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New Norman Mailer book

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NEW YORK - Norman Mailer, whose many books have taken on sex, death, war, Hitler and Jesus Christ, is now ready for his biggest subject.

"On God: An Uncommon Conversation," a series of "Platonic dialogues" between the author and literary executor Michael Lennon, will be published by Random House on Oct. 16.

"In probing, amusing, and uncommon dialogues conducted over three years but whose topics he has considered for decades, Mailer establishes his own system of belief, one that rejects both organized religion and atheism," according to a statement issued Monday by Random House.

"He presents instead an artistic God who often succeeds but can also fail in the face of contrary powers in the universe, with whom war is waged for the souls of humans."

Mailer, 84, has often talked about religion in interviews and worked in religious themes in such novels as "The Gospel According to the Son" and "The Castle in the Forest," in which he imagines a young Hitler as a prospect for Satan.

Norman Mailer takes part in a lecture at the New York Public Library on June 27, 2007, in New York. 'On God: An Uncommon Conversation,' a series of 'Platonic dialogues' between the author and literary executor Michael Lennon, will be published by Random House on Oct. 16, the publishing house announced Monday, Sept. 24, 2007 (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff)