Escape From Heaven by J. Neil Schulman

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Escape From Heaven
J. Neil Schulman

What would you do
if God prayed to you for help?

"This is Duj Pepperman and you're on 680 K-TALK."

"Duj, this is God, calling from Heaven. I can't believe I got through. I'm one of your biggest fans!"

With this first-ever call-in from God, an L.A. radio talk-show host is sent on a mission from God that takes him to Heaven - then back to earth - on a rollercoaster adventure that includes meetings with the most famous celebrities in Heaven and on earth. Along the way he learns the origins of our universe, the meaning of life, and how the War between God and Satan will turn out. A comic journey that is inspiring atheists, agnostics, Christians, and Jews, and is generating controversy even among Evangelical Christians!


Library of Congress Catalog
Card Number: 2001097315
6" x 9" Hardcover
Click Here to

ISBN No. 1-58445-192-0
List Cover Price: $31.95


The Author's eMail to His Friends
Introducing the Book

Yesterday, October 1, 2001, would have been the 86th birthday of my dad, Julius Schulman, who passed on September 9, 2000. Yesterday, I completed the writing of my short comic novel, Escape from Heaven, which I started outlining around 1992. The book is dedicated to him, and to God. You'll see how I manage that. ...

These are disturbing times. I'm hoping a light treatment of weighty matters will be appropriate to them. I kept in mind while writing this novel that C.S. Lewis published, and read live on the BBC, his novel The Screwtape Letters while London was being firebombed in World War II.

If you are a stickler for the conventions of traditional religious expression, I give you fair warning that there is plenty that might be offensive in this novel. If the potential of encountering heresy or even blasphemy concerns you, you can [ignore this eMail]. I do not follow either Jewish or Christian conventions for the typographical presentations of the names of the Deity, nor do I present a conventional view of the Deity. I'm hoping my departure from convention is justified by the purpose of this novel.

I've been in my lifetime an atheist, an agnostic, and a believer. This novel is about my path on that journey as much as anything else. In addition to a starring cast of historical figures, some of my favorite authors, many of them passed, are in the novel as characters. Also look for some buried jokes that only people from the worlds of science fiction and fantasy, and libertarian politics, will get ... and several tributes in particular to Robert Heinlein, Ayn Rand, and C.S. Lewis.

And I get to have Charles Lindbergh save the universe.

This was written as a comedy in the classical meaning of that word. I consider it a work of apologetics. I'm dealing with the subject matters of theology, secular philosophy, cosmology, ethics, esthetics, psychology, and politics. I've done my best to make it funny but my intent is deeply reverential. I'm trying to say some important things about the human condition and our place in existence. That does not get done without the risk of offending many people.

If you're looking for novels before this that have attempted similar things, you can start with The Divine Comedy by Dante; a wonderful retelling of that by Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven titled Inferno; and three other of my favorite books, The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis; Job: A Comedy of Justice by Robert A. Heinlein; and The Jehovah Contract by Victor Koman. ...

Warm regards,
October 2, 2001

What Best-selling Authors are Saying!

Jerry Pournelle's Chaos Manor Book of the Month!
"Just plain fun ... J. Neil Schulman's Escape From Heaven is a romp, an attempt to rewrite C.S. Lewis's The Great Divorce, with the theology removed. It's fair to say that Schulman, behind the pure fun he's having, has the serious Miltonic purpose of justifying God's ways to man. Milton would have thought him a heretic, and I suspect C.S. Lewis would have said Schulman (like Heinlein in Job) missed the point; but for all that it's a good read, and if the assumptions annoy you that might make you rethink your own: no bad thing ... I found I kept reading to the end."
- Jerry Pournelle, author of Janissaries, co-author with Larry Niven of Lucifer's Hammer, The Mote in God's Eye & Inferno writing on

"I thought I was royally entertained."
- Larry Niven, author of the Ringworld series, co-author with Jerry Pournelle of Lucifer's Hammer, The Mote in God's Eye & Inferno

