Following K-PAX (1995) and On a Beam of Light (2001), here’s the last volume in the Worlds of Prot trilogy, benefiting from the captivating film version of volume one. Dr. Brewer of the Manhattan Psychiatric Institute thought he’d integrated all of Robert Porter’s multiple personalities when his patient at last left the institute, married journalist Giselle, and had son Gene, named after Brewer. But while bathing his son, Porter falls back into catatonia and is returned to the institute and Brewer’s care. Brewer finds Porter once again inhabited by the alien named prot (lower case, and rhymes with goat), who again twits the doctor about the foibles and shortfalls of humans as he gobbles down fruit. In fact, prot says, humans have about 23 years before the slide toward perdition starts. He blames our downfall on religion and ignorance, or worldwide lack of education, saying that as long as there is religion there’ll be hatred. As before, prot goes about the hospital as a revered figure, with patients ever asking him for tasks to help them cure themselves—all fascinating stuff, though unlikely in a real hospital full of territorial shrinks. Prot states that he’ll take a hundred EARTHlings back to K-PAX with him when he leaves on the first morning of the new millennium. Brewer has but slightly changed his thoughts about prot since volume one, wherein prot revealed incredible new astronomical knowledge to Brewer’s astronomist stepson Steve. Prot still has the ability to disappear on a beam of light, and this time he takes a big group of fellow patients with him in an instant to the Metropolitan Museum. He also leaves the institute, unannounced, to decide which of the primates at the Bronx Zoo he’ll take back to K-PAX. Will he? Won’t he?
Gripping fantasy. Go for it.