Cover image for The astrological diary of god : a novel
Title:
The astrological diary of god : a novel
Author:
Fowler, Bo, 1971-
Personal Author:
Edition:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Bloomsbury : Distributed by St. Martin's Press, 2001.

©1999
Physical Description:
295 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781582341187
Format :
Book

Available:*

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Central Library X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

A masterpiece of religious parody in the tradition of Kurt Vonnegut.

Japs Eye Fontanelle, an 88-year-old overweight, retired Japanese kamikaze pilot, insists that he is the rightful king of the Holy Channel Island of Jersey. He also claims to be the Creator of the Universe. This is his autobiography, written while under armed guard inside the gold vault at Fort Knox. Fontanelle recounts his truly remarkable life: from his birth in the city of Kyoto and his involvement in World War II, to his study of the ancient science of astrology, the historic discovery of his own divinity, and the founding of the first Astrological Kingdom on Earth. Occasionally, when he isn't busy creating galaxies, he takes a break to watch "Star Trek".

Structured in twelve meticulously-researched, hilariously funny zodiacal chapters-and padded with photo inserts revealing such delights as God returning from his ninth suicide mission, Shinto monks, and God's genitals- The Astrological Diary of God is a savage and irreverent take on modern belief.


Author Notes

Bo Fowler was born in 1971. He studied Philosophy at Bristol University before attending the University of East Anglia where he studied Creative Writing under Malcolm Bradbury. He is the author of Scepticism, Inc. He lives in London.


Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Giving in to obsession is one surefire way to go insane, and British author Fowler (Skepticism, Inc.) allows his protagonist to do just that, in this wackily original but ultimately frustrating novel. WWII veteran Zizo Yasuzawa is an 85-year-old, five-foot, 600-pound astrological egotist, held prisoner by the United Nations Cosmology Commission in a mobile home inside a gold vault in Fort Knox, Ky., for the alleged killing of Time. Decades ago, after a series of failed kamikaze missions, Zizo came to believe that he was being saved for a higher purpose, and with the help of astrology books, ardent followers and not a little self-delusion, he decided he was a divine being. In that capacity, and in keeping with ancient Egyptian legend, he also came to believe he created new galaxies every time he masturbated. It's more than a little confusing that Zizo refers to himself in the third person as "God" yet continues to use first person pronouns ("God waved, or rather God wriggled my podgy fingers"). His perverse autobiography is punctuated by astrology charts and brief catalogues of historical and trivial dates (for example, "Japanese annihilate Russian fleet in the Tsushima straits" and "Man balancing on tightrope falls off after 205 days"). Unfortunately, neither his companions in captivity jailer Colonel Fleming and nurse Julie Hughes nor his arch nemesis, U.N. Commissioner for the Prevention of Natural Disasters Pedro Pizarro, are allowed to speak for themselves. A perspective other than that of the star- and navel-gazing Zizo would have greatly aided his and the book's philosophically convoluted cause. (Mar.) Forecast: Amusing graphics and campy, comic-book cover art will catch the eye of alterna-kid readers, but the novel lacks the contagious charm of the cult classics it emulates. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter One AQUARIUS Fort Knox, the 19th Every year there is a reunion of retired kamikaze pilots in Hiroshima.     At these reunions everyone gets smashed on sake and eats truly prodigious quantities of dumplings. Most of the retired kamikaze pilots spend the rest of the time looking after the Shrines to the War Dead: they water the plants, sweep away empty Coke cans, pick up dogshit, tell screaming children to quieten down and chase away stray dogs. I, on the other hand, own nine highly profitable companies, am the rightful King of Adocentyn, the Holy Channel Island, and the Creator of the Universe.     This year's reunion is on the 13th of Leo.     It looks like I won't be going. * * * My name is Zizo Yasuzawa, or He-Whose-Figure-Of-Beauty-Is-Tinged- With-The-Hue-Of-Cerulean-Blue-Clouds-And-Whose-Unique- Loveliness-Charms-Millions-Of-Little-Cupids, although in the West I am better known as Japs Eye Fontanelle. I have rheumatoid arthritis, a weight problem, a heart condition, a hole in my head and no balls at all.     I'm accused by the UNCC (the United Nations Cosmology Commission) of killing Time.     It is something of a long story. * * * After dinner God watched Star Trek . THE 20TH I who have loved the world and all it contains, I the original seed of which the Old Testament speaks, the Monad, Pimander--the Divine Mind, the Awo-Bam-Do-Bop-Awo-Bambo!, the Light Unchangeable, Undivided Unity, I the sole possessor of what Dante called ' the love that moves the sun and the other stars ', await my trial for the killing of Time in a middle-of-the-range mobile home that contains towels with the letters UNCC sewn on them, a microwave, a radio, a small TV with terrible reception, a fridge, two beds, plastic crockery, a shower unit and a guide book to the Midwest which God probably won't be using. * * * The UNCC has also provided God with a nurse, whose name is Julie Hughes. She is a redhead and very pretty. Yesterday she told me that I was the fattest man she had ever seen. She did not say this with any malice, it was simply a statement of fact. Sometimes when she bends over God glimpses his nurse's underwear. God's nurse is a Capricorn with Mercury in a bad aspect to Mars, which means of course that she worries about things too much.     God tells her this often, full of compassion, but she does not believe me. In fact, she laughs at astrology. When she first arrived God asked her what she thought of the ancient science. She told God she thought astrology was a confused mess of half-baked anachronistic ideas and childish nonsense, mumbo-jumbo of the highest order, a demented and simplistic attempt to reduce the wonderful diversity and complexity of human personality into something that could be written on the back of a postcard. She added that it was a well-known fact that your midwife exerts more gravitational influence on you at your birth than all the stars and planets put together. God suspects my nurse has been given the job of looking after me by the UNCC precisely because she is so insensitive to the tenets of astrology.     Like all Capricorn women, my nurse's favourite colour is dark green, although for some reason she denies this. * * * God's mobile home is parked in the middle of the gold bullion depository vault in Fort Knox, Kentucky.     What they have done with the $100 billion worth of gold is anybody's business.     The vault is roughly the size of a baseball field, and has only one entrance.     Thirty-watt light bulbs illuminate the gold vault from 8 a.m. to 10.30 p.m. There is one light switch by the entrance next to a coin-operated phone.     It is very cold here in the gold vault, even inside my mobile home. It is so cold, in fact, that the UNCC has issued God with a Norwegian combat overcoat. It has a fur hood, tissues in the pockets and the name Eric Woodall written in pen on the label. My nurse, has a similar coat, which fits her much better than God's fits him.     