"Wild, weird, irreverent and a hoot. Any other civilization would have burned Schulman at the stake by now. Did they know something we don't?"
- David Brin,
author of The Uplift Saga, The Postman & many others

"Schulman has humour, wit and imagination, and I devoured this latest offering with pleasure."
- Colin Wilson,
author of The Outsider, After Life: Survival of the Soul, The Philosopher's Stone, The Mind Parasites & many others

"A fast-moving interesting story with surprising developments as Good and Evil face their final struggle. A challenging novel that should annoy all the right folk."
- Piers Anthony,
author of the Xanth series & many other bestsellers

"J. Neil Schulman's Escape from Heaven is so heretical it threatens a new orthodoxy and so comic that it is one of the most serious novels you will ever read."
- Brad Linaweaver,
author of Anarquia, Moon of Ice, Sliders, The Novel and the Doom series

"It is the God damnedest thing I've ever read. If C. S. Lewis, Robert A. Heinlein, and Ayn Rand had teamed up to write a novel, something like Escape From Heaven would have inevitably resulted. I say `something like' because this blistering satire of contemporary culture, religion, and politics could only have been written by J. Neil Schulman."
- John DeChancie,
author of Witchblade: Talons, Castle Perilous, and MagicNet

Controversial among both Non-believers and the Devout!

Featured August, 2002 Selection: Rational Review!
"Most readers of libertarian fiction and non-fiction are familiar with J. Neil Schulman, whose classics Alongside Night and The Rainbow Cadenza have long stood as examples of how it's done ...This time around, Schulman takes on God, and it's a read you'll remember. ... I'm pretty much set in the notion that comparing a writer to Heinlein is nigh unto blasphemy in most cases. There was only one Old Man, and his like shall not pass this way again. ...  What makes this book genuinely Heinleinesque is the wonder of creation, life and existence from a spiritual point of view ...  Escape from Heaven is on a par with Heinlein's Job: A Comedy of Justice. It's the other side of the coin that Victor Koman flipped in The Jehovah Contract. It could be the new Screwtape Letters. It wasn't written as a substitute for, or to serve the precisely the same functions as, The Last Temptation of Christ or The Great Divorce, but I'd have no problem putting it on the shelf next to either or both of those classics. ... Naturally, the work is thoroughly libertarian. It's also uproariously funny, continuously thought-provoking and worthy of even more adverb-laden encomia than I'm giving it here. Schulman's fans will not be disappointed and those who are reading his work for the first time likely won't be reading it for the last time."
- Thomas L. Knapp, Rational Review

"It is so sacrilegious in content that I have not yet found it at all funny."
- Douglas Gresham, Rathvinden Ministries, Ireland, in a letter to the author

"A huge mockery of the Christian faith, full of all kinds of heretical ideas."
- Pat Goltz, Christlib

"I had expressed concern that publishing your article on the book might direct people to a book of blasphemy. You responded by suggesting I read it myself before prejudging it. Well, it obviously isn't necessary to read the book to find out. Your reviews right on the back cover brag that that is what it is.
"So why did you want me to read it to find out when you knew the answer at the outset? Am I supposed to be open minded and tolerant of blasphemy? Or did you just want to expose me to it for jollies? Friends don't treat friends like that.
"I'm sorry, but considering that your reviewers describe it as blasphemy for all faiths and 'a deliciously reverential offense,' there is no need to open it to find out. I can take their word for it, which was available before you sent it. Any Christian who can be open minded and tolerant of blasphemy isn't a Christian. And any friend who expects that isn't. It belongs in, and is in, file 13.
"I'm sure you will make a lot of money off the book, and have a great time blaspheming for fun and profit. And one day we'll both know if it was worth it.
"I've said before I don't doubt your religious experiences. I just hold suspect the identity of your god. The cover of your book makes clear it isn't mine."
Oral Deckard, Editor The Vigo Examiner, in a letter to the author

