Dover Book

Text Box with description of Book

    Lately I have had an eerie knack for stumbling over books I really need to read. I had this one on my wish list when Dover ran a big sale, this included, plus I had a $50 off rewards coupon. I pretty much had to buy it, and when I got it, I tore into it almost immediately. I have to say, though, the description of the book is misleading. Part of it says, "Life on Earth is forever changed after the 'Chlordian Sweep,' not only on account of the struggle for survival but also because of a shift in attitudes. Survivors experience a form of enlightenment that leads them away from competitive, destructive impulses and toward unity with all life." Incidentally, Dover misspelled "Clordian!!"
    Well, that isn't exactly what the book is about, and at first I was disappointed. Everyone who is a regular reader of my articles will know that much of what is written here is very similar to what I write about, not as science fiction, but as what has/is/will happen in real life and probably pretty soon. However, the more I read, the more I liked what Ms. Karl had to say, and by the end of the book, I was quite in awe. If you are not a regular reader of my articles, please start with Bringers of the Dawn, and you will understand why all this clicked.
    Another aspect I had to get comfortable with was the fact that none of the nine stories are connected, in fact, time-wise they are very far apart, each one moving way beyond in the evolution of not only humanity, but life in the whole galaxy. And so, though I thought the book would be about Earth in the future, in fact, very little takes place on Earth at all. The main character in each, however, is an Earthling, mostly interacting or acting with someone from another planet. The other point is that it is classified as a book for young adults, and all the main characters are older children or young adults mostly in their mid-to-late teens. Another part of Dover's blurb says that the nine stories "offer optimistic, thought-provoking perspectives on the possibilities for our planet's evolution," and again, I add, it is about the evolution of the entire solar system. The thing is, in the shamanistic/holistic/metaphysical work that I do, including astral travel, these stories added a confirmation to the reality of my experience. I always say, science-fiction is the science of the future, and we can look backwards and see that it is true.
    A couple more points about this book, then I will get on with each of the stories. And I am going to mention each of the stories because they form a continuous web of the galaxy moving through the future, although no dates are given, but one has a sense that millions of years have passed. But perhaps not. Evolution is like the sequence 1+1=2+2=4+4=8+8=16, and so on, which increases immensely as each number doubles. If you have ever looked at a "Cosmic Calendar" you will also understand. Carl Sagan discusses this in his The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence. This present book, by the way, was written the year before Sagan's, in 1976, and even then she frequently mentions the issue of overpopulation and the fact that Earthlings finally "got it," making it irresponsible to have more than one child. In one story, the characters are twins, a very unusual and even embarrassing occurrence. I totally agree, and we need to grasp this concept immediately. Reducing the population to less than a billion might give us a fraction of a chance to survive here. Of course, that will happen, though not voluntarily because most of the people on the planet now are too ignorant and selfish, and are under the hugely erroneous assumption that just because they have reproductive equipment, they have a right to use it as much as they want. They will soon find out, with great horror, the folly of that attitude. And one more final point: For those of us on the path toward evolution, who understand the Reptilian Invasion eons ago, and are part of the massive, (but not massive enough) effort to rid ourselves of this vermin, this book also provides ideas for mind expansion and escape. And so, having said all that, I will move on to the stories.
The Turning Place
    This first, as all of them, only gives us a tiny glimpse of what happened during a specific event. Most of this book is a mental "fill in the blank." At this time, which is quite advanced from where we are now, the population on Earth is very small and people seem to live in isolated villages. This one appears to be in the American southwest. Earthlings are already traveling in space, and are a threat to a nearby planet, Clord, who is taking over other planets to start new communities. They are about the same in technological advancement as Earth, and see it as a threat. Earthlings are becoming nervous.
