Thom Nickels Releases Novellas 'Walking on Water' and 'After All This'

Book jacket for Walking on Water and After All This by Thom Nickels
Walking on Water and After All This by Thom Nickels
By A.D. AMOROSI

Philadelphia-based author Thom Nickels has written books and essays about a wide range of topics including local architecture, Catholicism, gay and lesbian legends and conscientious objectors (of which he was one during the Vietnam War). For his just-released ninth book, Nickels has penned two novellas, Walking on Water and After All This, with science fiction and spirituality as the link between each work’s alternate universes. Nickels will read from and sign copies of this new work at 5:30 PM on June 22, at Giovanni’s Room, 345 S 12th Street, Phila. PA.

This isn’t Nickels first attempt at tackling science fiction and spiritual issues in one helping. His last novel, Spore, was a rigorous work of fiction that used both idioms in which to discuss one man’s quest to discover his true sexual nature.  Nickels’ new book is a different ball of wax altogether. “In Walking on Water, there's a river that changes into a sea without warning; a dark, sunless city populated by marauding wolf-men and heroin addicts; mysterious catacombs where sinners are fried on skillets or locked in freezers to atone for their actions,” states Nickels. “In After All This, the Apocalypse has finally arrived: New York is a ghost town where the bodies of Goldman-Sachs employees are melded together like a Jacques Lipchitz sculpture.”

On a more personal level, Nickels talks with pride about the spirituality that spearheads each novella. Monastic life has fascinated him since his early 20s - he even went to a Benedictine monastery to discern whether he could actually become a monk. While there, Nickels felt a force tug at him, literally yanking him out of bed. “Ever been yanked out of bed by a pair of invisible hands? I mean invisible, not a monk hiding in the shadows, but something unseen in your room that took hold of you? That's what happened to me, and it was no dream.”

That “spirit-pulling” becomes part of Walking on Water while toying with the notion of a hierarchy of sins (“is the "sin" of homosexuality greater than the sin of heterosexual promiscuity, pre-marital sex or adultery?” he asks). In After All This, Nickels tapped into what he calls his “sketchy bisexual history” to tell the story of cosmic world events that cause gays to become straight, and vice versa. Whether read in one helping or separately, each work is intriguing.

For more information on Nickels’ reading:
Giovannisroom.com/event/reading-thom-nickels

Book jacket photo ©Thom Nickels

Posted on Saturday, June 22, 2013