"What a fun book! I pretty much read it all in one sitting. Escape from Heaven is definitely not orthodox as it contemplates ideas from Christianity, Judaism, and Gnosticism. But it reflects an authentic encounter between Jesus and the author, and Schulman doesn't take cheap shots. The first page grabbed me, and the rest of the book was fast-moving and full of surprises. I enjoyed the book as entertainment, but I found Schulman's ideas on free will theologically stimulating."
- Chris B. McKinney, missionary, Philippine Christian Mission

"As a helper of the Native Elders (and elders of other races) in the United States and Canada, it is part of my job to read them books to show them perspectives from other religions and ways. The Elders in my village have decided that this is a good way to find out how other people live and think. They have taken Escape from Heaven and acted it out for fun. The Elders think this book is great, and funny, and spiritually enlightening. God is funny, too.Ē
- Harmony Firedancer, author of Rainbow Healing

"I stopped reading after I had consumed everything Robert Anton Wilson wrote up to about '92. Escape from Heaven held me as spellbound as the Illuminatus! Trilogy. Though half blind, and knowing I was straining my eyes, I read until there was nothing but a blur. The novel is a brilliant Discordian way of looking at conventional religion. The characters were brought to life and had depth and substance. The plot was fantastic, the meter of the book consistently building to a perfect ending. The lovers are reunited, and you don't know who would have won. Overall I give it a 10."
- J.R. Ploughman, editor, The Book of the Holy Grail, author of Varena and her Cats, Illuminati Connection, Sacred Magick of the Angels & Lost Treasure of Eris

"This amazing--and funny--book begins with the last earthly hours of radio talk show host Duj (rhymes with judge) Pepperman, as he receives an unheard of call-in from God, and is summoned home to heaven. There he receives an unexpected assignment and learns some surprising things about God, including the fact that God looks just like him. And that's just for starters.
"Soon Duj is involved in the climactic battle of God and Satan, conducted as a political campaign, with assistance from some of the greatest minds in history, not least of which is a man author Schulman has always admired--Robert Heinlein. All this is related in snappy, irreverent dialogue that will keep you laughing. But there is more.
"In fact, there is lots more, and I won't spoil it for you. Schulman turns all the major religions upside down and shakes them. His ideas about God, Jesus, Satan, Adam and Eve, are totally unorthodox. What is he doing? It sounds a lot like midrash--a kind of teaching story that Jewish scholars use to teach theological principles. What is he saying? That God is really, really good. That God took a tremendous risk in creation, and in giving us free will. That God wants us, his children to be free and creative and--well--godlike.
"Is Schulman a mystic, teaching us Kabbalah or Gnosis? Is he doing midrash cloaked in outrageous humor? Or is he just having fun? You will have to decide for yourself. And I hope you will. This is a marvelous book and I hope you will read it. Maybe more than once."
- Louis N. Gruber, MD, author of Jay: A Spiritual Fantasy and Psalms Breathing: Meditating the Psalms With Music, Movement and Silence

Comparisons to Mark Twain!

"Escape From Heaven is the sequel to Mark Twain's Letters From The Earth. It is a novel that spoke to me."
- Erskine, Erskine Overnight

"Escape from Heaven is a masterpiece of satire in the tradition of Mark Twain's Letters from the Earth and The Diaries of Adam & Eve. It is a divine comedy in the original sense of the term. The book may offend some partisans of organized piety whose faith is so frail that it can't take a joke, but I can't think of any other book that is quite so serious about the concept of Christian love and forgiveness."
- Robert Schneider, author, Shylock, The Roman

Praise from all Corners!

