This is an important and timely question explored in the highly acclaimed spiritual novel, SNOOZE: A STORY OF AWAKENING, winner of the 2015 National Indie Excellence Award for New Age Fiction.
Written with young adult and young-at-heart readers in mind, SNOOZE further proved its literary merit by being selected as a 2016 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Finalist in the Young Adult-Coming of Age category and receiving an Honorable Mention in the 2014 Beach Book Festival Prize competition in the General Fiction category.
You’re invited to join—either with eyes or ears—Max Diver, a.k.a. “Snooze,” along the razor’s edge of a quest to rescue his astronaut father from a fate stranger than death in the exotic, perilous Otherworld of sleep.
This inspiring tale interweaves a plethora of paranormal and metaphysical subjects, from Bigfoot and enlightenment to the Loch Ness Monster and time travel via the Bermuda Triangle.
In her review of SNOOZE published in INDIE SHAMAN Magazine, June Kent had this to say about what she described as “superlative fiction”: “Engrossing, entertaining and occasionally humorous, SNOOZE also takes a look at a wide range of subjects including levitation, telepathy, lucid dreaming, spirit animals, parallel universes and shamanic-like journeying, giving a wide range of information effortlessly absorbed as you enjoy the story as well as much food for thought.”
Naturally, your generous review would be greatly appreciated even if you simply enjoy the full text now being presented on this blog and numerous podcast platforms. Keep in mind that paperback and ebook versions are for sale. A complimentary online version is also available for your reading pleasure.
SNOOZE: A STORY OF AWAKENING
By Sol Luckman
“Tell me, what is it like to journey beyond the Interface?” Maxwallah asked as he produced a small object bundled in gray pelts from his backpack and carefully unwrapped it.
Max, seated warming his hands over the freshly blazing fire, replied, “It’s sort of like entering your own videogame.”
“What is a videogame?”
“A simulated reality with lots of obstacles and opponents one must overcome to avoid having to start all over again.”
“Sounds like life to me. Does your world present so few challenges these must be manufactured?”
Max chuckled while considering how to answer. “Not exactly. My world’s problems are … different. They don’t stem from nature per se.”
“Where do your challenges come from?”
“They tend to be manmade.”
A ceramic pot emerged from Maxwallah’s pelts. He filled it with water from his flask, then emptied the pouch of crimson holywood berries into it, before setting it on a flat stone at the fire’s edge to boil. “Your world seems unnecessarily complicated,” he remarked, sitting down cross-legged beside Max.
“Believe me, it is.”
With his twin for company on top of the tower, and Zana busy gathering rocks into a pile at the foot of the stairs, Max no longer felt in serious danger. Mostly, he just felt drained.
“Do you miss your world?” asked Maxwallah.
“I miss … my friends.”
“So I can imagine. Do you have many friends?”
“I have two very good ones.”
“What are their names?”
“Tuesday and Raul. Without their help, I wouldn’t be here.”
The water in the ceramic pot started to simmer and Max could smell the tart scent of holywood berries. As soon as the water began to boil, Maxwallah moved the pot to the tower floor to cool and steep.
“Sometimes you remind me of Tuesday,” said Max. “How do you know so much about herbal medicine?”
“My teacher taught me.”
“She taught you many things.”
“She did indeed.”
The musical tap-tap-tap of Zana chipping rocks below echoed through the complex. Comforted by the sound, Max asked, “How did you say you met Zana?”
“I did not say. She was orphaned at a young age and raised by my teacher. I have known her ever since I could walk. She is like a sister to me.”
“How was she orphaned?”
“Her parents were killed during a river crossing by a capu, which also gave her the scar you may have noticed on her back.”
“Wait a second. Her parents were killed by a giant crocodile like the one she defended me against?”
“Indeed. She was almost eaten alive herself. But with my teacher’s help, she recovered enough to have—if not exactly a normal childhood as a member of a human household—at least a happy one.”
“That was a brave thing she did for me, wasn’t it?”
“I would be hard-pressed to think of anything more courageous. But then again, she did not do it for just anyone; she did it for the Umbodi.”
“She has a family of her own now, doesn’t she?”
“How did you know?”
“I saw her children. In my mind.”
“She has a mate and two offspring. They inhabit a cave dwelling with others of their species on the other side of the zoaz forest above my village.”
The twins grew silent for a while, watching the fire release sparks up into the stars while listening to the ringing sound of rocks chipping.
“There’s something I still don’t understand,” said Max at last. “Why was Zana so far away from her family—not to mention in exactly the right place to meet me—when I arrived here?”
“Simple. She was on the lookout for you.”
“Ever since your father appeared and I contacted you, the Almasty have taken turns watching the Angel’s Eye in anticipation of your coming.”
“Why would they do that?”
“Because they, more than most, are devoted to the Way of All Things. The Promised One was foretold not just by human beings, but by the Almasty as well.”
