Dominion (Preface to Evergreen)
I look down and see a tiny ant, perhaps a baby,
no more than a few grains of sand in length.
It is moving along on a path it has set, determined,
unaware that another creature could be so immense and so close.
Without thinking I press it against my index finger.
Without a sound I end its life.
Gone is its destiny, for what it's worth to me, extinguished,
not even an impact on my skin, then a rinse.
How fortunate I am not to be bound to the footsteps of giants,
not to be fated by broader forces beyond my control.
Then, after a moment's reflection, it becomes uncomfortably clear.
That brutal end to a small, purposeful life could have been my own.
And I think, my God, what have I done?
What have I become?
~ A.S. Ziner
The greatest challenge facing us at the dawn of the 21st Century is that we’re raising a generation of pre-teens and teenagers who are numb to incivility and passive to do anything about it. Personal responsibility and the practice of hard work have turned inward to an entitlement mentality. Civic engagement has been co-opted by “What’s in it for me?” I’m certainly not the first to trumpet this concern about our nation’s youth. Our most vital response is not to blame or ignore them but, instead, to reconnect with them – as parents, grandparents, mentors and teachers – through storytelling in a principled and exciting way. America in the Twenty-First Century cries out for a new sense of civility more than ever – and you, together with your children – provide the seeds to undo the dominion that characterizes our social and political landscape.
Since its publication in April 2009, “Evergreen: A Space-Time Odyssey” (or “EG”) has been nationally recognized as a fast-moving, gripping adventure tale packed with inventive and engaging ways to bridge this divide (Teaching Sociology, July 2010). Experience a thrilling, personally felt journey and share teachable moments about values and principles of civility through memorable characters: from the witty and fun-loving to the monstrous and unimaginably evil. Placed in a distant world with dark parallels to our own, this social science fiction novel includes three related tales, each of which can be read separately for different purposes and with different rewards. EG is the first volume in a gripping social science fiction trilogy that, according to Humanity and Society (2009), is "an instant classic.”
EG opens with an adventurous and powerful industrialist risking all to explore mysterious and forbidden caves the women of his city spoke of across twelve generations; a story which men scoffed at and dismissed as an old wives’ tale. As often before in matters of gender dispute, the women’s story has more than merit, and the ill-prepared explorer comes to learn that his world is endangered by horrific events he may or may not be able to help mitigate. The second story highlights the brave efforts of a female scientist to keep her cutting-edge research into artificial intelligence from serving nefarious ends. The city’s leading corporate power-holder, a crazed villainous uber-capitalist, wrestles control from her and, as in the first tale, no clear resolution is yet provided. Finally, the third tale is shared from the perspective of a colorful assortment non-humans whose fate is linked to that of Evergreen – a fascinating and mind-expanding approach that is resolved in the apocalyptic climax to the first volume.
Underlying these three tales are creative opportunities to encourage the next generation to be passionate about civic responsibility and engagement toward fellow creatures, human or otherwise, to overcome their numbness to incivility. Also are clear lessons about the folly of unbridled, irresponsible capitalism for the present and future of all species who share in the finite resources of a land.
Sharing this novel, its evocative scenarios and thought-provoking dialogue, with a loved one will open her or his eyes to parallels in our own world and produce a fresh view of a world taken-for-granted – its splendor and its madness. Above all, EG provides an unforgettable journey that offers a simple but profound philosophy in the midst of a fury of genuine chills, penetrating suspense and awe-inspiring battles about prophecy and its fulfillment, about the collision between science, civility and nature, and about all the universal forces that govern a planet's environment. At the core of the story's refreshingly principled optimism, witty and fun-loving characters, and dark, intense imagery is an evolving supernatural and science fiction foundation where moral development and technological innovation, cultural conflict and cosmic upheaval, and full-scale inter-species war have profound implications for the world of Evergreen – and, perhaps, your own.
Goose Bumps and Gumption about a World of Portent
I have been teaching sociology and social psychology in higher education for 27 years. My personal energy here is not only to write compelling and memorable fiction but also to write fiction which, by design, compels sufficient, civil energy to create and sustain needed social change (in the end, the people of Evergreen will build a bright new future by creating a jaw-dropping, synergistic world of sight, sound, participation and travel which, through Gaia and her SkyRails progeny, embodies the Golem's code). Through an original, organic, odyssey about an ill-fated, far-away world with dark parallels to our own, EG is conceived to accomplish vicariously what others try to achieve by preaching or legislating (or both). Solutions played out in this trilogy are designed to stretch the minds of our next generation of movers and shakers and have them ask, "Why can't we do that? Okay, some of that." So, after twenty-three years of engaging bright but vexed college students in classroom dialogue about matters of social injustice and, at a time when a desperate America cries out for a reigning ethos of civility, mutual respect and forward thinking, EG is written to give expression to these concerns. The birth of Gaia represents the birth of civility's reign - an allegory on dominion. It all starts in the book's preface with a sonnet aptly titled “Dominion.”
In November 2009, I was given the opportunity to submit EG to BermanBraun in Santa Monica, CA for consideration as a feature film. Cool, nyet? On December 1, 2009, I received a response that, as a fresh, unique face in literary fiction, I believe is quite encouraging. Mr. Andrew Mittman, who oversees feature film development for BermanBraun, stated in an email “I thoroughly enjoyed reading your book and found many of the ideas incredibly intriguing.” Now these are words I like to hear. “Coming out of the gates on the film side,” he added, “Evergreen is just too big in scope for us right now.” So, that was my sendoff. I can’t help but wonder what Mr. Mittman meant by adding “right now.” Clearly, I need to find a bigger film studio to develop EG. Where’s Steven Spielberg or James Cameron when you need them?
I recommend viewing the captivating music video book trailer and taking a brief audio-visual journey through the book's chapters on my website, as well. If you are intrigued and would like a free copy in ebook format, all you need to do is email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and type SEND EG in the subject line. I am confident that once you begin reading EG you'll want to buy it and share the story with others. It's that simple.
When you are ready to purchase an inscribed soft cover first edition of EG for $9.99 (with its redwood carved cover and gold-leaf symbols), please visit the World of Evergreen online (or click here). The soft cover edition sells for $18.95 online at Amazon.com and in bookstores worldwide. Of course, none offer an inscription option. The hard cover edition also is available at these same outlets.
Don't forget to contact me to receive the first edition (.pdf file, virus-free) of Evergreen: A Space-Time Odyssey for free and begin your journey!
Please consider forwarding this webpage to friends, parents and grandparents who you feel will enjoy sharing a thrilling, heartfelt, fantasy adventure with their children or grandchildren who are ten years of age and older. Be sure to email me about your experience reading EG!
Thank you for your consideration and time,
“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly.” - R. Buckminster Fuller
A.S. Ziner's Philosophy, Experience & Applied Practice in Program Evaluation
Teaching Philosophy ('86-'09)
Applied Research ('86-'09)
Academic Research ('86-'09)
Research Firm ('96-'09)
Birthplace: Manhattan, NY
Date Published: April 28, 2009
ISBN: 978160594-243-8 (Soft Cover)
ISBN: 978160594-244-5 (Hard Cover)
ISBN: 978160594-245-2 (e-Book)
Publisher: Llumina Press, Llumina Stars
Pages: 368, Size: 6" x 9", Retail Price: $18.95 (soft cover)