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on October 3, 2007
The Mayan calendar places the end of the current age, and perhaps of the world, on 21 December 2012, the Winter Solstice, when we supposedly align with the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Whitley Strieber's novel 2012 The War for Souls portrays this date as a sort of cosmic Samhain, when the veils that normally separate parallel universes and parallel worlds become thin and permeable, and the people and circumstances of one world can enter another.

2012 posits three parallel earths (although there may be others): one that is our own, one that is very much like it but somewhat fairer, and one that is very foul indeed. As 21 December approaches, the gentler earth is rocked by catastrophic events that had their origin thousands of years before, the last time the worlds came together. One man in this world has the key to unlocking the secret that may save it from the ravening hunger of the dark earth, and his fate is tied to his counterpart in our world. The prize sought is nothing less than the soul of every person on earth--and that of the world itself.

The novel draws from the deep wells of mythology that surround the ancient Maya, Atlantis, Egypt, and the sacred sites that have existed since the end of the last Ice Age, as well as the fields of quantum physics, psychology, and theology. Can souls be eaten like junk food? Is there a science of the soul? And if so, does anyone--or did anyone--know it?

Strieber takes the reader through fascination, through terror, to despair, and finally dangles hope. It seems that that Devil is real, and he is us; that every wicked and anti-human twist that has shaped our history is the work of a reptilian humanity that is us but is not us, yet penetrates our culture at every level.

Yet nothing is quite as it seems. Not even Ann Coulter, and she shows up too.

This book is worth a read and a re-read. It is disturbing, and provoking, and fun.
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on October 3, 2007
Picking up this book for a forthcoming vacation, I was expecting a fun, light read. What I received inside the covers was insightful glimpse into the potential that everyone holds within. I typically take weeks to finish a book. With 2012 I literally could not put this down and completed it in two and half days. The manner in which Mr. Strieber weaves the entangled characters with their increasing realization of each person's importance, takes hold and does not let go. I read late into the night as sleep could not compete with my desire to learn more about the characters. Above all the book was a thought provoking rush of a experience. Highly recommended.
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on January 9, 2008
I've never been drawn to Whitley Strieber's work, but I forced myself to finish this one because I'm very interested in the whole 2012/Mayan calendar phenomenon. I have to say that, taken strictly as a work of fiction, I did not enjoy reading most of this book. The style of nonstop action, similar to many Stephen King and Dean Koonz novels, seems like the script for a typical B movie (which, no doubt, it soon will be). There is so much action, chase scenes and horror that I felt worn out, and rather jaded by the first 50 or so pages. You can only have so many "the most incredible/horrible/unbelievable thing he ever saw" before a sense of hyperbole sets in. For suspense to be effective, you need some build up, not simply constant mayhem. And speaking of the writing style, there's a very sloppy error -one of the main characters' names is alternately spelled "Wiley" and "Wylie." This does not occur only once or twice, but many times. I suppose we're meant to equate this character, who is a writer, with "Whitley" (which is a bit pretentious considering his savior role in the book), but he could at least have chosen one spelling. Another apect of the book that I found annoying was much of the dialog. Most of the novel takes place in Kansas, and Wylie and others often lapse into a drawl that seems more like a sitcom version of Midwestern characters than the way people actually talk.

The metaphysics behind 2012: The War for Souls is similar to the theories of Zacharia Sitchin and David Icke. A race of malevolent reptilian aliens from another dimension is bent on conquering the earth. These beings lack human qualities such as love and compassion, so, in addition to stealing the earth for its land, they also want human souls. The whole idea that the soul can be stolen by technology is a bit bizarre. What makes it really strange is that Strieber also sneaks in Christian beliefs about God into the novel. I say "sneaks" because all of the main characters start out as atheists or agnostics, but as the plot moves along, they start to pray more and more. Also, the book is full of Bible quotes. Yet the notion that souls can be stolen using a higher technology seems to me to be a materialistic idea. As I see it, the whole point of the soul, if you believe in it, is that it is something beyond the material world and indestructible. Of course, this is a work of science fiction, sort of, but I suspect Strieber really believes most of what he is writing here. As a plot device, I don't think it's a bad one. It is possible, after all, that beings such as the reptilians might, in desperation, try to steal souls.

The other major idea of the book is that of multiple or parallel universes. In the novel, there are two earths with different, though similar, histories. One of these earths has two moons; in this one, the alien invaders have taken over most of the planet by December of 2012, close to the time when the "gateway" between worlds will open (December 21, 2012, the date the Mayan calendar supposedly ends). Wiley (or Wylie's) challenge, as a resident of the other earth (our earth, the one with only one moon), is to figure out a way to stop the aliens from entering his world. I like the concept of multiple worlds. It's somehow more credible than the idea that aliens arrive by traveling through space, which would mean many hundreds of light years. Interdimensional travel, by contrast, only requires a gateway. The belief that such gateways exist in sacred spots around the world is pretty standard for believers in alternative archeology, UFOs, etc.

In summary, the basic ideas of 2012: The War for Souls are interesting but I found the execution less than satisfactory. I also did not particularly like the overall style of the book. Despite the complex metaphysics contained in his novel, Strieber is one of those people with a basically dualistic outlook -that is, he believes very strongly in the reality of evil. That is probably why, despite its supposedly hopeful message, it is mostly a very dark book, with many drawn out descriptions of torture, destruction, even cannibalism. In the final analysis, I would categorize Strieber as basically a religious fundamentalist with a new age slant. The book is, indeed, full of quotes from Revelations. 2012 can be seen, in this light, as one interpretation of Armegeddon/the Apocalypse.
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on October 17, 2007
The ancient Maya, in their primitive yet deceptively remarkable way, have calculated December 21, 2012 to be the day on which our Earth aligns exactly with the center of the galaxy as it does only once every 26,000 years. On this day, the world will come to an end.