Normally God allows nothing to get between me and my creation, but it is just too damn cold in here to go around butt naked.     Even with the Norwegian combat overcoat the UNCC is worried God will catch pneumonia and be too ill to appear at my trial. This is a possibility as God is no spring chicken. I am very old. I am ancient. I will be eighty-five soon, and according to The Guinness Book of Records , the fattest man in the entire world.     God has never denied that I developed, towards the end of World War Two, something of a weight problem.     In fact I became the plumpest kamikaze pilot ever to take to the skies. THE 21ST God's jailers inside the gold vault are the whole company from the elite 82nd Airborne Division, known as the Screaming Eagles. Like God and my nurse they have been issued with Norwegian combat overcoats.     The commanding officer of the company of Screaming Eagles inside the gold vault, the head jailer, as it were, is Colonel Fleming. He is a Sagittarius, which means of course that he is in completely the wrong sort of career. He would be better off as a teacher, a librarian of some sort, a priest or in any sort of job to do with horses.     The day God was put inside the gold vault Colonel Fleming told me that he didn't want any funny business. God told him the Supreme Being didn't want any funny business either and suggested he seriously consider a career change. * * * Sagittarians prefer tea to coffee, dogs to cats, can't swim and are the least likely sign to be turned on by bondage. Their best days are Thursdays. * * * Colonel Fleming and his men were nervous and on edge when God's nurse helped the Creator of Everything piss in my mobile home for the first time under this posture of heaven: They heard us fumbling in the toilet and put two and two together. As my organ was held by nimble and cold fingers God could hear the soldiers outside whispering to each other. My nurse assists me in the bathroom because God is now so fat, such a mound of blubber, a living atoll, that I can no longer grasp my penis. To be perfectly honest God hasn't seen it in years -- it has become something of a distant friend. They are estranged, God and his penis, despite all that they have been through together. If God walked past my own penis on the street I would hardly recognize it now. A penis that is worshipped across the globe. A penis that bends (God recalls) to the left. A penis that has definitely seen better days. * * * Colonel Fleming and his men are armed with Top Secret weapons that look like flashlights. A one-second burst from one of those things will kill you, God has been told. Just how it will kill you is Top Secret.     Every single Top Secret weapon in the gold vault has a giant label stuck on it. It is in bright green and says: THIS IS NOT A FLASHLIGHT, THIS IS A TOP SECRET WEAPON! THE 22ND Every morning God's young nurse cooks God and herself breakfast, which we eat here in the mobile home. God's nurse is a good cook for a Capricorn. God tells her this often as she shovels spoonful after spoonful of scrambled egg and slivers of greasy bacon into God's mouth. Miss Hughes has to feed God because my arms are now so fat that they cannot get even close to my mouth. It is an anatomical impossibility. My arms are forced to rest in the air, suspended above mountains of wrinkled skin. It looks, God has been told on countless occasions, for all the world as if I am surrendering to some unseen assailant.     Colonel Fleming joined God and my nurse for breakfast today (he does this sometimes) and used his cutlery and the salt and pepper cellars to represent various critical moments in the Battle of the Pacific, explaining that his grandfather, Reginald Fleming, fought against the Japanese during the war. Colonel Fleming tells God that his grandfather, Reginald Fleming, crashed his plane on purpose on to the deck of a Mogami-class heavy cruiser during the battle of Midway, making him the only American kamikaze pilot God has ever heard of.     'What star sign was he?' God asked, still eating my breakfast.     Colonel Fleming's grandfather was a Libra and therefore preferred coffee to tea, enjoyed field sports and was twice unfaithful to his wife. He was a morning person and his best day of the week would have been Saturday.     Midway took place on a Thursday. * * * God missed Midway, I told Colonel Fleming, because of injuries sustained in what became known as the Battle of the Coral Sea.     Had God been present at Midway, God would probably have been killed.     Thus the Battle of the Coral Sea was a critical moment in the history of the Cosmos as is borne out by its chart: THE 23RD Today, with the Moon in the cusp of Aries, God produced seven perfect little turds that lay at the bottom of the toilet bowl looking for all the world like the stars that make up the cluster known as the Pleiades, located in the constellation of Taurus. God pointed this remarkable similarity out to his nurse who laughed, dismissing it as mere coincidence, and flushed the toilet before God had taken a photograph.     After ranting and raving about this missed opportunity, God had a meeting with a Mr Coleman, one of the best defence attorneys in the country. Miss Hughes made Mr Coleman a coffee and God told him that the Universe and God felt he was the best man for the job of defending the Supreme Being, He That Was Before All Else. Mr Coleman said nothing so I showed him his horoscope which I had taken the liberty of drawing up after breakfast. God talked him through the various houses and explained how handling my case would be the pinnacle not just of his career but of his entire life. Mr Coleman thanked me for his birth chart, rolled it up into a tube, put it under his arm, put his hat on his head, thanked Miss Hughes for the coffee and informed the Creator of the Universe that he was at present too busy to handle my case.     