“What are the Almasty? I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around them. Are they animals or people?”
“You might say they are people who have not suppressed their animal nature.”
“So they’re intelligent like humans?”
“Not like humans. They are less intelligent than us in some ways, and more intelligent in others.”
“More intelligent? Because they can communicate telepathically?”
“And because their telepathic ability allows them to interact with the natural world to an extent it is difficult for us to conceptualize.”
“You seem pretty in touch with nature yourself.”
Maxwallah laughed. “In this regard, let us just say if I were an Almasty, I would be considered … developmentally challenged.”
Max joined in the laughter. “So how did you know to come looking for me? Were you in telepathic communion with Zana?”
“No. The telepathy used by the Almasty is only for conversing over short distances. I saw the sky open up and spit you out in a dream.”
“But you can talk to Zana telepathically, can’t you?”
“Of course. With practice you will be able to as well.”
Maxwallah felt the pot of berry tea to make sure it was cool enough to drink, then handed it to Max. “The taste should be slightly bitter, but not unpleasant.”
“I don’t suppose you have any Sucanat?”
“What is Sucanat?”
Max took a small sip. It was still quite warm but drinkable. The taste recalled cranberry juice, with perhaps a note of anise.
“How is it?”
“Not bad. Should I drink all of it?”
“It won’t turn me into a frog or anything?”
“There are plants that can be used for shape-shifting, if you are genuinely interested in this type of medicine, but holywood is not one of them.”
“Jesus, I was just joking.” Max turned up the pot and drank down the brew. Immediately, he felt his throat and insides tingling.
“Tingling is normal,” said Maxwallah. “It does not mean you are having an allergic reaction. The feeling will soon pass.”
Maxwallah stood, took the pot from Max, refilled it with water from his flask, and added the tarroh leaves. After carefully setting the pot back on the flat rock, he began transferring the pine needles from under the shelter into two pallets on either side of the fire.
“What are you doing?” asked Max.
“Making our beds. The sky is as clear as glass. We should take advantage of the pleasant weather to sleep under the stars.”
“But I’m not sleepy now. If anything, the tea reenergized me.”
“This effect, like the tingling, will be short-lived. I suggest you ready yourself for sleep.” Maxwallah added several pieces of wood to the fire, pulled his hood over his head, and stretched out on his pallet of pine needles.
Reluctantly, more inclined to go for a jog than call it a night, Max followed suit—and not a minute too soon. Suddenly, yawning, he felt extremely drowsy.
“You are feeling the tea begin to work,” said Maxwallah. “Just relax and do not struggle against it.”
“I’m just curious,” yawned Max. “What percentage of the time would you say you’re reading my mind?”
“I apologize. I do not do it on purpose—if that is any comfort. Our connection is so close I cannot always help it.”
“I don’t mind really. Tell me something, though. We are speaking English, aren’t we?”
“But English isn’t your native language.”
“Is the reason you can speak English because of our connection?”
“Does that mean I should be able to speak your language?”
“I believe so.”
“What’s the name of your language?”
“Say something in Tay-wo.”
“Gara mincho helu provib-anwah.”
“It’s time for me to get some rest?”
Max felt drugged and maybe a little altered. The sound of Zana’s chipping, echoing back and forth through the ancient site, took on the quality of a complex musical composition. It was actually rather beautiful. Max wondered if, in fact, she was intentionally making music. “Just one more thing, Maxwallah. Does Zana speak English?”
“Then why does she seem to understand when I speak? And why did I hear her voice in my head speaking English?”
Judging by the acrid smell in the air, the tarroh leaves had started to simmer. Without sitting up, yawning himself, Maxwallah gently set the ceramic pot on the nearby stones to steep until morning.
“Zana reads your thoughts,” he said. “That is why she understands you. As for hearing her voice, I do not know why it works this way. But when conversing telepathically, we typically hear everything in our mother tongue.”
Max—who had just drifted into a dreamless slumber while gazing at the stars—didn’t hear Maxwallah’s response in any language.
Copyright © Sol Luckman. All Rights Reserved.
Introducing Sol Luckman’s new visionary novel, CALI THE DESTROYER. Learn about the single most censored story in the history of the human race—and why it matters today.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sol Luckman is a pioneering ink and acrylic painter whose work has been featured on mainstream book covers, the fast-paced trading game BAZAAR, and at least one tattoo on a female leg last sighted in Australia.
Sol is also an acclaimed author of fiction, nonfiction, and humor. His books include the international bestselling CONSCIOUS HEALING, which you can read free online, and its popular sequel, POTENTIATE YOUR DNA, available in English and Spanish.
Sol’s popular book of humor and satire, THE ANGEL’S DICTIONARY: A SPIRITED GLOSSARY FOR THE LITTLE DEVIL IN YOU, received the 2017 National Indie Excellence Award for Humor and was selected as a Finalist in the Humor category of both the 2018 International Book Awards and the 2018 Best Book Awards.