Stories: Table of Contents

 The Italian Who Was at a Loss for Words is set in Palermo, and explores the obsessions of a geologist, a student, and a visiting professor

❧ 1. Pietro Parlante: Pietro, a brilliant geologist, vows to find an Italian who's unable to say what's on his or her mind

❧ 2. Claudia: Claudia, a student of languages and politics, ponders doubt in Palermo's English Garden

❧ 3. Clark Kent: Claudia's political science instructor helps her to define her identity

 4. Vita la Dolce: Pietro, Claudia, and Professor Kent come face to face in the English Garden

The Wine-Dark Sea alternates between romance in Manhattan and a family holiday in Florida. Reworking the Greek tragedy Medea, it explores decadence & decency, betrayal & loyalty 

❧ 1. Jason  ❧ 2. Medea

Miscellaneous  

❧ Proust in the Morning is about billable hours and transexuality 

❧ Cloud Illusions is about sex, drugs, illusions, and rock and roll

❧ The Girl Who is about spunky girls and butterflies - Girls - The Girl Who Wrote a Book About a Girl Who Wrote a Book About Some Other Girl 

The following stories can be read on their own, yet also feature in The Pulse:

Roma explores the curiosity of a student visiting Rome - Campo de’ Fiori - Le Differenze - The Gypsy - Mei-Lin - Zigana

The Priest's Dilemma is a fictional account of a Parisian priest's struggle with the facts of science and history -- in particular, the discoveries of evolution and cuneiform in the 1850s. 

❧ Rivers introduces Jean-Luc, a Parisian priest who has reservations about the slow pace of change in the Catholic Church. It also outlines the theological problems Jean-Luc wants to face head on.   -  Presbyteros.  -  L'Écriture Sainte  -  La Géographie

❧ The Angles of Heaven explores Jean-Luc's sense that the Medieval Christian view of a Creation and a single Holy Text is incompatible with the findings of astronomy, geology, history, and Assyriology. 

❧ The Golden Triangle outlines the threats to Jean-Luc's religion posed by 1) Darwin's theory of evolution, and 2) the decipherment of early Mesopotamian texts -- both of which occur in England in the 1850s.  -  Les Anglais  -  Threat # 1  -  Threat # 2  -  The Precambrian Crust

❧ Nineveh explores Jean-Luc's fear that Mesopotamian timelines critically disrupt Biblical timelines, and that the 'Good News' of Babylon's defeat was announced prematurely.  -  Dates  -  612 BC  

❧ Que Sais-je? focuses on Jean-Luc's struggle to separate the supremacy of the Abrahamic tradition from belief in God, love, redemption, and mercy.  -  What We Knew  -  What He Knew  -  Eucharistia  

❧ Priest & Pastor explores the meaning of the Eucharist in terms of Catholic engagement versus Protestant detachment.  -  Bread & Wine  -  In Switzerland  -  Highland Dream  -  Champs-Élysées

Trumpet of Doom is a double-edged satire on American politics in 2017; it pokes fun at fears and fears the worst  

❧ 1. The Political Climate - If Winter Comes - Can Spring Be Far Behind? 

❧ 2. Facts Americana 

❧ 3. The Storm Troopers Return

The Confused Astronomers of Babylon is a comic, fictional account of Moses in Babylon

Moses and the Apple Merchants of Babylon -- in which Moe the apple merchant attempts an ecumenical solution to what he thinks of as unfair competition from Persia and India. - Free Trade - Olive Branches & Holy Mountains - Ra

 Shesha & the Lord Shiva -- in which Moe is enraged by the theological tactics of the Hindu merchant next door

❧ Golden Calves -- in which Moe sees his foreign competition as the worm in the apple and as the snake in the garden, and in which Moe thinks of writing a longer story that could rival the tales of Gilgamesh and Shamash.  - Apple Tarts & Klepto Snakes - The Saga of Shamash

❧ The Holy Bin -- in which Moe has a literary vision that could provide his people with a clear path, a reliable and omnipotent God, and an alternative to the grim afterlife visions of his fellow Mesopotamians.  - Author! Author! - A Better Way - Alternatives on Offer

❧ Final Judgments -- in which Moe grudgingly admires the afterlife of the Egyptians -- yet not their many gods.  - Swapping the Euphrates for the Nile - One God to Rule Them All

 Aziz & the Crimson Goblet -- in which Moe finally arrives at a beginning, yet finds it impossible to say what he means.  - He Is What He Is - He Did What He Did

❧ The Confused Astronomers of Babylon 1 -- in which Moe does battle with slippery plates and diabolical sixes.  - Flying Plates - Base sixes

❧ The Confused Astronomers of Babylon 2 -- in which Moe attempts to straighten out the chaos of Creation and solve the mathematical puzzle of The Trinity.  - Theogony - 3 = 1 - Snakes and More Snakes - The Fiery Pit

❧ In the Beginning -- in which Moe refines his notion about the One True God who supersedes everything, and in which Moe expresses his certainty that no one will ever mistake his poetry for history.  - Before There Was Anything - Of Dust, Clay, & Silk

❧ Adam and the Snake -- in which Moe tries to cope with his senile grandfather, who believes he's the first man ever born and who blames everything on his cheating snake of a father-in-law.  - Primus Inter Homines - Semjaza the Snake

 The Journey West -- in which Moe completes his epic and shows it to his uncle Abe. -- Imaginary Forebears - The Lost Tablets of Ramses II - Honest Abe