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THE GREAT BEING by Bill Harvey


by Bill Harvey

Pub Date: March 1st, 2024
ISBN: 9780918538215
Publisher: The Human Effectiveness Institute

In Harvey’s retelling of the creation myth, heavenly agents combat a growing rebellion unfolding on Earth.

Billions of years ago, the Nothingness begins creating a new multiverse. Ultimately adopting the name The Great Being, He makes avatars to which He grants free will. Hardhearted Lucifer uses his free will to rebel, creating his personal line of avatars, who then reproduce on their own. To contend with Lucifer’s mounting forces, The Great Being forms the Agents of Cosmic Intelligence. Agents Layla and Melchizedek’s first mission takes place on Earth: They’re born into human bodies (as twin siblings) with “newly-evolved brains.” As they gradually teach Neanderthals language, they run into a serious problem—the two periodically forget their true identities. This becomes a greater concern on their next mission, which begins 160,000 years later. They return to Earth to take over two recently expired male bodies and become part of a tribe. The mission details aren’t immediately clear, though Layla and “Melchi” encounter a leader who may very well be one of Lucifer’s rebels. As the agents once again lose themselves in their human forms, the rebels (“awakened” in human bodies) can’t be sure if these warriors secretly belong to The Great Being’s intelligence branch. The rebels have “altered” human brains, which are inclined to “[take] over” entirely, and everyone has trouble remembering who they really are. In the book’s final third, yet another Earthbound mission sees five agents mingling with a host of biblical figures, including Abram (Abraham), Nimrod, and Lot.

Much of Harvey’s first installment in this new series is conceptual. That’s perfectly understandable when The Great Being forms ideas and creatures from nothing, but once the agents take on human bodies and interact with others on Earth, the meager character descriptions are much harder to accept. (The two corpses that Layla and Melchi “revive” are simply identified as “one blonde and the other darker of hair and skin.”) In the same vein, certain narrative elements pop up with nary an explanation, such as the rebels’ Planetary Command and the Free Will Zone. There’s a “cosmic smartphone,” which is unquestionably amusing but narratively immaterial; it “[functions] almost as well as” the telepathy that both agents and rebels commonly use to communicate. Still, this story deftly explores human nature—the uplifting qualities and dour traits alike: In the first mission, the often-genial agents nearly succumb to their own egos, merely over a disagreement about who concocted a successful but relatively minor plan. While the two strive to teach the humans compassion, the Earthly tribespeople seem much more interested in battle than in seeking peaceful solutions to problems. The second mission (and the longest, narratively) delightfully zeroes in on the question of identity as Layla and Melchi, on Earth primarily to teach, are sometimes driven to adopt the same behaviors and beliefs as humans. Layla’s personal confusion is particularly intriguing, as developing feelings for Melchi (her former teacher) ostensibly conflict with her male body’s sexual attraction to his wife.

A somewhat uneven but enthralling tale of humanity’s origins and cosmic espionage.