"Full of jokes, puns, and outrageous concepts joyfully explored ... This novel doesn't purport to explain it all to you, rather, it takes you along for a wild intellectual ride."
- Lynn Maners, Prometheus

"It's quite a ride. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
- Keith Gottschalk, WJBC, Bloomington, IL

"The Pilgrim's Progress of the 21st Century."
- Samuel Edward Konkin III, author of An Agorist Primer

"Nothing but fun except where it was thought-provoking and that was fun too!"
- Dyanne Petersen, Laissez Faire Books

"What a deliciously reverential offense! A little heretical blasphemy for all flavors of believers, agnostics and atheists. An edgy little book that defies categorization. A guaranteed mega-bestseller. It ought to make $$$$ like The Celestine Prophecy."
- Teny Rule, Fandom Publicist for Ralph Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings

"Did you ever wonder about the really big questions? Why are we here? Is there a God? If there is a God, why do bad things happen? Is reincarnation a real possibility? Evolution, Christianity, and other religions? Now, you don't have to wonder any more. In Escape from Heaven, J. Neil Schulman answers all of these questions, and more, in a side splitting style that had me laughing at the not so obvious, but perfectly plausible, answers. Schulman manages to do this in a page turning adventure yarn that kept me up reading most of the night, until I forced myself to get some sleep. This book is a joyous adventure about the meaning of life. It is fun. Get it, read it...and you can't help but think of some of the deeper meanings in the deeper jokes. God must have a great sense of humor."
- Dean Weingarten, firearms instructor & libertarian activist

"Escape from Heaven is a very edgy and entertaining work. It has tremendous laugh value. Itís also imaginative and thought provoking, and proposes some novel twists to ancient theological issues. Nonetheless, itís very much a product of our times with its irreverent and ecumenical spirit and its encounter with democracy, including the lovable monster of celebrity culture. That should all help its marketability and filmability. Finally, some important plugs for Libertarianism are worked into the text."
- Joseph O'Neill, Ph.D., Professor of Cognitive Neurophysiology

"An intriguing theological fantasy. In Escape from Heaven, Schulman explores deep theological and philosophical questions in a fast-paced, lighthearted tale. In doing so, he steps on just about every major religion's toes, as well as non-religion. If you are the sort who can't laugh at religious topics, this book is not for you ... but you probably should read it, in order to grow some. ... As original as Alongside Night and The Rainbow Cadenza, but not as obviously pro-freedom as they are, Escape From Heaven is very well written. Sure, he includes the usual members of the freedom pantheon, which most will either love or hate (I loved them), but the bulk of the story is not about freedom. It's about religion, done up in Schulman's unique style. As an atheist (former christian), this didn't particularly appeal to me, but the humor and the fast pace kept me reading clear through to the end. The light tone also makes it fairly easy to gloss over some of the Deep Ideas Schulman presents ... but if you re-read it, you may find yourself considering those ideas and asking some Deep Questions of your own. "
- Sunni Maravillosa, psychologist and writer, co-founder, Liberty Round Table

Right-wing religious fundamentalists will be offended because J. Neil Schulman has the audacity to imagine and bring God and Heaven down to Earth -- literally. Left-wing political activists will be offended because J. Neil Schulman portrays neurotic activism as Evil -- although he kindly allows as how Satan means well. The readers in the middle, without wings, right or left, but with a sense of humor and a craving for a book that's in no way a regurgitation of dozens other books they've already read, will be delighted. Imagine Good and Evil, Jesus and Satan, competing for public attention on talk shows. Imagine the fate of the Universe hanging in balance depending on the outcome of an election. Imagine Jesus with a 'tude and Satan with emotional baggage. Imagine and take it as far as you can -- and J. Neil will be two steps ahead of you, with an outcome that you can't imagine, yet which will make perfect sense. And oh, by the way, you will get an answer to the sacramental question "If there's God, how come He allowed all those atrocities committed in the (insert era in question)?" The only issue I have with Escape From Heaven is Schulman's unbridled worship of Ayn Rand and Robert Heinlein. I wish he'd cool it a notch and take a better look at himself. Plot-wise, characterization-wise, style-wise, and plain humanity-wise, Schulman is a writer far, far superior to either of them. "
- Olga Gardner Galvin, stand-up comic and film critic

