Strieber's ongoing narrative of his encounters with some form of higher intelligence--whether through actual visitations by aliens or a kind of altered consciousness--here becomes an increasingly incredible fable of time travel, prophecy, and visions of God. As Strieber tells it, in the summer of 1954, as a nine-year- old in San Antonio, Tex., he was initiated by the aliens, or visitors, as he calls them, into a secret nighttime summer school in the woods of the nearby Olmos Basin. There a nunlike figure known as the Sister of Mercy gave Strieber and a group of other children a kind of virtual-reality helmet that allowed them to witness the cosmic collision that led to the creation of the Moon. He travels back in time to ancient Rome, where he finds that he is the tutor to the future emperor Octavius. Strieber says he learned nine lessons that summer, lessons in how we can free ourselves of the constraints of time and space, unite with the cosmos and with God, and experience true joy. Thus freed, Strieber claims for himself (and for all of us) the power of prophecy. He travels into the future and foresees a world devastated by political and economic upheaval, environmental destruction, and the US government destroyed by a nuclear bomb. He believes the calendar of the zodiac is a kind of warning system left by an ancient, advanced civilization that was destroyed by catastrophe--a warning that a similar catastrophe awaits us unless we act in time. Strieber jumbles together scientific mysteries, facts, and factoids, unanswered questions of ancient history, the myth of Atlantis, New Age spirituality, and fears of a meteoric collision with Earth to support his wacky theories. UFOs and aliens are the least part of his story now. Having fallen victim, perhaps, to millennial madness, Strieber believes himself on a mission to save the world.