Jacob Asher Michael is the pen name I use for my speculative fiction/historical Buddhist fantasy. My readers have compared my writings to Michael Crichton’s Arab-Viking Eaters of the Dead or the Buddhist Fantasy writings of A. A. Attanasio. My first novel won first prize at the 2006 Philadelphia Writers Conference for Science Fiction and Fantasy.
In 2010, Charles de Lint, chief reviewer of Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazine praised my first book as, “one of the most original and entertaining reads I’ve had in some time. Its delightful conceit immediately piqued my interest: What if Merlin were actually a Buddhist monk prone to hallucinations, who was taken as a slave by the Huns and transported to Europe?”
My most recent book was entitled King Arthur and the Zen Master of Shaolin,and you can thumb through it (and buy it) at Amazon.com. This story proposes that King Arthur did not die in battle, but instead fled to Europe and from wandering through Persia and up the Silk Road to China. This is a multi-cultural tale with a Roman mulatto harpist, a one-armed Hunnish boy, a foul-mouthed Persian Jew, and a Chinese Buddhist temple whose corrupted monks will kill to protect their prized silk worms. It is not your typical Arthurian spin off. Instead of charting how a boy becomes a king, it explains how sword wielding Celtic warrior transforms into a kind but grumpy Buddhist sage, still revered from Korea to Vietnam.
My first book was The Wizard Merlin: Zen Master of Camelot and you can thumb through it (and buy it) at Amazon.com. In this novel, Merlin is a kind of accidental Marco Polo of the 5th Century, having traveled from Britain through India to China and back again. This story has an international cast including a Hindu noblewoman, a Vietnamese monk, a Jewish hunchback and a black African dwarf. It is not your typical Arthurian spin off. My Merlin is a rationalist, who regards magic as bunk, druids as idiots, and knights as glorified thugs. The last thing he wants is for Arthur to become a king.
Jake’s Story Slam Videos
I periodically perform at the West Chester Story Slam, telling true stories in front of a live audience. I won two slams for these stories:
The Bravest Things I Ever Did: 8th Grade, Pennsauken Junior High
For the Love of Snoopy, the Doll not the Dog
Reviews of Jake’s First Novel
- To read Charles DeLint’s review in Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine’s “Books to Look For,” click here.
- To read Mihir Wanchoo’s review at Fantasy Book Critic, click here.
Jake’s Short Stories
- Short Story: “Look at that Cloud” in Chester County Fiction available at Amazon.