V. Mark Covington

Fantasy/Humor Novelist- Playwright

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Heavenly Pleasure Review from the Pagan and the Pen

Fantasy stories have traditionally been about, at their heart, the battle between good and evil. The best stories, fantasy or not, have protagonists that aren’t completely altruistic and antagonists that are complex. This makes everybody interesting and it removes predictability from the story. I loved hearing the Devil’s take on Dante’s circles of Hell, especially since they came during the Reverend’s sermon and they were delivered to a scandalized, pious young snake charmer fated to fill the role of the Antichrist.

 In Heavenly Pleasure, Mark Covington has created a riveting cast of characters and has woven a masterful, intricately-detailed tale. I loved the author’s sense of humor, an important device when dealing with fate-of-the-world issues. I laughed out loud—real laughter, not just little chuckles—several times. His humor strips events to the bare bones, laying dogma naked and removing all apologies. He skillfully uses a host of literary devices, including allusion and irony. He mocks his own imagery. He portrays the dregs of society in a completely human and humorous light. He makes us see the people behind their appearances and labels.

Covington’s ability to handle multiple characters and multiple viewpoints while maintaining a cohesive plot is amazing. I felt as if I knew each one of them, and I liked them, flaws and all. The cast of characters—Eve the inventor, John the chronicler, Kali the ‘Mary’ figure, Clay the antichrist, Angel the angel, Ted and Eric the sex shop owners, Theiron/Poole the vampire, God the ice cream man, Devil the consultant—each of these people play critical parts in the fight between good and evil, which turns out to be more of an ideological disagreement. 

However, it’s an ideological disagreement at the heart of all dogmatic battles, and that’s what appealed to me. Like Mikhail Bulgakov’s literary masterpiece The Master and Margarita, Heavenly Pleasure takes aim at what’s wrong with society using God and the Devil as literal interpretations of a metaphorical critique. Covington’s God doesn’t care about organized religion. He doesn’t care about religion at all. Behavior matters. Morals matter.  Choices matter. At the heart of the Pagan belief system, we throw away all outward trappings of dogma to concentrate on what really matters—who we are, what we do, and how we treat life around us. Heavenly Pleasure speaks to the heart and soul in a way few things ever can.  


Mark's Recommended Reading 

 

Below are some of my favorite authors and some of their books:

Andrew Fox- Fat White Vampire Blues 

Michael Crichton- All good, check out  State of Fear

Robert Rankin- Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse, Withes of Chestwick

Douglas Adams-  Any of the Hitchhiker series, Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe, etc

Tom Robbins-  Still Life with Woodpecker, Villa Incognito, Skinny Legs and All, etc

John Irving- A Prayer for Owen Meany, World According to Garp, Hotel New Hampshire

Joe R Lansdale- Bad Chili, The Bottoms, Three Bear Mambo

Chris Moore- Practical Demonkeeping, You Suck (a love story) Fool, Bite Me (lots more)

Charlain Harris- Any of the Dead series, Dead until Dark, etc (True Blood Series was based on her books)

George McDonals Frasier- Any of the Flashman books. Flashman at the Charge

Eric Garcia- Any of the Rex series, Casual Rex, Anonymous Rex, Hot and Sweaty Rex

Terry Prachett-  Anything, Good Omens, Witches Abroad, Wintersmith, Hogfather, etc

Neil Gaiman- Anything, American Gods, Neverland           

Lawrence Shames-  Lots of stuff Virgin Heat, etc

Walter Miller – A Canticle for Lebowitz

Thomas Tryon-  The Other, Harvest Home

Carolyn Chute- The Beans of Egypt Maine, Latourneau’s Used Auto Parts, etc

Tim Dorsey-  Lots of stuff, Triggerfish Twist, etc

Kurt Vonnegut- Breakfast of Champions, Galapagos, Cats Cradle, Player Piano

Jasper Fforde- The Jane Eyre Affair

John Kennedy Toole- A Confederacy of Dunces

John Stienbeck- Cannery Row, Tortilla Flats, etc

Carl Hiassen- Lots of Stuff,  Striptease, Hoot, Skinny Dip

James Morrow – Towing Jehovah, Only Begotten Daughter

Tim O’Brien- Tomcat in Love

Mill Millington- A Certain Chemistry, Things my Girlfriend and I Have Fought About

Ken Grimwood- Replay

Harvey Jacobs- Beautiful Soup

Tim Sandlin- Skipped Parts