Writer, editor, attorney, historian, and linguist. My favorite languages are Arabic, Russian, and English. In fiction, my writing style is either popular and entertaining, as in my sci-fi novel Frenzy. Or mythological and esoteric, as in my Maalstrom series. In non-fiction, I write about contemporary affairs and Islam, primarily from an anthropological and linguistic viewpoint, using my own translations from the Quran.
ALL OF MY BOOKS ARE NOW AVAILABLE IN PRINT, with Maalstrom and The Selk King in new expanded 2nd Editions. Also in 2016 I have several new popular fiction titles coming out. Each will be announced as they are published. The Islamic books are available in either PDF ebook or paperback version. PDF versions of the Islamic books can be downloaded at dissertation.com.
BOOK BY BOOK...
JUDGE CRATER TAKES A POWDER (ADVENTURES OF THE RADIATED LESBIAN NUN: Book 1). The most mysterious disappearance of the 20th century is solved as Judge Crater goes undercover for the FBI in this hilarious satire set in mid-century America, with an eccentric cast of characters including Amelia Earhart, J. Edgar Hoover, Orson Welles, German spies, Japanese submarines, space-folding transvestites, Masonic mafia, and recipe-obsessed nuns, exposing a galactic conspiracy of aliens intent on flooding the Earth through global warming.
THE HANDWALKERS: A cute short children's anti-discrimination story where everyone walks on their hands except the main character. Complete and now available. Suitable for 2nd - 4th grades Elementary. Published by Dark Lotus Books, imprint Read-Able Books.
FRENZY is now available in Print. My third novel, written in a grueling marathon session of only 20 days in the wake (pun intended) of the biggest flood ever to drown Houston. Composed in a spare popular style, I originally had a script in mind, and I have a script-version prepared if I can ever find the time to submit it. Corporate intrigue, a biker gang, a drug-dealing husband, psychics obsessed with Edgar Cayce and Nostradamus, a deceiving lawyer, angry rednecks, and other fun characters follow the plot into Houston's underground pedestrian tunnels (yes, most tunnels are underground) that are imagined to connect to the basement of Houston's most famous cancer research center, where the 'Monster-Mash' that starts the trouble is located. Frenzy is based on the ideas of the physicist Stephen Wolfram concerning cellular automata. Wild, but real. Great fun reading; great fun writing.
MAALSTROM is now available in Print in a new 322 page expanded & illustrated 2nd Edition 2016 (same ISBN so don't buy 'used' older versions). This was my first fiction. I wrote this in 1975 while a student at the age of 20 over a space of two months "in a smoke-filled haze," pacing in a small efficiency apartment. The writing is lucid and the suspense builds to a sophisticated and surprising conclusion. Flores of the Turlicum clan stumbles into the City of Ven's ancient forbidden Temple where he falls in love with the imprisoned priestess Amina and helps her escape--with unsuspected consequences. The setting: before Flores' time, human colonists settled the alien planet Maalstrom where their DNA merged with a local species of hornet, resulting in... several distinct species? Or a single humanity that has fractured into interdependent subspecies? The truth unfolds as Flores penetrates the secrets of Maalstrom through bloody encounters.
THE SELK KING is now available in Print in a new 382 page expanded & illustrated 2nd Edition 2016 (same ISBN so don't buy older 'used' versions). This sequel to Maalstrom followed ten years later. A triumph of mythological speculation, drawing on my own translation of the Quran. The violent but fragile Flores of the Turlicum travels across the alien planet Maalstrom in pursuit of his lost love Amina to the Island of the Sun-God, called Heavenhell, or Ra-Allah, 'See-face-of-God' in Arabic. Here he discovers the Black Pillar. Like Dante, Flores climbs its spiraling ramp from its roots in the nether-world to the glass city of the winged malkops in the clouds which he enters with the aid of a talisman. He at last encounters the insect-like Atasan, the ruler of Heavenhell, and further unfolding of the mysterious biological relationships that link Maalstrom's humanoid inhabitants. A unique vision, exquisitely composed, with bizarre characters such as Fish, slave of the Golden Cyclops and the eternal whirling sceptre; Macius the dancer, whose speech is enigmatic but whose electric body is always in movement; and King Kot the deaf miser, whose "piebald raiment awaits" and is forever splitting sticks and mending cloth.
