In this contemplative sci-fi—the prequel to Love, Light and Labor (1995)—Anthony offers an enticing glimpse into a more utopian Earth.
This novel introduces readers to Tobias Sinclair, a lawyer-turned-author-turned–reluctant savior of the human race. At first, Tobias is a scuffling New-Age hack, on the road promoting his latest book. But a knock on his head during a mugging gives him a whole new perspective on the universe, which he then takes to “the people of the earth.” That’s because, as he explains, Tobias feels a sense of urgency to help them survive: “I continue to think that somehow we will all die, or at least our society will die, if we don’t restructure the way we view ourselves.” The bulk of the novel finds Tobias, aided by friends Mill and Jimmy, attempting to bring others around to his humanistic way of thinking as he perpetually runs into self-interest and sectarianism while espousing forgiveness and togetherness. He says exasperatedly, “If we continue to kill and mistreat one another, we will be a doomed species.” Then, in an unexpected but worthwhile twist, extraterrestrials reveal themselves to Tobias. While the aliens applaud his lofty goals, they fear he’s revealing too much too soon for the humans to process. As alien spokesman Stokes says, “They don’t like change, and they just think of you as a dangerous threat.” Tobias works well as a flawed protagonist who can’t seem to heal his own fractured family while striving to save humanity. His friends are serviceable sidekicks, but most of the other characters are merely faceless, intransigent opposition. Anthony offers thought-provoking ideas, yet, with too much philosophy and not enough action, the novel seems much longer than it is. It’s hard to save people from themselves if they’ve stopped listening early in the sermon.
An intriguing if ultimately frustrating blend of sci-fi and New Age philosophy.