Author: Seth Mullins
Genre: Visionary Fiction
Release Date: January 4, 2014
When an altercation outside of a performance venue nearly proves fatal, Brandon Chane begins to realize how far his life is spinning out of control. His efforts to channel his pain, frustration and thwarted loves into his music may not suffice to save him. Then he meets Saul, a crisis counselor with the soul of an ancient medicine man, and a far-reaching journey of healing - one that may teach him how to steer away from the very edge of the abyss - begins.
“All right,” Saul said with a wry smile. “I’m going to ask you for a memory. Go back as far as you can, to when you were a little kid. Tell me one phrase that you just hated, something that people would say that really provoked you.”
The answer came to me immediately: “Earth to Brandon.”
“Why? Why did that piss you off so much?”
“Because people act like they’re saying that to get your attention, but really it’s meant to put you in line. ‘Get with the program’ expresses the same thing. Think like us. Get on board with our agenda. Set your own imaginative life aside and accept what we say is real!”
“All right,” he said. “And now, who did you hear this from?”
“Teachers, mostly. Sometimes my parents.”
Saul stared off into space for a while, his chin resting on both his fists. When he finally spoke, he enunciated slowly, as if he was relaying a message that had come from a ways off.
“So we’ve isolated quite a few things right there – some beliefs that have probably benefitted you a great deal and some others that have no doubt been detrimental. And they’re all woven together so that it’s hard to distinguish one from another.”
I gaped in incomprehension, shook my head. “What beliefs?”
“Well, first off, you trusted yourself at a young age,” Saul said. “You knew that you were unique, as every person is. You thought of your individuality as something precious that you wanted to preserve and protect. And you believed that it needed protection from the world. That’s where we get into the territory of more harmful ideas that were clumped in with the beneficial ones. So tell me this: Why wouldn’t you want to get on board with whatever their program was?”
“Oh, let’s see, Saul. They’re trashing the planet; they might blow it up with one of their bombs any day now. They lie to justify starting wars. They persecute people because of their skin color. Huh, I wonder. Why wouldn’t I want to jump on that chain-gang? Beats the hell out of me! Maybe I didn’t get the program because they hadn’t managed to implant one of their computer chips into my fucking brain!”
Saul took this all quite calmly. “O.k.: That’s plenty to work with for now. So you see what we’re up against, right? You start out with this strong sense of yourself, this belief in your own insights, and yet there you were about to enter into a world that you didn’t trust at all. You have been seeing and expecting the worst in humanity; and that put you in a real conundrum, because you’re just as much a human being as anyone else. Your own distrust is destined to rebound and bite you. And probably, underneath that, you fear that you’ll become like ‘them’ no matter what you do, that it’s inevitable.” He screwed his face into an expression of mock brutality. “But you’ll resist. You won’t give an inch of ground willingly. It’s no wonder you’re a fighter.”
I glared back. “So are you trying to tell me that people don’t do these things?”
“I’m pointing out that your idea, that people are nothing but short-sighted, greedy and violent cretins, has not served you well. The human race commits all kinds of harm through its own lack of consciousness. I’m not denying that. But it has also been responsible for a great many wondrous things – things that you don’t focus on nearly so much as you do the negative aspects. You could just as easily admire people for a whole set of different reasons.”
I raised a dubious eyebrow.
“Well, you look up to me, don’t you?” Saul challenged.
I shrugged. “Yeah. I guess so.”
Saul leaned forward as far as he could. His voice dropped to an almost conspiratorial whisper.
“Maybe they were scared. Maybe they said ‘Earth to Brandon’ because they didn’t know where you were going to and they weren’t sure whether or not it was a safe place. Maybe they wanted you to get on board, to join in the circle, so that they could feel safer. The point is that we’re run by any of a million possible motives. You could give people the benefit of the doubt, instead of assuming that every time you get a directive it’s coming from somebody who wants nothing more than to blow up the world or turn you into a mental slave.”
Saul offered me a bottle of water out of his little cooler. He must have known that I needed a minute to absorb all of this. Fooling around with black magic and dipping into psychology books is nothing alongside the challenge inherent in really looking at yourself. I would soon be finding that out.
Review by J. Hooligan
To the people who are turned off by the cover:
I will admit that I signed up to review this book and read it before I actually saw the cover. It is the most unappealing part of the whole book, and I want you to know that you are missing out by turning away from this book because of it.
I had no idea what to expect when I started this book, but it was nothing like what I read.
The main character, Brandon, is dealing with a lot. I think the author did a pretty great job helping the reader connect with him. He makes a great example of why not to judge someone for their appearance. While reading this story, I couldn't help associating Brandon with a friend of mine from high school. They are both very similar. It was probably for that reason why I felt so drawn to him.
There were a few parts that felt a bit repetitive and wordy, but other than those I really enjoyed this book.
About the Author
Website // Blog // Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads // Amazon