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
Back atop the astronomy tower, Maxwallah was standing beside the charred wall in his raven poncho having a conversation with a raven. Literally.
An enormous black bird was perched on his twin’s forearm, its talons gripping his leather sleeve and head cocked listening to his croaking raven speech that—at least to Max’s untrained ear—sounded authentic.
Having uttered a final croak, Maxwallah extended his arm and the raven flapped its wings and flew up and over the pines toward the Red Mountains.
“What was that about?” Max asked as he watched the raven disappear from sight.
“I just sent a message to my teacher to expect us tomorrow evening.”
“Assuming we make good time.”
“And assuming we make it at all. Those mountains make the Himalayas look like foothills.”
“I am unfamiliar with the Himalayas, but I believe we will make it. All we have to do is get to the pass. And for that, we have the Almasty.”
Max was thrilled at the news. “Really? You mean they’re coming with us?”
“Not all of them. But enough to see us to the pass safely.”
“What if the pass is blocked?”
“The pass is never blocked.”
“If you say so.” Noting the plucked and spitted bird cooking over the fire, Max asked, “Is that breakfast?”
“It is indeed.”
“Is it ready?”
“Almost. Give it a turn, will you, while I make sure I have everything in my pack?”
After splitting the pheasant along with a bunch of wild carrots, the twins descended from the tower to find a group of twenty Sasquatches—including Zana, Silverback, Sunburst, and Spelunker—waiting for them beside the fountain.
While Maxwallah filled his flask, Max greeted first Zana, then Silverback and the others, with a telepathic “Good morning”—a mannerism which, judging by the twinkle in their eyes, they found amusing.
As the group left the fountain and Max glimpsed his carved face for the last time, he had the bizarre impression he had just graduated college and was saying goodbye to a favorite university hangout.
He imagined he was leaving the ivory tower and entering the real world as, having followed a lane he had never traveled through what turned out to be Muru-amah’s upper gate, he emerged onto a crumbling path ascending through tall trees.
There was room for two to walk abreast, which meant they traveled in a line of eleven pairs. Zana walked beside and looked after Maxwallah. Max was accompanied by Spelunker, who was obviously thankful to have his shoulder fixed and, if anything, was overly attentive.
The path became more and more dilapidated as it wound on and on up through the forest. For the better part of two hours, they traveled in silence—pausing only occasionally when Silverback, who walked in front with Sunburst, held up a hand and everyone stopped to sniff, listen, and look around.
Max did his best to identify what had attracted the attention of the Sasquatches. But try as he might, he never smelled, heard or saw anything to give pause. Either the Almasty were being overly cautious—or they indeed had senses far superior to his own.
The air had grown cooler by several degrees the instant they left Muru-amah. As they climbed, the temperature continued to drop, slowly but steadily. Meanwhile, the snow left over from the storm went from patchy to a blanket of several inches that covered the path in places.
Fingering his hide shirt under his poncho, Max was grateful to be wearing another layer. With a glance at his companions, he realized he was actually grateful for many things—an attitude that didn’t come naturally and that surprised him, especially given how difficult life had been of late.
Of course, he remained perfectly aware of being in a different world, one whose disorienting time frames he could still observe whenever he wanted.
But over the past few days (which, in many ways, might as well have been a few years), the distinction between the material and cosmic sectors had come to seem purely cosmetic, inconsequential even.
What really mattered, he grasped in a private epiphany while sucking for breath up a steep slope, was the inside reality, not the outside illusion. Or to put it in Maxwallah’s terms, the experiencer was more important than the experience.
Suddenly, Silverback held up his hand and everyone halted again. This time Max saw why: they had reached the edge of the tree line. Above them was a snow-covered ridge leading up to even more snow-covered ridges.
Here the Almasty stopped for a little while and allowed the twins to relieve themselves, sip some water, and rest. Max sat on a fallen log beside Maxwallah feeling his leg muscles already throbbing while staring up at the imposing peaks of the Red Mountains.
