weekend. They were permitted to set up shop and view the valley so long as they promised not to muck about with its contents. In the hundreds of years since they set up shop, they have seen less than ten gems added, and there are currently at least as many gems as grains of sand on the continent of Africa on Earth. This begs the question: just how long has the valley been there?

Bio:

I was a professor of Asian religion, politics, and sexuality at Temple University and American University before giving up on academia entirely to pursue a dead-end job. I did the research for this book throughout my work in Buddhist eschatology (heavens and hells) and have lived in Buddhist monasteries and traveled to more than a hundred religious’ sites in Northern Taiwan and Japan. I took a break from writing about the ineffable to write something lovable and effed up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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