||Apr 10, 2010
eBook Fantasy/Sci-Fi. The important new novel by Zacharias O'Bryan unifies spiritual ethics with both ecological mandates and the mind-bending cosmology of cutting edge physics. Written as a science-fiction/fantasy adventure, Spirit Thorn is capturing the hearts, hopes and tears of all Seekers -- from the precocious ten-year-old to the questing adult.
Spirit Thorn, A Tale of Parallel Worlds
Spirit Thorn, A Tale of Parallel Worlds, by Zacharias O'Bryan, poses the question "Do parallel worlds exist?" Searching for proof, Professors Rodger & Cassie Swift vanish. Kestrelle, an other-world girl claiming to know their fate, tells their son Braden he must brave a whitewater, tooth-sprouting river into a land where wise vultures predict the future and blue minds inhabit lava caves. Only two powers can help: Kestrelle's Blood Thorn and Braden's vine-painted guitar.
Note: The book has been designated Science-IN-Fiction. When it is read in tandem with the website, a world of internet links exist that will illuminate everything from the Big Bang to String Theory. A Family-Read-Aloud book, Spirit Thorn is written in short chapters with lively language. (For All Ages)
Price per Download: $2.99 cents.
While pausing to consider the choices, Braden noticed vibrations in the rock: nothing harsh or threatening, but a motion more soothing, more rounded.
Curious about the vibrations’ cause, he continued downward. The spirals grew tighter. The vibrations strengthened. No longer were they just a sensation transmitted from the floor through his shoes to his feet. A definite sound had arisen, a chord perhaps, but a changing chord, more of a slow symphony. Now the harmonies were sweet, now bitter. Always they implied a direction. Tastes formed as well, not just on his tongue, but as if each skin cell could taste each molecule of air. Smells soon joined tastes, and it was impossible to say where one sense stopped and another began.
Last of all was sight. A glow emanated from below and ahead. Another hundred steps and he would be looking at its source.
At least that’s what he expected. Instead, the multitudinous vibrations lifted his feet clear of the stone and floated his body around the curve into a vast spherical chamber, a room as round as a ball, with him at the exact center. Surrounding him on all sides were faces … but none that he recognized as real faces, for he could see straight through them, straight through to more and more faces that lay beyond in more spherical layers as far as sight and mind could penetrate. Faces? More like heads, or whatever the seat of intelligence might be. These were Minds, the translucent blue shapes and outlines of millions of Minds.
A Wonderfully Crafted Book
Many books describe odysseys, but few actually bring the reader along as skillfully as this with themes that are so pervasive and consistently defined. Art and science blend and twirl like graceful dance partners. They aren't detached and uninvolved but part of a larger whole. And as the harmonies between science and art are explored, so are the harmonies between space and time, man and earth, life and death, peace and violence, piercing and healing. . . The reader has an ever-present mental image of paired sub-atomic particles - spinning and oscillating, but always linked.
Fascinating and beautifully done!
Author of: The Land of Nod -- The Artifact
A Rollicking Good Tale
I enjoyed reading the reviews about O'Bryans innovative conceptions of space and time. I agree with all of them, but I have to confess that I am not a science-fiction reader. I loved SPIRIT THORN because it is a rollicking good tale with marvelous characters. It is both an adventure story and a mystery full of near-escapes, scary creatures, and amazing settings. What a wonderful movie it would make.
Molly Greenfingers is one of the most interesting characters I've met in fiction. Despite her frightening appearance, she is one of the "good guys" and I grew to care about her more and more as the book went on. In fact, I found that I became so involved in the central characters' lives that I stayed up much too late finishing the book.
There were sections that reminded me of Mark Twain. The speeches O'Bryan's Earl and the Judge gave to the townspeople were every bit as humorous and clever as the ones Twain's Duke and the King made in HUCKLEBERRY FINN. There were times that I laughed out loud. I wanted to send the song about Hon's girth to Weight Watchers.
Speaking of songs, the book is chock full of them. The author must be a musician because his songs beg to be sung. Some were funny; others were heart-wrenching. All showed O'Bryan's poetic flair. What a fine writer he is. What a delightful book he has written.
Dr. Susan Roper
Emeritus Dean of Education
Cal Poly State University
Your Own Back Yard May Not Be in This Universe
There are science fiction tales that feature amazing technology (space ships that travel at warp speed) and those that feature extraterrestrial life forms (predators hunting humans as trophies). And then there are tales that make you think of what might be going on in your backyard--or in the backyard as it might exist in a parallel but unseen universe where the dimensions of space and time are appended to ones governing harmonies and disharmonies.
Zacharias O'Bryan's Spirit Thorn is a tale that asks the reader to ponder how our imprinted notions of space and time might require modification if suddenly nothing heretofore known explains such phenomena as the disappearance of family figures and the shifting in space and time of rivers, forests, towns and universities.
Spirit Thorn is aimed at young adult readers, or should I say, at persons whose minds are still agile enough to ponder alien beings who aren't our enemies, persons seeking truths beyond the Jeopardy definition of facts, monsters who in fact have sung our world into existence.
The story is of Braden Swift's search for his parents, physicists experimenting with jumping into parallel universes, who went missing on a stormy night a year prior to the story's beginning. It is also about his own maturation, into a person who accepts moral responsibility for more than himself and his immediate environment. Along the way to meeting with his parents, profoundly altered by their leap through the boundaries of parallel universes, he encounters evidence of what might become of Earth if more persons than he don't heed the signs of a return to chaos.
Braden meets Kestrelle, the current custodian of the Spirit Thorn, who recognizes him as her rightful successor. She guides him as far as she can in appreciating the fragility of the Earth and the need to protect it from mindlessness and greed. But Braden has his own demons to wrestle with, and he is profoundly shaken as Kestrelle and The Singer, Molly Greenfingers, are savaged by a mindless mob.
The early part of the tale takes concentration, as new ideas of time, space, and energy are unfolded. When Braden's moral odyssey begins, the story picks up in emotional impact, as the reader--at least this reader--identifies with a person who has buried a rogue soul and accepted his responsibility not just for the persons he comes in contact with, but for the safety of the whole universe--or, perhaps many universes.
If you have teens who liked Ursula Le Guin or Robert A. Heinlein, turn them on to Zacharias O'Bryan and his tale of multiverses.
Author of "Rio Penitente" & other books
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