Fortunately, with the sky as blue as a thunderbird’s egg, barring a drastic change in weather, it appeared they had a clear shot to the pass. “How long should it take us to reach the pass?” asked Max.
“Five hours, if we are lucky,” replied Maxwallah. “It is just over the second ridge.”
“I still don’t see how this pass of yours works. There’s no way it’s high enough to cross the mountains.”
“Where one cannot pass over, one must pass under.”
“The pass is a tunnel?”
“A network of caves, actually.”
“Caves, huh? What about cave bears?”
“The caves are guarded by the Almasty of the Red Mountains, many of whom live there. No cave bears or other predators are permitted inside.”
“That’s good news. Does Silverback live there?”
“Yes. The caves are his castle, you might say.”
Silverback himself interrupted their conversation, signaling with a forward wave it was time to head out. The going was much slower now. Any vestiges of the old Heywah path were hidden under half a foot of snow.
The climb—which to Max felt endless—was utterly exhausting. Slowly but surely, the snow grew deeper, until the twins were wading in crusted snow up to the tops of their knee-high boots.
The Almasty, by contrast, bounding along energetically, reveled in the subarctic conditions—occasionally scooping up snowballs with their great leathery hands and plastering each other with gorilla guffaws.
It was in the middle of one such snowball fight, just after they had crested the first ridge with a view of a miniscule Muru-amah far below, that disaster almost struck. And amazingly, it was Max who helped them avoid it.
As the snowball fight raged all around him, he experienced an unmistakable intuitive sense of danger. He had no idea what the danger was, but he could have sworn he felt the earth trembling under his feet.
Glancing downwind along the ridgeline, he did a double take as a herd of some fifteen woolly mammoths bigger than African elephants with enormous, curling tusks came thundering into view. “Look out!” he cried.
Dropping their snowballs and taking stock of the situation, the Sasquatches immediately scattered left and right to keep from being trampled.
Perhaps thinking he was protecting Max, Spelunker took hold of Maxwallah and all but carried him down the slope to safety—leaving Max and Zana, momentarily confused, directly in the mammoths’ path.
She looked at him with wide eyes as the great beasts grew nearer. Not knowing what else to do, acting on instinct, Max grabbed her around the midsection with one arm and used his other hand to create an energy membrane around both of them.
The stampede was on the brink of trampling them to death as Max thought, “Up! Really, really up! And this time, stay there!”
To his surprise, and to the amazement of everyone else, Max and Zana shot straight up into the air and hovered at a height of about eighteen feet as the herd of panicked mammoths steamrolled by below.
Meanwhile, still levitating himself along with a visibly traumatized Zana, Max was able to identify what had caused the mammoths to stampede: a pair of monstrous saber-toothed tigers just cresting the ridge in the herd’s wake.
“Tigers!” he yelled, pointing them out, only to lose focus and knock the breath out of himself by falling on top of Zana, who had crashed apparently uninjured into the snow.
With the mammoths gone, the Almasty and Maxwallah wasted no time forming a defensive wall between their comrades and the giant tigers, which were still approaching threateningly.
Zana, rising to her feet, pulled Max onto his. Maxwallah nocked an arrow as the Sasquatches, hissing and bellowing deafeningly, dug throwing rocks up out of the snow.
At the very last moment, faced with twenty angry Sasquatches and one armed human committed to standing their ground, the tigers changed direction and gave a wide berth, before again pursuing the mammoth herd.
Replacing the arrow in his quiver and shouldering his bow while verifying that Max and Zana were unhurt, Maxwallah said, “Well, at least one mystery has been solved.”
“What might that be?” asked Max, still getting his wind back while brushing snow off his poncho.
“Prior to what just happened, it was unclear how you would manage to fly with your father out of the cave. Now we know.”
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.
Building on SNOOZE’s deep dive into lucid dreaming, parallel universes and Hindu mysticism, Sol’s new novel, CALI THE DESTROYER, is a page-turner of a sci-fi tale set in an Orwellian future seeded in the dystopian present that radically rewrites Gnosticism as well as the origins of the earth and humanity.
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.