Novel Excerpt – Crashing Eden by Michael Sussman

The discussion was cut short when Jason Bard, quarterback of the Prescott Academy Panthers, descended the stairs covered in blood. He was the first of what was to be a series of bungee-jumping casualties and had sustained a deep gash on the side of his neck. Turned out, he was directed to me by a student who’d been sledding at Danahy Park on the day I mended Callie’s broken ankle.

I suggested taking Jason to the ER, but everyone was curious to see whether the rumor about my having healed Alessa’s burns was true, and I eventually gave in to peer pressure. It was a messy procedure, but—with the help of the OM—I managed to close Jason’s wound. When the bleeding stopped, the mob of kids around us erupted into wild cheers and whistling. That didn’t surprise me, but what happened next did.

Someone suggested that I attempt to heal Tasha Gomes, and soon the whole room was chanting, “Heal Tasha! Heal Tasha!”

Although somewhat uncomfortable with all this attention, I was happy to be of service. But Tasha Gomes didn’t just have a neck wound. She’d been blind since the age of three!

“Listen guys,” I said, “broken bones and bruises are one thing, but I can’t restore sight.”

The partiers would have none of it. As they continued chanting, “Heal Tasha!

Heal Tasha!” the crowd parted just enough to allow Tasha Gomes to approach me, proceeded by her guide dog, a German Shepherd named Fred.

Tasha was an auburn-haired beauty who wore aviator sunglasses. Her blindness followed a bad case of the measles, which she’d contracted because her parents didn’t believe in vaccinations. Despite her handicap, she was active in school affairs and never missed the honor roll. I’d known her since kindergarten and had always admired her strength and determination.

“I’m sorry, Tasha,” I told her, … Continue reading

Novel Excerpt – Systems by Saleena Karim

CHAPTER FOUR

Catharsis

Perched at the top of the scaffolding with his legs crossed, he focused his thoughts on emptiness. This was the only way he could distance himself from the droning energy of the people.

His eyes were closed, and his body perfectly at rest. His pale blue T-shirt and black jeans dripped constantly as the rain pelted down. Yet he was oblivious to the cold and the wet. His mind simply sought the peace.

Most would find it difficult to believe that a man of such quiet composure could at the next moment be possessed with wild, irrepressible energy. However it was as natural to him as the weather. The red ribbon that he wore permanently round his head symbolised that he was different. His self-appointed title, the Peace Man, was a testament to his mission. No one knew it but him.

Doctor Hargreaves believed that his patient’s sociophobia was just a part of his illness, but the Peace Man knew better. He felt utter contempt for the state of the human race. He’d been free for just three days, but in the world of the so-called sane he’d found only what he’d known all along. Hell was earth. The people had vacuous minds, empty souls. They weren’t even alive. They merely existed from the cradle to the coffin. They were not human beings, but androids tagged with serial numbers, whose sole purpose was to work and make never-ending payments for the things they would never own. And in all their mindless running around, they had no time to stop and think; certainly not before their bodies wore out and forced them into the death before death. The have-nots of the modern world were not the unemployed; they were the unenlightened. They knew nothing of their … Continue reading

Novel Excerpt – Carry on the Flame by Jodine Turner

from Book One Carry on the Flame: Destiny’s Call  by award winning, best-selling visionary fiction author Jodine Turner 

DestinysCall e book coverThe dayroom was full of idle chatter, some nonsensical, along with the monotonous blare of a morning television talk show. Cigarette smoke wafted upward, trapped by the closed and barred windows, as much prisoner as all the patients committed to the psychiatric hospital against their will.

Sharay looked up and feigned a casual glance around the room. Her gaze rested on the old man. His knobby hands scratched his scrubby gray beard, then, index finger curled, he motioned for her to join him at his table. Sharay hesitated. The old man pointed to the spread of cards before him and chuckled. He held one up for her to see, and furtively laid it back down again. Curious, Sharay stood and scuffled across the room, the closest she could come to walking while on her medicine. She sat in a worn wooden chair across from the old man, the table and mysterious cards between them.

“Dillon.” He proffered his weather beaten hand in welcome. “Dillon Emrys. Born in the North of Wales, high in the mountains in a town no one has ever heard of. Born and raised there.” His voice was deep and carried the musical lilt of a heavy Welsh accent.