God was speechless. * * * After leaving the gold vault, Mr Coleman spoke to reporters outside. He was on the lunchtime TV news. He was asked by a reporter how much God weighed. 'I guess at least a hundred stone,' he said, which is about right. * * * Mr Coleman was born under the sign of Cancer, which means he likes tea and coffee equally, collects china figurines, is bad at roller-skating, likes apples and is pedestrian in the bedroom department. THE 24TH God's nurse normally serves dinner here in the mobile home at seven.     Every night after dinner God's nurse clears away the dishes, removes God's bib and erects an old stepladder in the middle of the immobile mobile home. Then she deposits a black book and a pen on the top rung. God is positioned next to the ladder and in this manner I write my astrological diary, seeing what I write above my head with the help of carefully positioned mirrors around the mobile home.     God's nurse objects to erecting the stepladder and positioning the mirrors every night. She tells God it is bad luck to open stepladders indoors; God tells her she is thinking of umbrellas.     Normally at about ten o'clock Miss Hughes takes off God's Norwegian combat overcoat and tucks God into bed. * * * At 10.30 every night Colonel Fleming switches off the lights in the gold vault.     God misses the stars. The UNCC has provided God with a number of little stars that glow in the dark, and which Miss Hughes put on the ceiling of the mobile home, but they are just not the same.     They look like this: THE 25TH Today God informed my nurse at breakfast that the Sun moves around the Earth but she did not believe me.     It is perfectly true though, I should know, I am God, after all.     Proof that the Sun goes around the Earth, were proof needed, can be seen clearly in the ancient science of astrology, for the horoscope, the very heart of astrology, is laid out with the Earth in the centre. God told my nurse that anyone who says astrology doesn't insist that the Sun orbits the Earth does not know what they are talking about. They are rascals. Nincompoops.     There's more: not only does the Sun revolve around the Earth but so do all the planets, all the stars and all the millions of galaxies.     We are, ladies and gentlemen, or more accurately I am, the very centre of the entire Universe. Yes indeedy.     Happy happy days. THE 26TH The entire Universe was designed for mankind, God told my nurse this morning. The entire thing, the whole damn shooting match I, God, made with people in mind. Miss Hughes said nothing and started to do the washing up.     While she did so God recited a poem by John Donne. ` Man ' something something ` is all. He is not a piece of the world, but the world itself and next to the glory of God, the reason why there is a world .'     And added that it was so true, so true. * * * Later the two of us watched Star Trek . THE 27TH The hundred and twenty soldiers that guard God here inside the gold vault all wear blue helmets under the fur hoods of their Norwegian combat overcoats. So do the six doctors who, on Mondays after breakfast, enter the gold vault in single file and pile into God's mobile home. They are polite but refuse to tell God their star signs. They act as if they are visiting someone who has just suffered a bereavement.     `Good morning, Mr Fontanelle, how are you today?' the head doctor says.     `I am good and the Universe is good,' God normally says.     The six doctors then examine God. They climb all over God, prodding, pinching, slapping. God is weighed, measured, photographed and weighed again. Special attention is paid to the hole in the top of God's head. God's astrolabe, a perfect brass model of the zodiac, is removed and placed carefully on my bed. God's hachimaki , the white cloth worn around the heads of all kamikaze pilots, is untied. Then the half-dozen doctors look into the hole in the top of God's head like children peering into a well.     While all this is going on a psychiatrist with odd socks shows God various ink blots on bits of card.     `What does this look like?' he asks.     `Stars.'     `What about this one, what does it look like?'     `More stars,' says God. * * * After they have checked out God's head and its crater the doctors focus their attention on my crutch. One of them squeezes between God's legs armed with a flashlight. It is not, God is assured, a Top Secret weapon.     This is done to make sure that God's balls haven't grown back. * * * God was castrated around about a year ago. It was in all the papers. The facts were, of course, heavily distorted and for a while God considered legal action. * * * My balls, God has to say, are in better shape than I am. They are sitting comfortably on cushions in the inner air-conditioned chambers of two very ostentatious temples called the House of the Right Ball and the House of the Left Ball.     The House of the Right Ball is in Hiroshima, the House of the Left Ball is in Jersey. * * * I get around. * * * I would like to think that God's right ball is in the House of the Right Ball and that God's left ball is in the House of the Left Ball, but this is by no means certain. After the castration things were pretty hectic, as you can imagine.     The precise locations of the House of the Right Ball and the House of the Left Ball are known only to my most devout followers, including God's second wife. This is so God's balls do not fall into my enemies' hands.     Both of God's balls are attached to life-support machines.     God has been told by the world's most eminent specialists that my balls will last a thousand years.     Happy happy days. (Continues...) Copyright © 1999 Bo Fowler. All rights reserved.

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