"As for me, I make no distinction between the great religions of the world and the lesser if I happen to offend some tenet that you hold sacred, I plead not guilty to your charge of religious bigotry. I blaspheme with equal facility in all faiths." Earl Carlson

And so the reader is bluntly introduced to Blasphemies And Bloviation, an intriguing collection of short stories by Earl Carlson. Tackling everything from unrequited love to time travel to religious vs. actual history, Carlson's opus is an eye-opening treatise on the hidden inclinations of nature that we all possess.

Consider, for example, the tale of a sharp young professor who's approached by a groupie of his - only she's from the distant future. Or a man who has a deep conversation about life with God Himself - while both of them enjoy a good smoke. Or a man who waits years to find his perfect woman - then is quickly rejected by her when she tells him she's holding out for her perfect man. And even a man who struggles with the concept of eternity all his life - and one day is suddenly brought face-to-face with the prospect of it. From beginning to end, Carlson's thought-provoking stories bring the reader head-on with the everyday preconceived notions to which we've all become accustomed - only in a not-so-subtle plea to question precisely why we take such "truths" for granted.

Perhaps the most salient aspect of Blasphemies And Bloviation is Carlson's unabashed approach to the virtual reality of lives lived in willful deceit. By confronting the accepted, mainstream paradigm of human existence - over and over again - he manages to strip away the thin outer layer of glib comfort, exposing its not-so-pleasant underbelly of hard, jagged - but much-needed - truth. In doing so, Carlson succeeds in invoking original thought in the reader in a way that would not otherwise be possible via less straightforward means.

Unique, comical, and a bit askew - but ultimately effective - Blasphemies And Bloviation accomplishes just what the author sets out to achieve: no matter your background or faith, you will surely be equally offended and enlightened by this unapologetic collection.

Regina Kingston, Apex Reviews

Open to any page in this book, and the first thing you will notice is the author's infatuation, as he happily admits in Butterflies and Bludgeons, with the English language. He appears to be as much concerned with the sound of a word as he is with its literal meaning. From ". . . filling the air around him with the music of their voices and the allure of their feminine pheromones." to ". . . whipping the waves into boiling ferment, and hungering to clutch the careless mariner to its scabrous breast." to "While flowers turn toward the light, men cloak their judgment in shadowed superstition. And decisions, darkly wrought, bear dreadful consequence," he lays down each syllable of text as a baroque composer applying notes to his score. There are passages in this book that cry out for piano accompaniment.

His character names range from Spartan: the boy and the mother in "Perpendicularity" or Somebody in "Somebody Died"; to Dickensian: Cynthia Dimbles or Ezekiel Qweeze; to shameless puns: Major J. P. Staggerholm and Reverend Gideon Goodbook.

Of the philosophical points proposed in this book, I will say only that they appear to be original, well thought out and clearly expressed. Though the author must have felt the need for further clarification, in an afterward, of his views on multi-dimensional time.

I found this book to be intellectually stimulating, and a rollicking good read, to boot. I look forward to more from this writer.

K. Salava

"Blasphemies and Bloviation" is marvelous book! Not only will it make you laugh out loud, you will catch yourself pondering some of his more esoteric ideas while waiting for your next glass of wine at Big Alice's. Mr. Csrlson uses the English language the way that Pinchas Zuckerman uses a bow. Go at once and buy, beg, borrow, or steal this book to insure that the author will delight us with yet another collection of his works.

Caren Swain

Talk about thinking "outside the box" From his Forward to his Afterward and everything in between. It will make you question things you've always taken for granted. Each story makes you stop and think before going on to the next one no matter the length or subject.

I have never been inspired to write a review before, but this one has certainly inspired me.

More Mr. Carlson, please more.

Charla Harris, "avid reader"