Sharay extended her hand and watched it tremor. Another side-effect of her medicine. She quickly withdrew it, embarrassed.

“The shaking is nothing to be ashamed of. Easy to remedy. Here, try again.” Dillon’s hand hung over the cards, waiting for … Continue reading

A Novel Excerpt From Mogollon – by Sandy Nathan


MOGOLLON: THE INTRODUCTION

INTRODUCTION

 GRANDFATHER’S INVOCATION

He stood in the deepest place. He stood in the place that was closest to the core. He stood in the sacred place and held the eagle feather. He raised the feather to the sky, to the sky people, to the guardians of the world above.

“I pray to you, people of the sky, be with us this week, this week be with us. Stay with us and keep us safe.” The shaman spoke in the old language, his voice rising and falling. It was neither querulous nor weak. No one hearing it would guess his age.

Grandfather acted like he was alone, but all the warriors were around him, watching in the predawn. Bud Creeman fanned the smoldering herbs, spreading the smoke’s blessing to all the directions. Hundreds of warriors watched silently, sitting in the deepest place. He turned to the four directions, one by one.

“I pray to you, guardians of the North, for the strength to overcome the cold time, to get through the hard time. To do what is needed to survive. Let my People come this week. Let the People come to this last Meeting. Let them come with clear eyes to see what is here. Let them see the Great One, behind and beyond and through all places and directions.”

Let them give up their strife and faultfinding, the old man prayed silently. Let them stop picking each word I say apart. Let them see you, O Great One, and … Continue reading

A Letter From Dean Koontz

Editor’s Note: This post appears courtesy Margaret  Duarte’s site (slightly edited).

By Margaret Duarte

I’ve been blogging for over two years now , and lately I’ve been doing some serious soul-searching about the value of working so hard.

Then today (16 October), I received an email from Dean Koontz concerning the post I wrote about him here at VFA, and it has energized me in a way I haven’t felt energized in a long time.

Dear Margaret,

My editor at Bantam, Tracy Devine, sent to me your lovely post at Visionary Fiction Alliance, and I’m asking her to forward this to you. I was quite touched by your words.

After a long career as a novelist, I’ve learned that what anyone writes about my work, good or bad, will only occasionally, very occasionally, be written with true insight regarding my intentions. For so many years, I have denied being a horror novelist, never thought I was, and struggled to prevent earlier publishers from putting that word on my books.

You got to the heart of what I try to give readers when you mentioned hope and healing, and spoke of seeking to “help readers see the world in a new light and recognize dimensions of reality they commonly ignore.”

If you will provide my editor with a mailing address, I would like to send you two inscribed books that are close to my heart.

Best wishes,

Dean Koontz

Oh my, talk about synchronicity!

Thank you, Dean Koontz, for taking the time to inspire a fellow writer to not give up.  Ever.

I’m back.

Margaret

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Babylon 5 – Visionary Fiction on the Small Screen

By, Eleni Papanou

“‘To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.’” Captain Jeffrey Sinclair

With the recent passing of Michael O’Hare, I thought it was the opportune time to write about  my favorite example of Visionary Fiction on the small screen, Babylon 5. The series is mostly  written by one  man,  J. Michael Straczynski, as opposed to a team of writers, which is typical in a television series. Perhaps that’s why the visionary scope of this series is so strong.

 The setting is a space station that serves as a bridge between alien cultures, some of which were at war with each other.

 Monologue from the opening  in season one:

“The Babylon Project was a dream, given form. Its goal: to prevent another war, by creating a place where humans and aliens can work out their differences peacefully.”  Captain Sinclair

 

CHARACTERIZATION

Several of the Characters evolve in deeply profound circumstances that will leave the visionary fan satisfied. The two who resonated the most for me were Londo Mollari (Peter Jurasik) and G’kar (Andreas Katsulas), who start off as bitter enemies. Londo’s home world, Centauri Prime,  conquered and enslaved all the citizens of Narn, G’kar’s world.  While the series begins after the liberation of Narn, the hatred between the two races is intense. Londo’s thirst for power and G’kar’s lust for vengeance will lead to many dramatic moments that leave both characters struggling between their morality versus the pride they have for their respective worlds.

Mira … Continue reading

Is Dean Koontz a Visionary Fiction Writer?