CROSS-DRESSERS FROM PLUTO (ADVENTURES OF THE RADIATED LESBIAN NUN: BOOK 2): Pop the Thunderbird wine and break open the nopalitos. Because Maggie, the Radiated Lesbian Nun is igniting fires and breaking hearts from Santa Monica to across the galaxy! Political correctness may never recover from this no-holds-barred mercilessly satirical novel.
THE G****N: I'm not releasing the title yet because, although the book is finished, I have not decided whether to publish it under my usual Dark Lotus Books imprimatur or send it to a national publisher. Here is the blurb: "Sam Trencher has a problem. He must keep the exact same coins in each pocket to avoid bursting into flames. Six years ago he left his town and his girl. Now he's coming back home to find her--but he can't tell what's real, and what's not...and his temperature is rising." A great horror novel about contagious human spontaneous combustion. Except maybe if it's contagious, it's no longer spontaneous...
>These are scholarly academic works, densely researched with lots of footnotes. If you have difficulty with footnotes and are only looking for light reading on the complex subject of Islam, then these books aren't for you.<
COMMISSAR & MULLAH: SOVIET-MUSLIM RELATIONS 1917-1926: My history M.A. thesis at Rice University. Original research conducted onsite in Uzbekistan on why the Bolsheviks in the revolutionary era put the brakes on attempted expansion into the Middle East, culminating in the Congress of the Peoples of the East at Baku in 1920 and Lenin's decision to liquidate Stalin's embryonic Gilan Republic in Iran. In short, by 1920 every Muslim population in the new USSR was in open revolt under the leadership of Sultan Galiev and the Muslim National Communists. The history of Russian-Muslim relations remains highly relevant. Putin may be less ideological in his foreign policy than were the Soviets, but today's Islamic threat to Russia is many times greater than it was a century ago. This book includes an essay on the history of Russian-Muslim relations under the Tsars.
SHARIA LAW & THE ARAB OIL EMBARGO: My first thesis at UH Law Center, heavy on economic development theory and how Islamic values throws a monkey wrench into the works. Heavy on original research on Saudi Arabia's dual legal regime that maintains an uneasy balance between traditional Wahhabism and positive law imposed by the regime. Shows how economic development theorists in the West still don't get it when it comes to Islam and have no explanation for the high Muslim population growth rate that still shows little sign of slowing, and how religion continues to supersede class war notions in the Islamic world.
ISLAMIC HUMAN RIGHTS & INTERNATIONAL LAW: My second thesis at UH (only one was required). A highly controversial treatment of the nature of public international law and the extent to which the current international legal regime may accommodate traditional Sharia principles. Densely researched, drawing on my background in anthropology, history, law, and Arabic. Discusses how legal structures intended to contain the Soviet Union were streamlined and applied to Islamic affairs after 9/11. The final Chapter presents an in-depth look at the international component of traditional Sharia, the nature of the contemporary struggle between the two legal systems, and what this means for the West. Are there 'Islamic human rights'? What does this phrase really mean? This book answers the question in depth. If you always wondered why so many traditional Muslims seem to go in for kidnapping, ransom, and terrorism, you'll find it here in my discussion of the 'Sira', the international component of traditional Sharia.
From the Preview: "At a time of unbridled optimism about American plans to export Western ideas and culture to traditional societies in the Middle East, it was the opinion of the writer in 2003 that such optimism was unfounded and that the American project would run aground on the shoals of custom, tribalism, and an entrenched framework of traditional legal and political values that differ profoundly from the milieu espoused by Western, and especially American, proponents of rapid societal transformation." This prediction has come true in spades. The U.S. failed to learn from the mistakes of the Russians in 1917-1926, and again from Russia's mistakes in Afghanistan in the 1980's, which has resulted in the complete collapse of American policy in the Mid-East. Now Putin is rushing in for a third Russian foray into the Swamp. Will this work any better than the other Russian interventions? Is Putin so alarmed at ISIS and the rise of Muslim demography in Russia that he is ready to risk all to hold back the tide? Time will tell.