If you think yourself a reader, if through your reading experiences you have begun to understand the word and its connotations, you seek stories that are edgy, with serious themes, stories that dare leave you thinking. You let yourself be surprised by stories like Rob Lewis' Prelude to a Change of Mind because, for starters, his story isn't classifiable or formulaic. Is it a coming of age SF story, a Middle Earth spin-off, an ecologist's philosophical treatise? It's all of these, more or less, expressed in a prose that is at once beautiful, technical, and memorable. And from recent fiction you'll not find a character more endearing than Jackanapes Plenty, a poet, a raconteur extraordinaire -- no, poet, the unofficial bard of Dvarsh culture though he is of questionable, mixed ancestry (Says his cousin, Ekaterina Rigidstick, "Pureblood Dvarsh seem to lack a crucial faculty for garbling concepts and phraseology."). With a diction and lexicon as twisted as DNA strands, he is not always there (pun intended), but he is well-meaning, a friend to our heroine, Meg Christmas, his "little buddy," a metamathemage, naive still of the futures she plays a role in. Jackanapes' poems deserve as close a reading as the story itself. This novel, the first in a planned series, values any reader's time. Its characters speak intelligibly of the hubris of our species, and so they speak to us. To his credit, Mr. Lewis has pulled off such a thing -- while remaining entertaining and free of pedantry. --James Rossignol, Professor of English, San Antonio College
Somewhere between Science Fiction and folklore, Prelude to a Change of Mind juxtaposes diverse notions from whimsy to poetry to the fallacies of modern culture. Set somewhere in opposition to the military industrial complex the one Eisenhower warned us about and its predictable leadership, Prelude causes readers to think about where culture stands today while observing and relishing in the quest to save the world. Archetypal characters include heroine Patricia Margaret Christmas, her caregivers the dear ones, Jack a word weaving fool and Ekaterina, an earthy wise woman. Is Jack the Trickster of the collective unconscious, or a merry blend of philosopher-poet, Gandhi by way of Norm Crosby? Fresh vigorous language infused by poetry rings with truth; Prelude is worthy of its dedication to Ricardo Sánchez. I used this novel as a capstone assignment for a college Science Fiction literature class. A blend of good storytelling and poetry, Prelude intensified class discussions in fact, fear, fantasy and cultural satisfaction or lack thereof. I daresay Prelude provokes millennial readers to confront fallacies in their own thinking processes and beliefs. A sort of Q Ship, this sleeper invigorated our observations on anti-social sameness and how we might sustain heart and character in the callous society which surrounds us. Encouraging re-vision, Prelude sings the electric interconnectedness of our world, our selves, the earth, the delight of life s simplest pleasures, and the necessity of maintaining our positive habits. This is a book which will make us all think and act like better people. Perhaps we might heed the call. --Jane Focht-Hansen, Professor, San Antonio College
To create a parallel world that is both fantastic and painfully real is not terribly difficult given today s technology and political and social realities. We are faced with massive species extinctions, horrific sectarian violence, climate change that could create massive social upheaval in our lifetime and technologies that simultaneously offer us cures of crippling diseases and life spans that could match Methuselah. We are literally on the verge of breakthroughs in knowledge that could allow us to travel through time, to cross parallel worlds, to leave the universe, as we know it. We could also be at a dead end in less than a century. In Prelude to a Change of Mind, a delightfully positive book of fantasy and speculative science, Robert Stikmanz takes us back to the beginnings of the nuclear age and then further to the very beginnings of civilization and posits an imaginative thesis on what went wrong and how we can get back to behaving in ways that enhance our humanity by use of the simplest of emotions: pleasure. Okay, he uses elves and dwarves, but his use of quantum physics not only makes this a plausible scenario, his wry humor and light touch makes it a world we want to believe in because it is a world we have always believed in when we made the best use of our very real imaginations. It is just that kind of magical book. The story is part fairy tale and part social critique set in an isolated cabin somewhere in the American west during the waning days of World War II. A young woman, Meg Christmas, has fallen ill but a troop of elves has come to her aid. Accompanied by a half-breed dwarf-elf and a full dwarf of the Nondifferential Clan, these creatures communicate though a form of compassionate humming. Meg is restored to health but her healing comes with a price. Surprisingly, it is not her soul. The price is that she has to help save the world. Along the way, she learns about time-travel, consensual realities, and parallel worlds. It is a heady stew --Publisher
From the Author
The Blue Moose Press editions of novels by Robert Stikmanz are available in both paperback and Kindle editions. Be sure to purchase only Blue Moose Press editions of Prelude to a Change of Mind and other titles in The Hidden Lands of Nod!
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