By Margaret Duarte

Dean Koontz is generally categorized as a writer of horror, and I’m not a fan of horror, so I’m not sure what possessed me to read one of his novels. Maybe someone gave it to me. Maybe I picked it up in a bargain bin somewhere.

What I do remember is that the book’s title was Watchers and, while reading it, I fell in love with a dog named Einstein and an author named Dean Koontz.

Then along came the Odd Thomas series. Again, I don’t know how I discovered it, but I do know that Koontz’s “odd” protagonist nabbed and bagged my heart before I even got to paragraph two. The series is written in first person, from the point of view of a short-order cook named Odd Thomas, who pulls you in with his wit and humility and then captivates you like a first crush with his concern for the underdogs of – and out of – this world.

“My name is Odd Thomas, though in this age when fame is the altar at which most people worship, I am not sure why you should care who I am or that I exist.”

Peculiar things happen to Odd Thomas that don’t happen to anyone else. He communicates with the dead, for instance. Not by choice, mind you. Odd Thomas is a reluctant confidant and can’t resist helping the quiet souls who seek him out for justice.

Almost every page of Koontz’s novels contains a line or phrase that teases and pleases the brain. I’m down right envious of Koontz’s ability to penetrate beneath the surface of things (the beautiful and ugly, humorous and sad, inspiring and depressing) and share observations that vibrate with truth.

Author Announcement – Invitation to guest post

From Wim Coleman and Pat Perrin at http://www.playsonideas.com/

We have just put up a new post about Story — the main topic of our blog. We invite comments.  But I’d like to invite any members of the Visionary Fiction Alliance who find the topic interesting to send us guest posts about Story, what it is, what it means personally, and/or how Story affects our whole culture. If we get lots of guest posts, we’ll put up a new page just for everybody’s definitions and discussions about Story.

If anyone from the VFA wishes to guest post, please email Pat at wim.pat[at]gmail.com

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Visionary Fiction’s Effect On This Author

By Eleni Papanou

In the not so distant past, writing felt more like a chore. It took ten screenplays and one badly written novel to admit I never felt satisfied with what I produced. It seemed like I wrote only to satisfy an audience, which made the experience hollow. Longing to create something more personal, I switched my focus from high concept to indie and began working on The Cabin. The concept was simple: two ex-lovers, Damon and Flora, meet up for eight lifetimes. The hook: Damon’s memories of his past lives are triggered when Flora arrives to arrest him for assassinating their leader, and they soon end up murdered by  a well-respected elder.  Each lifetime, Damon races against time to save himself and Flora.

After I finished the screenplay, I liked the story enough to explore the idea of writing it as a novella. Starting was easy as a screenplay makes an excellent outline. I expected all the plot points would be the peaks, and the new material would be the valleys leading towards them. Yes, this was going to be easy…so I thought. Little did I know The Cabin was about to  transform into a full-blown epic…something I had dreamed of one day writing.

The move that changed everything…

The Cabin evolved after I introduced a piece of technology from an older screenplay I had given up on. This fortuitous maneuver ended up  connecting the two stories together and made the peaks of The Cabin less significant to the overall story! Other characters entered The Cabin, and it was now too small … Continue reading

Story vs Message: Striking the Balance

Guest post by Randy Davila

Visionary fiction authors have one of the hardest jobs as writers—to both entertain their readers and to introduce them to new metaphysical topics, which the readers may have never been exposed to before. The most successful authors, of any type of fiction, understand that the first purpose of their book must always be to entertain.

Unfortunately, many times we see visionary fiction authors who feel so powerfully about their message that they let it become the central focus of the story, and drown the reader in metaphors, exercises, theories and unnatural dialogue all in the name of conveying their message. They have forgotten that their readers came to the fiction section of the bookstore to be entertained first and foremost. This is where the fiction author can run into the most difficulty in trying to reconcile their love of the story for the love of the message.

We, as fiction authors, have been told time and time again to “show, don’t tell”—and your metaphysical or spiritual message is no exception to this rule. To keep the reader engaged, you must show them how your character’s negative thinking is drawing negative circumstances into his life; or leave room for the reader to intuit how the character’s dreams about the Divine Feminine correlate to her real life experiences. Showing the reader how these theories work instead of simply telling them that will help them to learn your message gracefully through the story that you are conveying. Remember, the art of great fiction is in what the author doesn’t say rather than what … Continue reading