T H E
F I C T I O N
R. F. D I E T R I C H
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
R. F. Dietrich is an English Professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa where he teaches a course in “The Apocalypse in Modern Literature & Film.” His first novel, The Final Solution, is a prophetic evocation of the Armageddon lust that consumes some people as they employ apocalyptic terrorism to vindicate their religious beliefs. Its tale of messianic ambition foresaw the events of September 11, 2001, and predicted an even darker future. In Earth Angel, his second novel, the author shifts from dark to light, from looking into a devilish future to looking wryly back upon a youthful search for love that would reconcile earth and heaven. Both novels derive from the author’s realization that literature can still serve a religious function, as at its origins; it’s just a question of getting back to a religion that celebrates human creativity as part of divine creativity, as religion did at its origins. In his latest work he turns to playwriting, dramatizing in Alphabetical Order a free-for-all shootout among professors, students, and administrators in American higher education that is presided over by the Lord of Misrule and suggests why an apocalypse might not be a bad idea.
Earth Angel is a wryly narrated nostalgia piece about the laughable but lovable 1950s in small town America. On movie dates then the hormonal honey pot was constantly stirred by the likes of such voluptuous Hollywood angels as Marily Monroe, Liz Taylor, Jane Russell, Sophia Loren, Brigette Bardot, Jayne Mansfield, and on and on. This was especially tormenting if you dated a girl who looked like Marilyn Monroe but whose angelic ambitions were only of the biblical sort. This is the fate of the novel’s hero, “Reverend Steve,” a young lad considering the ministry and with biblical ambitions of his own but struggling with an erotic imagination that is over-stimulated by the appearance in his Ohio town of so many gorgeous angels, both onscreen and sitting right next to him at the drive-in movie. Well, where could this lead to but to out-of-wedlock teen pregnancy? The twist here is that the teen who gets “knocked up” is the virginal “Reverend Steve.” So what did the baby look like? The last virgin birth gave rise to a whole new epoch; is that the case here?
“You know, Lord, if you don’t want any other gods before you,
you shouldn’t make sexy girls.”
Earth Angel is available in paperback and hardbound at www.authorhouse.com or at www.amazon.com, www.bn.com, or at www.addall.com and at other bookstores and websites. Look under ISBN # 1-4033-5793-5 for the hardbound and # 1-4933-5702-7 for the paperback. It is also available as an e-book from AuthorHouse.
Religion from Zoroaster to Billy Graham has featured an apocalyptic “Final Solution,” an idea given a very ugly twist by Adolf Hitler but true to the meat-cleaver, judgmental spirit of the tradition. While the apocalyptic “End of Days” had previously been wishful thinking, Hitler’s Nazis revealed that a purely man-made apocalypse would someday be technologically possible. With weapons of mass destruction becoming increasingly available, the Apocalypse needs now only a handful of True Believers to pull it off. In fact, with the rise of religious intolerance in the world, a Holocaust of Humanity is becoming increasingly likely, waiting only for just the right Beast of the Apocalypse to cue The End. R. F. Dietrich’s The Final Solution is the tale of the “slouching toward Bethelehem” of just that rough beast and Wolf Berlin’s desperate attempt to forestall him. This struggle is thrown into doubt by the irony that this rough beast is an old soul mate of Wolf’s, who tempts Wolf with the roles of Peter and Paul in his new, post-Apocalypse religion. Or so Wolf tells us. Can Wolf, a card-carrying member of Actors’ Equity, be believed?
“Religion is going to be the death of us, if the lack of it doesn’t get us first.”
—–from Wolf Berlin’s Holy Wars
The Final Solution is available in paperback at
Look under ISBN # 0-595-13263-1.
For more on this novel, see
Alphabetical Order is a contra-PC look at the simultaneous farce and melodrama that is higher education in America. It uses the extremes of the classroom absurdities from the 1970s on to dramatize the highly comic standoff among teachers, students, and administrators at all times and in all places that always ends in the same old shootout, never mind polite appearances.
Professor Dog, President Staffuk and the campus cops, and the know-it-all, mind-of-their-own, not-interested-in-education students, led by the voluptuous, mini-skirted, make-love-not-war Eve Alpha and the always politically motivated reactionary Bob Beta, will remind you of the anarchy that always lies in wait in every classroom and the way that it is always smashed. And thereby projects an image of the larger world. Times change, the forms of anarchy change, but the eventual suppression of it is always "alphabetical" in the sudden application of arbitrary power when things get out of hand. Alpha, sit here! Beta, sit there! Gamma, sit here! But you won't be able to sit still as this laugh-out-loud school daze drama plays itself out.
Professor Dog: The A students gave me As, the C students gave me Cs, so from now on I give everybody As. It's called "grade inflation." Where does that get us?