    Thirteen-year-old Georgia asks permission to go walking in the desert with her friend Krishna, and it is granted. They fill their backpacks with food, water and emergency stuff and promise to stay on the regular path. However, they come to a path that, strangely, they never noticed before, even though they know the area very well. They take it, and begin to also notice a strangeness, and finally a misty wall that has an opening. And they are not alone. They are joined by an American Indian who is an electrical engineer from one of that labs, investigating the wall. They are soon joined by a woman who is looking for her horse after it took off when she dismounted to look at a rockfall. They all decide to walk through the opening. They soon realize their error, because the opening grows more solid. They are trapped.
    They then discover two more men, mining engineers, and two adults and four children, two of the children being cousins of the other two, on their way to visit their grandparents. They all pool their supplies and find an old mine for shelter. But then something happens. The wall begins to glow, green with flashes of yellow. Then it moves outward, slowly at first, then with s whoosh and a roar it spreads out. That was the Clordian Sweep that wiped out most life on Planet Earth.
Over the Hill
    Some years had passed since the Clordian Sweep. People were few, and very isolated. Most of the land was still not fertile, so it supported only a few people. Carpa lived with her brother, but when a woman came over the hill, he decided to marry her, and Carpa had to leave because there would not be enough food. And so she wandered over the barren land, looking for some place she could live. She finds a farm with a lush garden filled with vegetables. An older boy is there who says nothing and is very cautious and anxious. Carpa soon realizes he is on his own. She tries to help, and begins harvesting the green beans and weeding the garden. The boy seems like he will allow her to stay, but is still clearly untrusting, and eventually motions for her to take her bag and leave. She does, but soon after, is tapped on the shoulder by the boy, who offers her some vegetables for her bag.
    After she walks for quite a while, she sits down to rest on top of a hill, and to her surprise, finds some edible lichen and moss. Does this mean that once again the soil will support life? Could she go back home? No, but then she sees an abandoned village below, hundreds of houses. She has found a home, with a source of water. And even better, the boy has decided he does not want to be alone and has followed her.
Enough
    Velta Akhbar is asked, on her eighty-fifth birthday, to do a broadcast for the Central Communications series for young people, "Ideas into Action." She does it, with obvious sarcasm for a system, much like today, that does not practice what it preaches. At this period on Earth, people still did not have land or space transportation because after the "Sweep," all records were lost. But it is the first story that one, exults human creativity, and two, features a spunky kid that doesn't follow the rules. Most of the other stories expand on this theme.
    During this period on Earth, when all records of previous civilization had been lost, the people developed a different education system, which included "sequestering," at least for a while, the purpose being so that kids could go off, kind of like at a retreat, and discover who they were, then focus on the area which most interested them, rather than continue in the dull generic schooling. In this story, there is a "Recovery Group" retreat, where a special child or children from each village is chosen to attend, to allow them to make discoveries and develop their ideas. Velta is pretty sarcastic about this, because she is really smart and is always inventing things that end up getting her in trouble, but they are creative inventions. No one wants to listen to her. Of course, she is a troublemaker, so she is not chosen. Instead a do-gooder named Dolbin is, which surprises no one. So Velta figures out how to hack into Central Com, the communications system, and send a message saying that she should also attend. No one questions it, so she goes.
    And while there, she discovers an underground transportation system which housed rockets or some kind of air transport. At this time, people still had to walk to get where they were going because no kind of mechanical transportation existed. At first no one would listen to her, but eventually she got some of the instructors to see what she discovered. Later in life, she goes on to invent Mechanized Transport.
Accord
    Here, Earthlings are now traveling through space again, and an era of galactic cooperation is dawning. But even more interesting is that Earthlings are discovering their own unique gifts, which has provided me with food for thought.
    Casselia Sorchum is stuck on Clord, which is fifty light years from Earth. Remember, this is the civilization that had wiped out Earth a very long time ago. Now they are here as ambassadors, but Casselia is bored and wants to go home. They have to attend a banquet. Casselia describes the Clordians thus:

Clordians were like the wind that blew around their planet, she thought. Always on the move. Busy. And yet she couldn't see that it got them anywhere. To places, yes. But they never got down into things.

    Hmm. Sounds like people around here. Anyways, her mother is behaving strangely, smiling at her in a very calm way. She gives her one of her own dresses to wear, which Casselia also finds strange. They will be dining with the Commander of All the Clords, whom Casselia really does not like. Her mother stresses that she should just "be herself."

"Just be yourself," she said again. "But be all you are. Remember all you know. That will be enough, I think."

    When they arrive at the banquet, Casselia is surprised that she is introduced to the Commander's grandson. They are encouraged to go off and get to know each other. Following her mother's instructions, Casselia remains relaxed, and chatters on, like an Earth teen would. But Vester Wrang says nothing. Instead, he begins to look ill, turning a number of different colors, then finally passes out. They are near other people, so no one can accuse Casselia of doing anything to deliberately hurt him, but still she must be investigated. She and her parents are taken to a building, while two female Clordians are to search her. But Casselia reacts by staring at the one who approaches her, and "willing her away." She runs in fear.
    As it turns out, the Commander had chosen Casselia for marriage to his grandson. (Yuk.) But the real moral of the story is that Earthlings are finally beginning to recognize their gift of "focus," setting their mind to something to will it to happen. It seems this focus was something the Clordians were not able to handle. This theme is expanded throughout the rest of the book, as Earthlings learn they can now protect themselves with their minds. From there, they evolve into beings that use their minds to propel themselves wherever they wish to go in the galaxy, and for positive and beneficial endeavors. Ya hearin' this, humans? It's what I've been saying for decades!!
Catabilid Conquest
    This is one of my favorites in the book. It is the middle story, and also, it seems, marks a mid-point, where humans are now past the recovery period and have jumped immensely to a new level. It is told by Chory, who, with her twin brother, Vana, are lamenting the "sequestering" regulation in their educational system, which they must attend in order to discover what they want to do with their lives and leave the "standard course." Generally, children and their parents participate together, but the twins live with their grandparents because their parents are off in space in their own little spaceship which delivers supplies to archaeological digs at other planets. They were supposed to come home, but now, to the children's dismay, they are not, and the two are left not knowing what to do. And at this point, it seems the sequestering part of their education is a concept beginning to wane.
    Then they come up with a brilliant and rather risky idea, and certainly a sneaky one, which many of the kids seem to adopt here—the need to lie to elders in order to get what they want . . . .
    In any case, they know their parents will be making a quick trip to a faraway planet named Frod, and so they decide to become stowaways on the spaceship and make Frod their sequestering. They carefully plan and pack supplies, and amazingly it works. It takes about a week to get there. Obviously, at this point, space travelers are flying WAY past the speed of light.
    Their experience is so much more than they could have imagined. The planet is overgrown with thick plants, and as they carefully explore, using a compass, though they know it may not be accurate, they push on, wondering if they should try to find the dig. They look behind them and suddenly realize that, with all the plants they have trampled through, there is no trail. They begin to get a little scared. Until they hear a little voice. It is a rock, kind of looking like a turtle, and it is alive. They thought the planet was uninhabited.
    But the rock is friendly. Joyful, humorous, and filled with energy. Its name is Quelot, and the planet is really Cheriba, and all the plant growth is actually being purposely created by the natives to keep other beings away, such as those who are doing the archaeological digs. And these rocks can move. They propel themselves with big jumps, and soon train the children to do the same, using "their power." (Ah, there we are again.)
    Anyways, the short of it is, the kids become sympathetic to the Catabilids and help them get the needed supplies to the dig, so they can totally engulf the area with overgrowth and force the diggers to leave. It all works, and the two realize, during this sequestering, that they would rather explore space than dig in it, understanding that there may be much more life out there than they had thought.
Quiet and a White Bush
    Here, humanity has taken another immense leap, although, as I stated before, we really don't know how much time has passed between the setting of each story. Karl has left that up to our imagination. Many of us here, now, are able to "astral travel," but most of us leave our bodies behind. In this story, humanity is now able to travel to distant place, body and all, and that theme becomes the most important one for the rest of the book. The one criteria, however, is that the traveler must know the coordinates, called the True Relation, of the place they are going, to get there and get back again.
    Menta awakens very disoriented and gradually realizes she is not on Earth. She can barely move; everything is so heavy that walking a few steps is exhausting. She hears a voice, but nothing is around to speak to her. Except a White Bush. It speaks to her mind, while she answers with her voice. The Bush, highly intelligent, can read her thoughts, to a point, and becomes excited with this new experience. Of course Menta, who can barely think for the heaviness of the planet, knows she must return home, though the Bush wants her to stay. She says she will return, but the Bush thinks probably not. She feels bad that she has sown a seed of discontent.
