A Tawdry Tale of Spiritual Healing
by James Dwight
God Is a Character in this Apocalyptic, Life-After-Death Sci-Fi Novel
When Verbolana dies during a battle between the Chosen and the Wretched, she has no idea that the heaven she will experience will be presided over by a God who is trying to figure things out just as much as she is.
Life after death. Most wonder about its existence or whether any religion knows the truth about it. Verbolana has the chance to learn the truth and even talk to God himself in James Dwight’s philosophical new novel “As Worlds Burn” (978-1-890427-50-4, Aviva Publishing, 2008).
Five generations ago, a few people learned their planet they called Father, had been exploited by mankind for far too long and needed to heal. These few hatched a gruesome plan: annihilate all of mankind, except themselves, and start over. They called themselves the Chosen and retreated to a few skyscraping towers dotted around the globe, divorcing themselves from Father in order that he may rest. To their dismay a few others survived, continuing to live on Father’s skin. These became known by the Chosen as the Wretched and ever since, the two clans have been at war. When Verbolana and Trake, members of the Chosen, find themselves embroiled in a battle with the Wretched, both discover much of what their culture taught them has been a series of well constructed lies.
When Verbolana is killed in battle, she sees the fabled Beasts of Ansett coming to take her to heaven in an ornate sled. She feels joyful, for this is the event her religion taught her to expect. But nothing else about Heaven follows the prophecies. Verbolana feels betrayed and suspicious, and soon finds herself wandering through Heaven, meeting people, befriending them for a short time, then moving on. Even her conversations with God leave much to be desired. And she often thinks of Trake whom she had loved in silence until her death. When Verbolana cannot forget her life on Father, she begins to wonder whether Heaven really is so heavenly.
While Trake survived the battle, he has been separated from the Chosen and forced to live on the surface of Father. When he comes into contact with the Wretched, despite misgivings on both sides, Trake is adopted into their culture; he soon learns his own people’s perception of their enemy is grossly distorted. When the Chosen and the Wretched again face-off, Trake must choose where his loyalties lie.
James Dwight takes readers on a metaphysical journey like none ever encountered in science fiction before. Without falling into simple allegory or a veiled commentary of the twenty-first century, “As Worlds Burn” presents situations that resonate with our culture today; Dwight’s fictional world needs redemption from its own social conditioning, and no easy solutions exist. Even God is deconstructed and found wanting. Readers will enjoy this philosophical treatment of reality and come away questioning and possibly even changing their own beliefs.