In 2012: The War for Souls, author Whitley Strieber shows his vision for the horrors predicted to come. Archaeologist Martin Winters is in the Pyramid of Khufu before the day breaks, seeking answers to a question that could support a theory he holds dear. As he works, the pyramid begins to collapse; when he scrambles his way to safety, all that remains is a sleek, black lens staring up into space.

Eventually, 14 lenses will appear on destroyed ancient sites worldwide. The real problem comes when night falls and invasion begins. Alien forces come from within the discs and begin systematically targeting humans, using an attack that removes the soul but keeps the shell alive for purposes of slavery. Martin loses his family in one such attack, and while military strategists do their best to turn the tide, the effort is futile. Worse yet, an agent of the invading force has already infiltrated the US government, infecting it from within.

Strieber does a phenomenal job in presenting this invasion and ensuing chaos. The story rockets forward, dragging you deeper with page-turning ferocity. As exhilarating and nerve-wracking as it is, you are sent for a complete spin when you meet husband, father and author Wiley Dale. Wiley awakens from a trance while sitting at his computer and finds on his system the horrifying story of an archaeologist named Martin Winters and his struggle against an alien invasion force.

Something is so strikingly real about the story, which makes Wiley afraid. Of course, his wife believes he's nuts, and he begins to drift back into a paranoia about the time when he claims to have been abducted. Someone is trying to tell him something. As more of the story begins to unfold and he becomes more embroiled on a personal level, Wiley comes to understand that there are multiple Earths existing at the same time. He becomes convinced that Martin is in the next ripple over and that a loss in their world will have drastic consequences for his own.

And then he discovers the portal.

Strieber has crafted an intense book, one that flies by with startling and vivid imagery. What could have been a standard alien invasion story is kicked to a higher level with the implementation of the multiple-Earth theory. Conversely, what could have collapsed under the weight of its effort is pulled off successfully with tremendous flair.

--- Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard
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on August 7, 2010
There are so many leaps of faith in this book, that if you ever finish it (sadly I did), you will be exhausted from jumping.

Flimsy base facts about each of the various parallel universes. Way to many characters. Some don't even make sense. Some are so thin, that several of them could have been combined. Very muddy areas in logic and story telling.

Pass this one up. You will thank me.
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on October 3, 2007
Those who are fans of Whitely Streiber will love it, those who are new to him will become loyal fans...

Whitley once again takes on the paranormal world around us and takes us on a fantastic journey of discovery and fright with the concept of Alternative Universes.

This is one of the few books that I found myself unable to put down, it pick you up from the start and keeps you going all the way to the end...

A fantastic read - one for the collection, and with the mysteries of 2012 coming in so few years, this is a great "what if" scenario that, who knows... could have more truth to it than we realize...

Highly reccomended...
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on July 8, 2010
I am an avid reader, and read literally everything that I can get my hands on. Some books are jewels, some just base metal, but all have merit of some sort. However, there has been one book that I finished and then ripped to shreds..."The Widows of Eastwick." When I finish this review, Streiber's book will join "Widows" in the garbage bin. This book is like a train wreck that you can't help looking at. I made myself finish it, then became angry at myself that I had wasted my day by reading it.
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on June 27, 2010
I really enjoyed parts of the first half of this book. I found, reading these pages, that I am an out in out sucker for end of the world stories. This is the third aliens invade the world book i have read in the last couple of months, and I crave more.

Im giving this book 1 star because I think Strieber has no idea whatsoever what a story line or plot is. He is a good enough writer to pull off the feat of actually letting me understand what I was reading. But its such a horrible ugly mess of a story I can only beg you to stay away.

I could start off by saying the story is about the world getting invaded by aliens. Thats not too bad, many great stories have this as a plot and it works). But Strieber adds another element. One guy on the earth getting invaded is attached somehow to another guy on a parallel universe earth. This guy is writing down whats happening on the invaded earth. (this is still ok. I followed this and was enjoying it). The book falls apart though when it gets a lot more crazy complex. I could hardly go on when I reached about the 3/4 mark and the story was all about one of the aliens and their point of view. Look... War of the Worlds did not enter the mind of an alien as a protagonist and then explore the reasons of the invasion for 100 pages. I just didn't care abou the alien and didn't want to get to know it.

The bad plot goes on. I wont keep going just in case you want to read it. I dont want to give anything away. Let me just conclude by saying this is a badddd book.
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on September 18, 2007
Simply put, this is the most terrifying and freighting book you will ever read. After the first 68 pages you will be numb and have to take a break. The only problem is - you can't - for whatever you do, the horror stays with you. You not only read about the most horrific events in human history, you live them. No one does this better than Whitley Strieber. His book "War Day", about post nuclear holocaust America, left me in tears for weeks. "2012 - The War For Souls" will leave each of us who reads the novel in shock and horror for a very long time. This book is not for the faint hearted, but if you want to read the scariest and most gut wrenching book ever written, pick up "2012".
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on October 3, 2007
Whitley's worldview is pragmatic and urbane - one never feels as though one is following a naive Pied Piper from the sticks. I've read some of his other books and he knows how to tell a good story. He's a philosopher: at the end I always feel as though I've learned something of value. This book is a wild ride, a suspense which taps into themes of recent urban myths (or ancient ones?) and/or the paranormal. I thought I'd read it calmly, at a leisurely pace during the week, but I couldn't put it down, gripping white-knuckled and bug-eyed through the night. It's layered in three separate-yet-simultaneous time zones - or rather dimensions - something new to me. It addresses common issues of love, loyalty, and faith in a whole new way - if you can stand the gruesome horror within which it's framed.
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