"Escape from Heaven reads like something J. Neil Schulman had too much fun writing. That can be tricky ground for a writer, but the results here are splendid. Not only does Schulman take an interesting conceit and run with it to great effect, but his cosmological speculations are actually quite entertaining in and of themselves, and could give any number of "New Age" writers a serious run for their money--or their crystal collections. Schulman's riffs about Adam and Eve, Jesus and Satan add some intriguing philosophical heft to what is already an enjoyable fantasy with a lot to say about freedom and human existence. It's this level of just enough plausibility that separates the great satire from the merely good and funny satire. Whether intended or not, Schulman has produced a philosophical tour de force--as well as a very, very entertaining read."
- Beth Elliott, bass player for Bucktooth Varmints, radical bohemian writer

J. Neil Schulman is one of those writers whose work never fails to excite my imagination. His other two novels, Alongside Night and Rainbow Cadenza, each written about 20 years ago, still are among my favorites and ones I often recommend to friends. So it was with great delight that when I got the chance to meet him in person recently at a conference in Las Vegas, we talked for several hours about his work and just life in general. I also received from him a signed copy of Escape from Heaven, his latest novel, and took to reading it right away, finishing it before I got home from the conference. This is fun stuff! Few but Neil would have the ability to tell a story of what's really going on behind the scenes in the historical story of God vs Satan in such a funny way. Duj Pepperman... goes to Heaven to meet with the Trinity, the royal family of the celestial realm. Satan is plotting a civil war and the scrawny little bitch has all the style of a spoiled teenage girl rebelling against her rich parents. So Duj is given the task of ralling the troops for the side of God in the earthly realm when the revolution comes. We learn facinating things like why Jesus has not made it to Earth more than a few times since his assention and ...why humans are more loved by God than angels, even though they seem superior in so many ways? Who were Adam & Eve really? And why the question of Meaning in the universe is the very contention of God vs Satan. This story will have you entertained in a way you have not been so by any other book. And incidently, I am a Bible-believing Christian saying this: many of Neil's concepts are not biblical, but that did not stop me from enjoying this story and got me thinking on a few points where the Bible is silent. As theological fantasy, it is a helluva good time!
- Kerry Pearson, "Lux Lucre"


If you're a book reviewer and wish to download an Adobe Acrobat PDF copy of this book for review, please email your request to


Soon to be a
Major Motion Picture!


the first two chapters
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the first two chapters
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More Excerpts
"The History of Creation"
"The Gospel According to Jesus"
from chapters Six and Seven
as an extra free bonus sample!


I Met God by J. Neil Schulman

The fantastic visions of Escape from Heaven are based on real encounters with God experienced by its author, J. Neil Schulman. He discusses these encounters in his new audio book, I MET GOD.
Listen to audio excerpts from the new audio book in which J. Neil Schulman describes his "mind-meld" with God!


Listen in RealAudio®
to J. Neil Schulman's first radio interview

talking about Escape From Heaven
Keith Gottschalk Show
on WJBC, "The Voice," Bloomington, IL, 08/20/02

Listen in RealAudio®
to J. Neil Schulman's next radio interview

talking about Escape From Heaven
Erskine Overnight ,
broadcast 09/29/02

Listen in RealAudio®
to J. Neil Schulman

talking about Escape From Heaven, and the spiritual development which led him to write the novel
The Chuck Morse Show, WROL, Boston,
broadcast 10/23/02

Listen in RealAudio®
to J. Neil Schulman's first radio interview discussing Escape from Heaven and other topics on
Cyber City hosted by Jack Landman,
broadcast 01/05/03

Listen in RealAudio®
to J. Neil Schulman's second radio interview discussing Escape from Heaven and other topics on
Cyber City hosted by Jack Landman,
broadcast 02/23/03


Library of Congress Catalog
Card Number: 2001097315
6" x 9" Hardcover
Click Here to

ISBN No. 1-58445-192-0
List Cover Price: $31.95


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Learn more about J. Neil Schulman on his website, The World According to J. Neil Schulman.

Read J. Neil Schulman Biographical Info.

Read Interviews with J. Neil Schulman.

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