The Soul Institute by Michael D. Smith A novel by Michael D. Smith
Republished April 2024 (originally published 2015)

eBook (558 pages)
Amazon (ASIN B0191XBK2S)
Barnes and Noble (BN ID 2940152508512)
Smashwords (ISBN 9781310891809)
and other online retailers

trade paperback (556 pages)
(ISBN 9781522846901)

mass market paperback (663 pages) (ISBN 9781304406552)

Background  |  Excerpt (Chapters 1-3 in PDF format)

cover art by Michael D. Smith

Computer technician Himal Steina realizes his dream of a mythic return to the sanctuary of a vast foggy university when he’s appointed writer in residence at the Soul Institute and falls in love with one of its numerous faculty goddesses.

At Moolka Waxtor’s farewell party in the English Department offices, Derrick Dexter recoils in dismay at their out of control lovemaking in a closet minutes earlier. How can he handle an affair with his flirty cousin? Should he try to escape the oppressive Soul Institute with her? How can he deal with his wife Jipo, TSI’s ruthless administrator? But Moolka, now fully in love with Derrick, tearfully declares she’s decided to stay at the Institute even as Director Alfred Burlcron hires a midlevel computer technician from Chicago, Himal Steina, to replace her as the writer in residence. Burlcron makes Himal one of the secret ruling caste of Overcrons, but Himal falls for Moolka and begins chronicling his feelings for her in the pornographic memoir TSI is committed to publish.

Blasted by days of inhalant highs, Burlcron’s fourteen-year-old son Mitar leads the Paint Sniffing Gang on a raid to vandalize the Institute’s library, then is dumbfounded when two gang members die huffing carburetor cleaner. When gang leader Angent Tunn runs afoul of the authorities, Mitar consolidates command of the gang and orders it to assault his own house. Police break up the attack, but Mitar and his girlfriend Rhea steal her father’s Cadillac and head to Mexico.

Solis Waxtor, Moolka’s father and Derrick’s uncle, lost five hundred million dollars turning the ancient Waxtor estate into a crackpot religious school; now, after years in exile in Africa as a soldier of fortune, Uncle Solis arrives in Linstar to help the college town prepare for National Soul Day. Neither Moolka nor Derrick have seen the vile old man in years, yet to their horror he guesses at their heretofore secret union at dinner. But by now both Derrick and Moolka have each betrayed each other, and Moolka graphically reveals to the entire restaurant that she and Himal are now lovers.

Yet when Moolka hears that Burlcron has hired the Kaiser Death Gang to protect his disintegrating kingdom, she plans an escape for herself and Derrick. As the Soul Institute confronts the wild inner forces it’s so piously sought to celebrate, National Soul Day is threatened by drug-addled teenagers armed with homemade explosives and illegal Chinese machine guns.