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Prelude to a Change of Mind: The First Book in the Lands of Nod Paperback – February 3, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

Review

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! --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Lands of Nod (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Dalton Publishing; 2 edition (February 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097407036X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974070360
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,615,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Austin, Texas, resident Robert Stikmanz is an author and illustrator charting new territory in his genre-bending cycle of novels, The Hidden Lands of Nod. More information may be found at his website: www.robertstikmanz.com

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Format: Paperback
Reviewed by Regan Windsor for Reader Views (5/07)

Meg Christmas awoke on her familiar cot, in the seasonal cabin she shared with her father, but the warbling sounds and the strange beings around her were not familiar. Nor was the horrid ache of the fever that enveloped her.

Meg begins to heal, through the powers of the tittering thrm'm (elves) that surround her body, providing nourishment and healing hands. As she floats between consciousness and unconsciousness she tries to sort out the reality she finds herself in. Although she feels safe with these curious little creatures, she is uncertain of the things Jack, a dvarsh (part human, part thrm), is saying to her and is uncomfortable with his high sexual energy, evidenced my the constant stroking of himself as her talks to her. He begins to explain the lineage of the creatures around her including himself, and that evolution-wise there is compatibility. As he then states "when you are more recovered we'll ready to do some serious mixing," she asks if he is planning on raping her. He explains that she misunderstood him, that it is the elves he is referring to and begins to explain how he always messes things up, reassuring her that when his cousin Ekaterina arrives she will be able to explain everything.

As Ekaterina begins to explain things to Meg, she begins to feels the burden of their expectations. Drawn to her vibrations, they came foremost to rescue her, secondly to mate (something they can only do in this dimension), and ultimately to fulfill their desire to save the world as Meg knows it. To do so, however, they need to "mix" and Meg presents abilities that make her a prime candidate. Her world was destroying itself, but was she ready to have a baby with an elf (thrm) to help save it?
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I loved this book! Intelligent, witty, and backed by a solid knowledge of things as they very well may be, it is the story of a young girl's introduction to dimension-hopping elves, dwarves and assorted hybrids who have journeyed into her space-time to offer her an opportunity to learn what lies behind the enthralling world of illusion.

Meg is dying from a mysterious disease when the diminutive beings arrive to heal her. As she recovers, she is introduced to Jack Plenty, a dwarf-human hybrid who understands more than he can articulate, recites dubious poetry and has an unerring intuitive ability. Ekaterina, the wise Dvarsh whom Meg comes to trust, has an unsettling message for her, but also knowledge of other worlds that draw her closer despite her misgivings. Sweetheart, one of the tiny healing people who nurse Meg back to health, does not speak but communicates in warbles and coos.

As Meg learns what the visitors want from her, she also discovers that their society is based on love and trust, not the competition and control that underpins human culture. She makes her decision about whether to join with the visitors against the backdrop of mourning the death of her father and contemplating the meaning of love.

This is not your ordinary fantasy. A great beginning to what is apparently a series of adventures for a literate audience. Erotic, smart, and never ordinary.

I highly recommend this book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By freefall on February 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
Prelude to a Change of Mind

r. stikmanz

Prelude is a simple tale fusing fable and physics to a Jungian panorama. Meg Christmas discovers the rubber band theory of reality and gets a zen certificate in great massage. Not the least bit lacking in enthusiasm and acrobatic language, mr. stikmanz presents an absorb able and unique world view. Pull up a piece of Duke Ellington; kick back............

felix random
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steven Beeson on February 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
"Prelude to a Change of Mind" is an interesting introduction to a new paradigm. The reworking of elves, dwarves, and yeti does well to flesh them out in a way which makes them more palatable to those who shun the fantastic. An awesomely handled sci-fi with strong fantasy element this book will be enjoyed by many different types of readers.

I'm assigning it three to four stars because, though the concept is good and the writing is solid there are places where it seems to drag. Not surprising considering the protagonist is bedridden for the majority of the story. Still, it opens doors and paves a way for something more interesting. It does feel kind of as if this should have been published as a prequel to help fans of a story gain an understanding of everything that led up to the story.

Overall, the concept and world are strong. The Story of Meg's recovery is well handled and I found it quite easy to identify with the character drawing me into the book. And, as any good start in a series I am left with far more questions than answer and eagerly await the next to learn what happens next in this world that so well parallels our own.
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