When his classic Pontiac is abducted by a deity who lives in the depths of Lake Michigan, Petronius Jablonski is offered enlightenment in compensation. To obtain it he must decipher the coded features of an odyssey. He neglects to share these minor details with his longsuffering girlfriend, Sandy, who accompanies him. Home-schooled by an eccentric father, Petronius holds the modern world in contempt, the demise of polytheism and eighteenth century English in general, the plague of democracy and “internets” in particular.
Despairing of his ability to understand the journey and rarely paying attention, he engages the Reader’s assistance. His propensity for digressions complicates the search for a solution while making a mockery of first person narration. He anticipates absurd questions and adds chapters in response, he accuses the Reader of being smitten with Sandy and makes her less attractive, and he attempts to revolutionize Philosophy by superseding overrated concepts like Occam’s Razor and Plato’s Cave with his own zany inventions: Petronius’s Shovel, Petronius’s Garage, and a demonstration of the validity of circular arguments.
The novel’s mirth has a dark undercurrent. As Petronius subjects the Reader to increasingly demanding prerequisites it becomes clear he is wandering the remorseless hinterland between genius and madness, which raises questions about the accuracy of his chronicle. Sandy’s terrified warning that he’s behaving like his tragic father elicits rage: “What Cato did, and Addison approved, cannot be wrong.” But is Petronius a victim of ancestral fate or wisdom? What if Truth is poison? Perhaps a 1969 Bonneville is more precious than enlightenment.
No less than three Big Shot Agents tried to sell it. One lost his mind sparring with illiterate editors and depraved accounting departments. The Sentinels of the Chandelier blocked a Kindle deal. Further hardships will be interpreted as divine intervention.
A defense of My Preamble
I: The Commencement of My Odyssey, a Commentary on the Point of Life, and the Attainment of Quietude
The Anticipation of Questions Pertaining to Part I with Answers and Analysis
II: The Chosen Chariot: My Bonneville is Cherished, I Discover a Box, Compose a Letter of Critique to a Hack, Introduce Petronius’ First Sensation and Petronius’ Shovel, Encounter an Enormous Bird after My Bonneville is Abducted, Dream the First of Eleven Dreams, Strike a Dubious Bargain with a Sea God, and Select the Chosen Chariot
Part II: Addendum
Part III: an Appurtenance
A Bland and Unnecessary Addendum to the Appurtenance of Part III, Provided at the Reader’s Insistence
A Supplement to the Bland and Unnecessary Addendum to the Appurtenance to Part III
The Anticipation and Refutation of an Utterly Incorrect Objection to Part IV
The Dialogues of Supernatural Individuation
VI: A Book Party, an Infernal Nightmare, and a Refutation of Vegetarianism
On the Needlessness of an Addendum to Part VI
VII: An Act of Libidinous Union is Interrupted by a Pterodactyl, I Withstand the Ravages of Tetrahydrocannabinol, Critique a Monument, Expound Upon the Perfect Government, and Reflect Upon the Night I Met Sandy but Instead Summon the Fairy Gobbler
Regarding the Non-Superfluence of My Remembrance of the Night When I Did Not Meet Sandy
On the Persistence of My Memory: A Rebuke to the Reader’s Cruelty
VIII: We are Joined by Hitchhikers, I Expound Upon the Significance of the Bubblegum Slayer, We Join the Rainbow Gardeners, Sandy Dissolves my Prodigious Hang-Up, I Debunk a Puerile Legend, Introduce My Unnumbered Sensation, and Dream the Worst Dream of All Time
IX: The Ripened Fruits of the Mind
Concerning the Reader’s Puerile Criticism of My Thunder Metaphor in Part IX
X: We Stay at an Inn, I Introduce my Seventh Sensation, Behold Pitiful Armadillos, Dream of a Great Orange Train, and Encounter a Vicious Meat Puppet
Preparations for Part XI
XI: My Fleetwood is Transformed Into a Tavern, I Receive a Rebuke from Agents of the Venerable Horned One of the Lake, Consume Several Strawberry Zebras, and Introduce My Special Potation Theory
The Essential and Non-Negotiable Preparations for Part XII
XII: I See the Sun For the First Time
XIII: We are Vexed by Incomprehensible Signs, I Expound Upon the Origin of the Shi Tzu; and Introduce my Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Sensations
On the Felicitous Absence of Part XIV
Preparations for Part XV
XV: I Experience the Rapture of a Knife-Edge, Introduce Petronius Time Types I and II, and Demonstrate to Sandy the Consummate Importance of the Difference Between Denotation and Connotation
XVI: The Panting Wall of Gloom
How the Reader May Halt the Foredoomed Voyage of Time to Prolong His Enjoyment of My Annals
XVII: The Introduction of My Nineteenth Sensation and Petronius’ Box
On the Superiority of Petronius’ Box to Plato’s Much-Ballyhooed Ring
The Prearranged Terms of Our Duel
Essential Preparations for the Epilogue
A Declaration of My Intentions Regarding the Reader’s Sister
Appendix by Brian Bartul, Including a Glossary of Terms
Annals was completed in 2004, started in 1993. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the non-traditional religion(s) described in Schrodinger’s Dachshund. Rest assured, no one worries about you because of anything I wrote. You saw to that. In times of darkness there are no shadows.