Bicycles of the Gods: A Divine Comedy
by Michael Simms
Satire / Fiction
ISBN: 978-1-956440-04-1 paperback $19.95
ISBN: 978-1-956440-05-8 ebook $9.99
August 16, 2022
BICYCLES OF THE GODS is a 2023 Eric Hoffer Award Finalist
In Bicycles of the Gods, the main character, Jesse, presents an earthly incarnation of Jesus Christ come to earth in the body of a 12-year-old boy in the company of Xavi, who is the earthly incarnation of Shiva, Destroyer of Worlds, also a 12-year-old boy. The pair stand on a hilltop above the city of Los Angeles contemplating how best to destroy it as a precursor to destroying the entire world to rid it of humanity so it can refresh and rebuild. Xavi is ready to get on with the task The Big Guy, God, has assigned them, but Jesse has a problem. He isn’t sure that everyone deserves to be destroyed.
What people are saying about Bicycles of the Gods
A playful, provocative, and imaginative discursus, Bicycles of the Gods is an affront to racism, sexism, classism, ageism, and heterosexism as it posits a Divine who will not be captured and used by white supremacists for their own purposes. Michael Simms has created an engaging new world order that functions within our familiar one.
—Rev. Dr. Moni McIntyre, author of
Social Ethics and the Return to Cosmology
Whether Michael Simms is writing a personal essay about growing up with autism or poems about our dying planet, a barfight, or the mystery of a hummingbird’s radiance, he is a master storyteller whose narratives hold memorable moments full of fresh and telling details that unlock the heart. And now, in Bicycles of the Gods he has invented a new genre—apocalyptic satire. The novel is hilarious at times, but make no mistake, Simms is serious as a heart attack in a hurricane. It tells an old story in a completely new way, exploring issues of faith, politics, trauma, imagination, and the triumph of love over tyranny.
—Peter Makuck, author of Wins and Losses: Stories
Set in today’s digital-age Los Angeles, with a delightful cast of characters, including celestial ones “in disguise to make it easier to move through the world,” you will encounter The Big Guy, Maria, Jesse, Xavi, Luke, and Abe, as well as Christine, Mikey, Patrick, the Six Sisters of the Piston, Father Jack, Stefan the Poet, Birdie, Dharma the Dog, and Caruso the Parrot, all of whom are caught up in the tragic-comic battle between the forces of Good and Evil, Light and Darkness. Michael Simms has given us a frolicking and “novel” approach to the Apocalypse of John that offers a front-row seat to the shenanigans of the times in which we are presently living. Bicycles of the Gods deserves its own Broadway billing as both “Dantean” and “Shakespearean.”
—Rev. Dr. Charles Davidson, author of Bone Dead and
Rising: Vincent van Gogh and the Self Before God
Following his two excellent volumes of poetry (American Ash and Nightjar), Michael Simms has given us an unusual “divine comedy,” featuring incarnations of Jesus and Shiva the Destroyer of Worlds as young boys traveling the earth on high-tech bicycles; a recovering addict, Stefan, reclusive poet and unhoused man who lives in a cave under a highway interchange, and an extensive cast of characters who supply exemplars or targets for the moral and satirical eyes of the narrator. The style at first seems light and fast-moving (hitch-hiking on those bikes), but we soon realize the depth and power of the critique of a human society potentially to be destroyed (again) at the behest of the “creator” (identity a matter of contention) because of his dissatisfaction with their frivolity, immorality, and destructive/pervasive greed. That is to say, there is nothing frivolous about this divine comedy, though it wields its satirical and moral pen lightly. At times, it reminds one of the 18th century subgenre, the “voyages to the moon,” exploited by various writers to express their disdain for the follies of their contemporaries, though few achieve the mastery of Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, or Pope’s Dunciad. This very contemporary novel is a worthy successor in that company, with occasional moments of whimsy reminiscent of Carroll’s Wonderland. I recommend it with enthusiasm.
—Thomas Dillingham writing about Bicycles of the Gods
A devilishly conceived satire that mashes the soft-centered potato of religion with the ham-fisted yam of politics into a steaming mush of mock-turtle soup which might have easily been concocted by Nathaniel West had he heeded his doctor’s advice and cooked a bit more with hallucinogenic mushrooms.
—Ariana Mohajeri Petersen, The MinderBinder Review of Books
Reviews, Articles, Interviews, and Prizes:
MICHAEL SIMMS is an accomplished poet, writer, editor, publisher, teacher, blogger and entrepreneur. Seven collections of his poetry, three novels, and two widely adopted poetry textbooks have been published or are under contract with publishers. He has also been the lead editor of over 100 published books, including the bestselling Autumn House Anthology of Poetry, now in its third edition. Simms has taught at a number of universities, including Chatham University’s MFA program from 2005-2013.
Bicycles of the Gods is Simms’s debut novel.