    She finally remembers she had wanted to go the a white planet, Crespid, and could remember the True Relation. But she could not remember how to get back home, and fears she will be stuck. The Bush senses her thoughts and calls her a "busy one." Eventually she realizes that, though she did not know the True Relation of Earth, she knows where she wants to go, and it is her will, her desire, her quietness, that helps her remember, and gets her back home. Right to her front door, where she is late for dinner.
    But something has changed within her and though she does not tell her mother what happened, (they never do in the book, an obvious distrust of adults to listen and understand), she begins to investigate the world around her with greater depth and expansion. But is when her cousin, Borin, a space traveler, visits, that she is finally able to convince someone that she is able to travel, both on Earth and far away by using her mind. And she thinks about going back to visit a very important Bush.
The Talkaround
    Astral travel, body included, is now becoming more common, but not for someone as young as Jalish Dozent, who is quite the rebel and really a pain in the butt that teachers don't even want to deal with because he asks too many questions that often the teachers can't answer. At this point, with so many people visiting other planets, there are now psychic screens everywhere so that one cannot just drop in where they are not wanted unless they have permission.
    On one particular day, no one is upset that Jalish is late to cosmology class. It gave the teacher a break while he harassed the teacher in the class before it. But he hadn't missed anything important in the cosmology class, because he was already familiar with that part of the remote galaxy. However, one thing brings him to attention. He spots a pink and green star which becomes an obsession. His research proves it is there, and he is determined to visit.
    He ends up at the Universal Movement Control Agency, and becomes a nuisance. Fnally they call his home, and his mother, who had the white noise turned up, really didn't hear or care what they said, and gave her permission to whatever.
    And so he goes, for what they thought would be a short trip—maybe five minutes. It isn't. When he arrives, he is overcome with color—all colors in waves, some large and some small. And here, Jalish, for once, stops talking, and even thinking. Each wave also has music that moves along with it and they infiltrate his mind until it is empty. "He didn't know anything else existed, not even himself."
    Later, his mind begins to creep back, and he wonders if the waves are people, and what is going to happen to him. He realizes that the waves are pumping his mind, soaking it up and he has no will to stop it. These wave are alive, beings made of pure energy, and Jalish is not in control of himself.
    The waves crowd around him, and want him to move. They show him parts of the planet, and more of his own mind returns. Then he feels hungry, and knows he's got to get it together and leave. The waves understand, and summon the "head wave," who also probes his mind. Finally it all ends. Jalish has his mind completely back, and now wants to ask questions, but suddenly, the waves are gone. He sets himself up for home, and finds himself back in the UMCA office.
    And he has a lot to tell people back on Earth. He is made Universal Spokesman, and Man of Honor in cosmology, planetology, radiology, and other branches of science. And he continues to observe the pink and green sun, whose colors wane until it turns a normal yellow.
A Central Question
    The penultimate story is also the longest, still farther ahead in the future, and greatly expands upon this idea of "beings made of energy." Ganser Wekot, from Earth is on Cora C attending the Outer Galactic Council's new school for service trainees. His best friends are Bilee, from Groad (she has four arms) and Flu-on from Xenos-D. Ganser's mother is Council Leader for Sector 5. None of them are really happy at the school, and now they have to attend a special meeting. Ganser is surprised that his mother is one of the important people who has arrived. They hope it will not be a lecture because all three are tired of learning and not doing.
    Well, that all changes. I am not going to say much, since this review is so long, and this story is more complicated, but I will give a hint that it is about going to the unexplored, and perhaps dangerous or forbidden core of the galaxy. The three friends do end up going, and once there, they are more drawn into the energy, very tired on their returns, and more and more changed each time they go. The ultimate in evolution? Getting there!
Out for the Flicker Path
    Here we switch gears to a much less evolved galaxy. Chip and Creag are out at night to see the Flicker Path. They can even see the Jar, and they talk about how someday, beings may even be able to travel in space. They are interrupted by a Voice. Two, actually. Floating heads. They are visitors and ask what the galaxy is called. The Flicker Path. Ah, yes, like the Milky Way. They ask more questions. Yes, they are having problems on their planet. The heads point out a fuzzy dot in the sky, two-million light years away, the Milky Way. The next day, the boys run to the library to read about galaxies.
    One last point about the book: at the end is "Some Notes on Sources," fictional, of course, but makes the whole thing seem more real. I dunno. It seemed real to me regardless!
    And finally a few closing personal thoughts: We might not be invaded by an alien planet, though I am certain there are aliens here, and we are well into an environmental "sweep" that can and most likely will wipe out nearly all life on Earth. And not in the next century or two, but we are well into it now. It is only a matter of time before the entire world becomes aware of its acceleration, and by then it will be WAY too late. It already is. With Fukushima killing the entire Pacific Ocean, the threat of a nuclear holocaust, and worst of all, the ongoing geoengineering programs that are, more than any other activity on this planet, decimating its entire life-support system at blinding speed.
    This book offers possibilities for those who survive, or evolve beyond the toxic 3-D world in which we are stuck. I count myself as one of those, and hope others wake up to the exciting possibilities while we still have time. Highly recommended reading!

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